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Justice Prayers - February 20

We bring our prayers to Creator God, who both "takes up our pain and bears our suffering" and will "let justice roll down like a river."


If you haven't followed OSJ Prayers in the past, welcome! Justice Prayers (formerly OSJ Prayers) is a weekly post with 3-5 prayers addressing justice issues from around the world, sent straight to Do Justice subscribers' inboxes every Wednesday. (Find past issues of Prayers here, or access them from our Do Justice homepage.)

Forward them to your pastor for Sunday's congregational prayer, add them to your church bulletin, print them for use in small groups, or supplement your personal devotions.

If you haven't followed Do Justice before, welcome! A number of you are new here, so let's take a minute to get to know each other. Do Justice is a blog run by the CRC Office of Social Justice and the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue. The blog is shaped by a variety of voices examining and reflecting on justice issues with a Reformed accent. Check out our About page to learn more about Do Justice

Newsletter subscribers will receive Do Justice emails three times a week: on Mondays and Fridays you'll receive a blog post fresh off the press, and on Wednesdays you'll receive Justice Prayers.

Nigerian Priest Murdered; Family Held for Ransom

Christians experiencing persecution in Nigeria are alarmed about reports of an Anglican priest who was murdered by kidnappers and whose family (his wife, three children, and two sisters-in-law) is being held captive. Rev. Anthony Idris Jata’u’s church members are working hard to raise money to pay for their release -- while also living in fear. In addition, over the weekend, election unrest turned increasingly violent in northeastern Nigeria, and an attack in the north killed 66 people, including 22 children. Nigeria ranks high on Open Doors’ “World Watch List” for the persecution that both Christians and Muslims experience there.

Lord, for those who live in fear -- including these desperate women and children being held for ransom -- we offer our prayers. May the peace of Christ be made tangible in Nigeria; we pray that all people there may have access to the land, resources, power, and dignity that they need in order to live lives marked by justice and flourishing.

Man Deported to Netherlands May Return to Canada

A Canadian federal court has granted Len Van Heest, who was deported to the Netherlands in 2017, a judicial review of his permanent and temporary residency applications. In the Netherlands he has been living in a shelter where he can’t communicate with anyone because he doesn’t speak the local language. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 16, Van Heest committed dozens of crimes in Canada and made several legal attempts to remain in the country before he was deported.

God, we pray for all people who, like Mr. Van Heest, live with mental illness that makes them vulnerable. We pray for those who have suffered because of the crimes he has committed, and we ask for ways in which Canada and the United States might be able to support vulnerable people so that they are not at-risk for committing criminal acts. We pray for immigrants who are deported because of crimes -- especially those who have an untreated mental illness that is a root cause of such incidents.

Third Border Patrol Death in U.S.

A 45-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico died in Border Patrol custody Monday after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas, marking the third person to die in the agency's custody since December. The immigrant illegally crossed the border, was arrested by the Roma (Tex.) Police Department on Feb. 2, requested medical attention, and was taken to a local hospital. The immigrant was “cleared" by officials at the Mission Regional Medical Center and was handed over to Border Patrol officials. The following day, he requested medical attention and was taken to the McAllen Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with cirrhosis and congestive heart failure. He died in the hospital.

God, we thank you for the people who helped this man during his suffering. We pray for his family -- wherever they are -- that they might be able to grieve this loss. We pray for all who are migrating and unable to care for their physical needs to eat, to sleep, to dress wounds, to access medicine, and more. We pray, God, for safety and hospitality -- for Good Samaritans -- whether through governments, churches, or individuals who honor dignity in others.

Unrest in Haiti

Shortages of food, water, and fuel, prompting violent demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of protesters, have been occurring for weeks in Haiti. Enraged by skyrocketing prices that have more than doubled for basic goods, amid allegations of government corruption, protesters are demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise. Resonate missionary families in Haiti have temporarily left the country.

God, we lift in prayer the people who are vulnerable in Haiti -- a land where half the population is undernourished. We pray for transparent, effective, and compassionate leaders and for the possibility that policies may be enacted to address the rising costs of everyday necessities. We pray for service and safety workers who are on the ground to help during this emergency, and we ask for safe passage for people who have been forced to flee. Bring peace that comes with justice to Haiti, Lord.


Other recommended resources: 


The OSJ is Hiring! Apply for the Mobilizing and Advocacy Fellowship

We’re looking for our next Mobilizing and Advocacy Fellow. If you are interested in faith-focused policy development and social justice, apply for our fellowship. The deadline to apply is March 22. Apply here!

The fellowship is a one-year full-time paid position offered to recent college or university graduates. The fellow helps our office develop and assist in timely and effective advocacy and mobilizing strategies relating to selected issues of U.S. and Canadian policies, especially those that benefit the poor and oppressed. She or he will gain invaluable hands-on experience in real world advocacy and faith-based mobilizing.

Lent Advocacy Challenge 

We have hope because we are not saving the world, Christ is. So we work and pray and advocate, entrusting our faithful mustard seeds of love for neighbours to a faithful God. 

Would you like to choose advocacy as a spiritual discipline this Lenten season? The Centre for Public Dialogue has put together a Lent Advocacy Challenge, a guide to help you move deeper into advocacy and respectful dialogue around one issue of injustice that affects marginalized people. See last year's Lent Advocacy Challenge here and watch for an updated guide next week!


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