Category: Prayers for Peace

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.


Maundy Thursday: Jesus Was No Stranger to Humble Service

Jesus Was No Stranger to Humble Service

Written by Molly Lorden

“Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”
John 13:1-5

Jesus was no stranger to humble service. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus continually putting aside his privilege to care for others out of humility. When tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he put aside his ability to be rescued by angels, and to turn rocks into food (Luke 4:1-13). Immediately after this, he returned to Galilee to begin his earthly ministry, proclaiming the good news to the least of these, and healing the sick. Once again, he shows us what it means to humbly serve. Knowing who he is, and what was to happen, his response was to serve his disciples, even the one who would deny him only hours later. He humbled himself to the status of the lowest servant in the house, washing the grime and muck from a day of walking off of the disciples’ feet. Read more

Sixth Sunday of Lent: Jesus Was No Stranger to Being Misunderstood

Jesus Was No Stranger to Being Misunderstood

Written by Molly Lorden

“The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’”
Matthew 21: 6-11

Christian pilgrims carry palm branches during the traditional Palm Sunday procession on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. PHOTO: CNS/Debbie Hill

Today, Christians all over the world celebrate Palm Sunday. One week before Easter, we mark the day of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He entered the city riding on a donkey, as the crowds laid palm branches and cloaks on the road before him and shouted praises. Amidst the commotion, people wondered who he was. Some responded that he was a prophet. Traditionally, Jesus is known as the great prophet, priest and king. While Jesus was a prophet, this is certainly not an all-encompassing understanding of his identity. In this same scene in the gospel of Luke, Jesus is proclaimed as king. Yet, even this is not an adequate depiction. He is so much more. Read more

Fifth Sunday of Lent: Jesus Was No Stranger to the Least of These

Jesus Was No Stranger to the Least of These

Written by Molly Lorden

“People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)

We are now in the fifth week of the Lenten season, one week before Palm Sunday. Many of you have given up something: maybe chocolate, Facebook, or meat. The spiritual practice of fasting creates space in our lives to intentionally focus on God, to repent, and to pray. Some of you have taken on something, rather than fasting, during this season. Maybe you are volunteering, or doing acts of charity. Regardless of how you are observing Lent, you may be longing for its end — waiting for the joy that comes with Easter Sunday.  In these seasons of waiting and anticipation, it is important to consider where our priorities lie. Read more

Fourth Sunday of Lent: Jesus Was No Stranger to the Cry for Justice

Jesus Was No Stranger to the Cry for Justice

Written by Elli Atchison and Molly Lorden

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

(Micah 6:8)

Jesus was no stranger to the cry for justice. Through the Gospels, we see Jesus engaging with people in a calm and gentle manner. However, injustice against the vulnerable made him very angry. He acted upon this concern for the oppressed by taking a public stand and protesting in Jerusalem: “Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and benches of those selling doves and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts” (Mark 11:15-16).  Jesus’ concern was not just because the house of God had been turned into a place of business. He was also protesting the exorbitant fees people were being charged for required sacrifices—fees that would have likely been burdensome to both the local poor and the people who had traveled a long way to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. This corruption of the sacrificial system prioritized money over the ability of people to worship.

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.
Photo: Kyle Anderson Photography

Often, Western Christians do not realize that Christians have been living in the Holy Land since the time of Jesus. Many of these faithful followers can trace their family histories all the way back to the birth of Christian community after Pentecost. But, for Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank, the daily pressures and hardships of living under military occupation for almost 50 years have contributed to a great migration of the native Christians from the land. In addition to the occupation, lower birthrates for Palestinian Christians than their Muslim counterparts, and the lack of economic opportunity within Palestinian society also contribute to the decreasing Christian population. It is estimated today less than 2% of all Palestinians living in the occupied territories self-identify as Christians. Today, these Christians are called the “living stones.” Read more

Third Sunday of Lent: Jesus Was No Stranger to Death and Sorrow

Jesus Was No Stranger to Death and Sorrow

Written by Elli Atchison and Molly Lorden

“When the righteous cry out the Lord hears them and delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

(Psalm 34:17-18)

Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum.    Photo: Kyle Anderson Photography

Jesus was no stranger to death and sorrow. Jesus lost loved ones during his time on earth.  He knows that the death of someone we love creates a hole in the heart, which is seemingly impossible to fill.  Pain and suffering are evident in our day-to-day lives, and in our world. Many Israelis and Palestinians have lost loved ones due to the conflict. There is great trauma and grief experienced on all sides, in deep and diverse ways. Many Israelis carry the trauma and history of Holocaust in their collective memory. They fear growing global anti-Semitism, as well as acts of violence and terror in more recent years. Many Palestinians have experienced the loss of family homes and land, and are continually struggling for self-determination. They fear the violence of a militarized society and the realities of  living under occupation. All of the communities in the region have experienced loss, pain, and suffering. Read more

Second Sunday of Lent: Jesus Was No Stranger to a Life of Poverty

Jesus Was No Stranger to a Life of Poverty

Written by Elli Atchison and Molly Lorden
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Luke 6:20-21

Born in a cave to poor parents in the shepherding community of Bethlehem, Jesus was no stranger to a life of poverty. 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 reliant upon God to provide.

