Category: Prayers for Peace (P4P)

Violence and chaos in the Middle East have left many around the world hopeless and feeling helpless. As followers of Jesus, we refuse to be sidetracked by the temptation to despair.

Prayers for Peace (P4P) provides a way for Christians of diverse political and theological backgrounds to stand up for peace and unite in supplication to God with a special focus on prayers for the Holy Land. Prayers for Peace provides Jesus’ followers with the common language of prayer around which to mobilize their energy and passion for the land that gave birth to our faith. To combat the prevailing images of discord, Prayers for Peace will highlightpeace-building organizations that we may pray for them as they live out the reconciliation offered in the Prophets and Jesus’ message of peace.

Prayers for Peace is thankful for the partnership of our board member organization Evangelicals for Social Action in writing and sharing these prayers.


Jesus was no stranger to death and sorrow.

This is the fourth in a week long series.

 

by Elli Atchison

Jesus lost loved ones during His time on earth.  He knows that the death of someone we love creates a hole in the heart that is hard to fill.  

It is assumed Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, passed away before His ministry began. As a young man, Jesus would have grieved the death of His earthly father. He would have had to walk through that grief with His mother Mary and his siblings. Jesus’ own cousin, John the Baptist, was unjustly imprisoned and brutally murdered by Herod Antipas. Jesus, himself being fully human, sought solitude and prayer to deal with the pain of this tragic loss. (Matt 14:10,13) He also loved a dear friend named Lazarus who became sick and died. Jesus was so deeply moved by the pain of Lazarus’ sisters and He wept openly with them. (John 11: 33,35) 

How would Jesus comfort an Israeli man who lost his wife to a violent stabbing by an angry Palestinian? Surely this husband would be justified in his feelings of bitter hate and a longing for revenge. (Exodus 21:24) Left alone to raise their children would be a constant reminder of their family’s tragic loss. The course of their lives would be forever changed.   Read more

Jesus was no stranger to a life of poverty.

This is part three of a week long series.

by Elli Atchison​

He was born in a cave to poor parents in the shepherding community of Bethlehem. As an infant, His family fled to Egypt as refugees, trying to escape a genocide of the maniacal ruler King Herod. Throughout His adult ministry He had no home of His own. In a conversation with a would be follower, Jesus made His humble lifestyle clear: ​“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” ( Matt. 8:20) ​All His life, Jesus was truly reliant upon God to provide.

So, what would Jesus say to a woman living in Gaza today?​ As He walked through the streets, He would easily see that the city still lies in rubble since the war two years ago. Controlled borders limit access to the supplies desperately needed to rebuild. Many families are still displaced and living in crowded shelters, like refugees in their own city. Simple necessities like electricity, and water are limited and rationed. But, the feelings of sadness and despair are abundant in the hearts of these suffering people. Read more

Jesus was no stranger to obedience and humble service.

This is part two of a week long series.

by Elli Atchison

Jesus was no stranger to obedience and humble service.  The King of Kings came quietly at his Father’s request.  He lived among His broken and desperate people.  He loved them and served them, literally to His death… upon on a Roman cross. But through His resurrection, He left us with hope and faith to carry on, in this troubled world. Believers know that evil will never have the final say. Ultimately His goodness will conquer all.  

Jesus desires obedience in the lives of His people. “If you love me you will obey my commands.” (John:14:15). And His commands can be summed up in two straightforward steps:  “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And then, love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark:12:29)

In Jesus’ day the Roman soldiers were everywhere in the land as He traveled. Their presence was meant to intimidate as much as it was to keep order among the people. These armed soldiers had the authority to carry out their tasks with as much force as the situation required, or their hearts’ desired. Similarly today, as one travels on the borders of the green line and throughout the West Bank, it is difficult to ignore the significant power and presence of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Read more

Jesus Was No Stranger . . .

by Elli Atchison

During Lent and Holy Week, it is appropriate for us to reflect on places in today’s time where there is loss, poverty, and pain. Throughout His life, Jesus was closest to people who had succumb to illnesses, were ignored by society, and who were experiencing rejection and suffering. This series Jesus Was No Stranger seeks to look at some of those places in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. How would Jesus respond to some of the experiences of both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians today?

Over the next week we’ll offer prayers on the themes of:

Jesus was no stranger to . . .

. . . .life under occupation

. . . .obedience and humble service

. . . . a life of poverty

. . . . death and sorrow

. . . . persecution and pain

. . . . the cry for justice

.

Then we will wrap up the series with “Thy Kingdom Come” after Easter. Read more

And a Child Shall Lead Them

What if Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas and Barrack Obama had the opportunity to meet in their youth?

What if over the course of their adolescent years these world leaders got to know each other on a personal level?

What if  they spent significant amounts of time together playing games, sharing conversations over meals, and learning about each others’ perspectives on family, faith and the problems in the world?

