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Justice Prayers - August 28th

Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. - Psalm 54:2

Amazon fires

Thousands of fires are burning in Brazil, many of them in the world’s biggest rainforest, which is sending clouds of smoke across the region and pumping alarming quantities of carbon into the world’s atmosphere. Brazil has had more than 72,000 fire outbreaks so far this year, an 84% increase on the same period in 2018. The fires are mostly illegal and they are degrading the world’s biggest carbon sink (which sucks up and stores carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) and most important home for biodiversity. In a time of alarming rises in deforestation, scientists say the Amazon is approaching a tipping point, after which it will irreversibly degrade into a dry savannah. This potential loss of the planet's biggest rainforest comes at a time when the world needs billions more trees to absorb carbon and stabilize the climate.

God, we pray for an end to these fires. We lament that they are made by humans — prompted by the forces of money and power — and all humans will be impacted. We pray that, as we work to change our own habits to reflect the ways that Scripture asks us to care for the earth, you will move in the hearts of those in power so that leaders will work together to address this global crisis.

Anti-immigrant Billboards 

Anti-immigrant ads on billboards across Canada are being taken down after a public outcry and multiple petitions against them, the company that owns the billboards said. Canada will have a federal election on Oct. 21 and immigration has broad support, some polls show. A Pew Research Center report published Aug. 9 found that Canadians have among the highest support in the world for immigration.

God, we lift in prayer the many immigrants who call Canada home. We pray for those who wish to find refuge in a safe country. We pray for the many Christians who can extend welcome to those who are in need of safety, hospitality, and hope. May your church be people who are known for treating people with dignity, for opening their doors, and for seeing the blessing of the stranger.

Race in North Carolina Death Penalty

In North Carolina, the state's Supreme Court is hearing arguments about racial bias in death penalty cases — including four men whose death penalty sentences were reduced to life sentences under a 2009 law, and then they were put back on death row when the law was reversed. That law, called the Racial Justice Act, allowed death row inmates to challenge their punishment if they could show that race was a "significant factor" in being sentenced to death. The supreme court’s decision could affect nearly 150 other prisoners who petitioned under the Racial Justice Act but were never given their day in court. 

God, we pray for all these people who are awaiting the decision that could impact their life or their death. We pray for changes to all the systems that are shaped by racial bias — from policing to jury selection to the laws that shape the criminal justice system. We pray for justice, Lord, for all people — but particularly for those whose flourishing is prevented because of racism.

U.S. Changes Rules for Kids in Detention

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it will publish a final rule that would allow the termination of important protections in the Flores Settlement Agreement, a legal settlement that governs the conditions of children held in immigration detention. The government wants to allow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold families with children in its own facilities — with limited oversight and potentially lower standards of care. The proposal also allows for the indefinite detention of children with their families while they await immigration court proceedings. The average wait time for an immigration case to be heard is about two years, and wait times in some jurisdictions averaged nearly three years as of June 2019.

God, we pray for children and families who are incarcerated because they crossed a border. Give them hope, Lord, based on the real possibility that they will be released, that they will be able to find freedom and flourishing in a safe place. We pray for those in power to treat immigrants with dignity, and to see the inherent value that each person brings. We pray for safety and protection for children, and for the trauma that incarceration subjects them to. God, bring change to the hearts of those shaping immigration policy in the U.S. today.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Blessing Not Burden Blend 

You can now support the Office of Social Justice by drinking coffee!  Read more and buy the coffee on this Do Justice post.  

The Intersectionality of Climate Change: What I Witnessed on the Front Line of Climate Collapse

This year, the seasonal rains in Kenya came two months late. “Even the weatherman can’t forecast the weather,” Stephen Katama, a local shopkeeper in Nairobi, told me when I traveled to East Africa in June...  Read the full article at this link.  



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