With Jesus’ background, how would he encounter people living in Gaza today?​ If Jesus walked through the streets, it would be apparent much of the territory still lies in rubble from the 2014 war. Controlled borders limit access to supplies desperately needed to rebuild. Many families are still displaced, living in crowded shelters like refugees in their own cities. Simple necessities like electricity and water are limited and largely unavailable. Feelings of isolation, sadness, and abandonment are abundant in the hearts of these impoverished people.

Little girl in Gaza

Children have few safe places to go and end up playing in the streets. I imagine Jesus pausing in his walk, sitting down in the dirt, and playing a game with these kids (Matt. 19:14). Perhaps the family of one of the children would invite him into their home for tea, as an expression of hospitality deeply rooted in their culture. As Jesus enters their humble home, he might see the extended family who lives there. He might sit next to a young, widowed mother, who has had to move in with her brother and his family. Read more

First Sunday of Lent: Jesus Was No Stranger To Obedience

Jesus Was No Stranger To Obedience


Written by Elli Atchison and Molly Lorden

“Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And then, love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark:12:29

Jesus was no stranger to obedience. 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. We know that evil will never have the final say. Ultimately, God’s 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)

Though Jesus lived his life under occupation, he sought not to reclaim the promised land from the Romans, but to forgive and bring forth the Kingdom of God. He did this in humble obedience- an obedience which yields compassion, forgiveness and humility.

IDF Ceremony in front of the Western Wall. Photo: Kyle Anderson Photography

Today, I’d like to imagine what Jesus would say to a young, conscripted IDF soldier working at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem?  Maybe she just turned 18 and would rather be in college with her friends. But, she knows that this is part of the service required of her by law. She wants to serve her country, but may feel conflicted about the role the army plays in oppressing the Palestinian people. To refuse might bring public embarrassment to her family, time in jail for herself, and a future of restricted employment opportunities as an ongoing punishment for refusing to obey. She feels stuck between a rock and a hard place. Read more

Ash Wednesday: Jesus Was No Stranger To Life Under Occupation

Jesus Was No Stranger

Photo: Kyle Anderson Photography

The season of Lent is a time for solemn reflection, prayer, and repentance, leading up to Holy Week, when Jesus returned to Jerusalem, was crucified, buried and resurrected. During this season, 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 succumbed to illnesses, were marginalized by society, and who were experiencing rejection and suffering. Throughout this Lenten season, we will be reprising our series, “Jesus Was No Stranger,” which seeks to look at some of those places in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. We will ask ourselves, “How would Jesus respond to some of the experiences of both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians today?”

Over the coming weeks we will offer reflections and prayers on the themes of:

Jesus was no stranger to . . .

. . . . life under occupation
. . . . obedience
. . . . a life of poverty
. . . . death and sorrow
. . . . the cry for justice
. . . . waiting
. . . . being misunderstood
. . . . humble service
. . . . persecution and pain
. . . . persistent hope

We will wrap up the series with “Thy Kingdom Come” on Pentecost Sunday. Read more

Loving The Other

By Molly Lorden

“Hatred stirs up strife,
 but love covers all offenses.”
 Proverbs 10:12

January 20, 2017 was an immense day of change for our country. For me, it carried additional significance, as it was also the day I returned from my first trip to the Holy Land. While experiencing the change of administration in our country, I am also processing a trip that changed my life. As I traveled in the land that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim holy, I had incredible opportunities. I visited various holy sites and learned more about the complexities of the conflict. My fellow seminarians and I also met with NGO’s and leaders committed to seeking peace. Read more

Just Vision: Films to Help Us See

What happens when local role models lead unarmed movements and demonstrate to the world what is possible when grassroots  leaders choose to act? This is the story that Just Vision seeks to share with audiences across the globe.

Through award-winning films, digital media, and public education campaigns, the team at Just Vision – led by internationally recognized filmmakers Julia Bacha and Suhad Babaa – brings attention to the under-documented stories of Israeli and Palestinian unarmed activists who are inspiring their communities to work together to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity, and equality for all.

Over the last decade Just Vision has built a powerful platform and reached hundreds of thousands of people with their message. Their 5 films challenge the way many perceive protests and activism in the Holy Land, from the story of the unarmed movement in the village of Budrus to the Israeli and Palestinian activists in My Neighborhood and the nonviolent resistance during the First Intifada (The Wanted 18). The Boston Globe said of Budrus, “[This film] will single-handedly change how many people view the conflict.” Read more

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