Would there be peace in the Holy Land today if these influential men were given the chance to be friends when they were young?

There is an amazing organization that is giving these opportunities to the leaders of tomorrow.   Kids4Peace is an empowering youth movement that seeks to create change.   Since 2002, the organization has been providing opportunities for Israeli, Palestinian, and North American kids to connect in deep and meaningful ways.   The purpose of this interfaith organization is to “end conflict and inspire hope in Jerusalem and other divided cities around the world.” Read more

Finding Jesus in the Midst of Conflict  

by Elli Atchison, World Vision

Two weeks ago I was privileged to be part of a World Vision delegation in the Holy Land. Twenty women gathered from all corners of the United States to visit people living and working in Israel and the West Bank. Most of the ladies had never been to the region before. Those of us who were returning yearned to understand the issues better.

Together we journeyed throughout the land, seeking perspectives from Israelis and Palestinians. We were also seeking spiritual insights and the wisdom of Jesus that could help us make sense of this tragic conflict.

We met so many amazing people who told the stories of their very different lives. Our days were full of listening, learning, and asking questions. And continually I challenged my companions and myself: ”You hear stories of pain on both sides of this conflict. You see the hardships of life under occupation. But, where do you see Jesus?” Read more

Live Like You Love Jesus

by Elli Atchison, World Vision

Mary Magdalene has always been one of my Bible heroes. I can relate to her. Meeting Jesus changed her life. The Gospel of Luke tells us that she had demons in her past. But Jesus set her free, and she loved Him deeply for it.

Though she is not officially named as one of the twelve disciples, it is believed that she was one of His companions. She traveled with Him and listened to His teachings (Luke 8:2-3). She probably witnessed many of His miracles. She was one of the few friends who stood at the foot of the cross and watched her beloved Savior suffer and die (John 19:25).  And before sunrise, three days later, it was Mary who was the first to return to the tomb alone (John 20:1).

It is obvious that Mary loved Jesus so much that she just wanted to be close to Him, even after His death. When she discovered His body was missing from the tomb she stooped down at the entrance and wept. (John 20:1-11).  Blinded by grief, she did not even recognize the Beloved when He greeted her. But, as you can imagine, when Mary finally realized that Jesus was alive, her joy was too much to contain. I imagine she just wanted to rush into His arms and never let go! Read more

An Elephant Called Peace

by Elli Atchison, World Vision

Happy New Year!  I love the fresh start of a new calendar.  It holds 365 opportunities to pursue self-improvement and life’s ambitions.  There are many things I want to accomplish in 2015. Like many of you, my resolutions include goals for organization and a healthier lifestyle. I want to travel to new places and make some amazing memories with my family. However, my list has one item that might not be on yours. I plan to eat an elephant called peace.

Before you get the wrong idea, please give me the chance to explain. I happen to adore elephants. I have observed them on safari Zimbabwe, and marveled at the truly amazing creation of God that they are. I am not promoting poaching them in the wild.  I am speaking of the old adage “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”  Of course this wisdom is not in the Bible and did not come from Solomon or Jesus.  But, I think we can still apply it to the Holy Land in 2015. Read more

The Perfect Gift

by Elli Atchison, World Vision

There are so many wonderful things about Christmas. My favorite parts are the beautiful decorations, holiday music, and sharing good cheer with family and friends. However, shopping is the part of Christmas I honestly do not enjoy. Finding the perfect gift is an almost impossible quest that I often dread. It is during these stressful moments that I try to reflect on some of the people who were on God’s list that first Christmas. What were the perfect presents He chose for each of them?

The first person on God’s list was Mary. She was a young girl from a humble family, living in the small town of Nazareth. Mary was, of course, engaged to be married to Joseph and probably dreaming about what life would be like after she became his wife.  So, when a messenger came to Mary unexpectedly and revealed that God wanted to change her plans, I am sure she was frightened and confused. This stranger calmed her fears, and Mary said “Yes” to God’s call. Read more

A Hope that Builds Bridges

by Elli Atchison, World Vision

While the Holy Land was again experiencing acts of violence and terror, a varied group of people gathered in a church in Orlando, Florida.

There were:

  • men and women,
  • people of color and whites,
  • Christians, Muslims, and Jews,
  • Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians,
  • Pastors and an Imam,
  • a CEO and unemployed,
  • children and elderly,
  • people from all walks of life,
  • most of them strangers with only one thing in common

They were all seeking a word of HOPE for a land that is often characterized as hopeless.

This gathering was one of the final stops on a two-week “Hope for the Holy Land” tour that traveled across the United States, discussing what it means to be Pro-Israeli, Pro-Palestinian, Pro-Peace, Pro-Justice, and Pro-Jesus. The diverse group in Orlando all joined together in prayer before listening to the perspectives shared by the three keynote speakers. Read more

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