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Justice Prayers - August 23, 2023

“You never so touch the ocean of God’s love as when you forgive and love your enemies.” Corrie ten Boom

Hilary drenches Southern California with record-breaking rainfall as storm wreaks havoc

The remnants of Tropical Storm Hilary, a Category 4 hurricane when it was churning in the Pacific before crashing ashore in Mexico, brought record-breaking rainfall to Southern California, flooding roads and causing mudslides and rock slides as it barreled north.

While Hilary was expected to dissipate Monday, forecasters warned rainfall from the storm could cause "life-threatening" flooding across the southwestern U.S. People as far north as Idaho were warned the storm could cause flooding in their areas. "We are not out of the woods yet," Brian Ferguson, deputy director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, told CBS News on Monday. "The back end of this storm is still impacting us. We could still see mudslides today as that ground gets saturated." No fatalities from Hilary were reported in the state, said Ferguson, who described the damage to residences and critical infrastructure as "very minimal."

As Hilary was raking across Southern California on Sunday, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Ojai, northwest of Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake didn't cause any significant injuries or damage, Ferguson said.

We give thanks, Lord, that thus far, it appears as though the loss of life and damage to critical infrastructure has been minimal. We pray that the waters recede quickly and that the recovery process be swift, robust, and generous.

850 people still missing from Hawaii fires as Bidens travel to Maui

A total of 850 people are still missing from the devastating wildfires earlier this month, the Maui county mayor announced late on Sunday. Mayor Richard Bissen said in an update on Facebook that 114 people have been confirmed dead and 27 of them have been identified, with 11 families notified. The 850 names of missing people came from the FBI, which combined lists from different agencies, he said, adding that 1,285 people originally reported as missing have been located safe. The release of new death toll figures come as Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, are traveling to Maui on Monday to comfort survivors of the wildfires that ripped through the western part of the Hawaiian island. The Bidens are taking a detour from their weeklong vacation in the Lake Tahoe area for the day trip to Lahaina, a historic town of 13,000 people that was virtually destroyed by the flames. While there, the first couple will meet with first responders and be briefed by state and local officials about the response.

God almighty, we pray for the first responders tasked with the recovery that awaits the island. For those who lost loved ones, we pray fervently for comfort. For those who have a loved one missing, we pray that they’ll experience deep comfort amidst their heartache and longing. 

‘Historic’: Ecuador voters reject oil drilling in Amazon protected area

Voters in Ecuador have passed a referendum to prohibit oil drilling in a protected area of the Amazon rainforest, a move hailed as “historic” by environmental activists.

With nearly all the votes counted on Monday, almost 60 percent supported the ban on oil development in Yasuni National Park, often described as one of the world’s greatest havens of biodiversity. The referendum was part of a snap general election on Sunday that included votes for the presidency and National Assembly. “Today we made history,” Yasunidos, an environmental group that backed the referendum, said in a social media post. It applauded the vote as a “historic victory for Ecuador and for the planet”. The Yasuni National Park — home to hundreds of species of birds, amphibians and reptiles — was designated by the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, as a biosphere reserve in 1989. The park is also the home of several Indigenous communities, some of whom live in self-isolation. The area also holds some of Ecuador’s largest deposits of oil, fuelling pressure to drill in the area.

We praise the Ecuadorian people who voted to ban oil development in Yasuni - it is a great joy and delight to see one of our world’s great bastion’s of biodiversity protected. We pray that the creatures and plants - big and small - might live long lives, reproduce, and continue to thrive in the place they call home.

Out-of-control wildfires in Canada force all 20,000 residents of Yellowknife to flee

Some 20,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories, and the surrounding areas as the Behchoko/Yellowknife wildfire burns out of control less than 10 miles outside the city. More than 230 active fires are threatening other cities and towns in the region. The order to evacuate was issued by the minister of municipal and community affairs on Wednesday, forcing Yellowknife and Ingraham Trail residents to flee their homes and businesses by car and plane. Residents of the First Nations communities of N'Dilo and Dettah were also ordered to evacuate. Authorities told residents they have until noon on Friday to evacuate, and that without rain, the inferno could reach the area by the weekend.

God, we pray for safe passage for those fleeing Yellowknife from the fires that continue to rage. For beds to sleep in, places to call home, even temporarily, and for the protection of their communities while they’re away, we ask with gracious and humble hearts. Bring protection and healing to our dear friends.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers


Nine ministries are joining to equip and encourage our congregations more than ever before. Our new name is Thrive.  In coming together, we hope to provide churches with one-stop access to support resources that are fully integrated, and responsive to the changing needs of local congregations. To learn more, see this news story.

Join The Welcome Corps

Welcome Corps is a Public-Private Sponsorship Program that allows individuals and groups to sponsor and resettle refugees-without the support or financial assistance of Resettlement Agencies. With refugee resettlement numbers down after years of cuts to the resettlement budget, Welcome Corps is an opportunity to offer a pathway to safety to more refugees and live out our biblical call to welcome the stranger as found in Matthew 25.

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