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Justice Prayers - January 24, 2024

He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. - Isaiah 40:11

Canada's population is booming — access to family doctors hasn't kept pace

Canada is going through an unprecedented growth spurt, having added well over a million people last year after a similarly historic intake in 2022. Some economists have argued this record-setting surge could be a boon to an economy heavily dependent on immigration. A recent Desjardins report cautioned the federal government against slamming the door on non-permanent residents like students and temporary workers, who make up most of the recent newcomers. This breakneck pace is bringing with it some major growing pains — particularly in a health-care sector perpetually starved for resources. The country isn't producing nearly enough homegrown primary care doctors to keep up with the country's health needs, said Dr. Kathleen Ross, a B.C. family doctor and president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). "The truth is our health-care system is on its knees. We're not meeting the needs of the population. Our workers are burning out in droves," Ross told CBC News. "There are definitely not enough physicians working and training. We need to train more. We are simply not keeping up with the demand and with the number of people who are retiring." Data from the OurCare initiative suggests the number of Canadians without regular access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner has spiked from 4.5 million in 2019 to an estimated 6.5 million in 2023. That means millions of Canadians don't have face-time with a primary care physician who can help ensure longer life expectancy, prevent hospitalizations and premature deaths, foster better health outcomes and improve quality of life. That lack of access has consequences. 

Lord God, we pray for those who are dealing with the consequences of this shortage: children, family, those who so greatly need to see a healthcare professional. We pray for the education of young professionals to enter into the field of medicine eager to serve their communities, and in the meantime, for solutions to make up the shortage.

Death Rampant in Gaza, along Israeli Border as War Rages On

At least 65 killed in the besieged southern city of Khan Younis by Israel on Monday according to medical sources, as Israeli forces target hospitals, ambulances, and schools where thousands of civilians are sheltering. Clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian fighters have ramped up in the city amid growing fear for Nasser Hospital – Gaza’s largest remaining hospital. As of Monday, Israel said operations in Khan Younis will last several more days. Additionally, the Israeli military suffered its deadliest day of the Gaza ground invasion on Monday, announcing that 24 soldiers had been killed, 21 of them in a single explosion inside the territory near the Israeli border.

For those who have the power to bring peace, we pray they might be braver than ever. For the evildoers among us who seek the elimination of their neighbors, we pray they might be held to account by the just. Those who perpetrate violence will have to answer for their crimes against humanity, we pray, O Lord.

Supreme Court Backs Administration in Dispute With Texas Over Border Barrier

The Supreme Court sided with the Biden administration on Monday, allowing federal officials to cut or remove parts of a concertina-wire barrier along the Mexican border that Texas erected to keep migrants from crossing into the state. The ruling, by a 5-to-4 vote, was a victory for the administration in the increasingly bitter dispute between the White House and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, an outspoken critic of President Biden’s border policy who has shipped busloads of migrants to northern cities. Since 2021, Mr. Abbott has mounted a multibillion-dollar campaign to impose stringent measures at the border to deter migrants. Those include erecting concertina wire along the banks of the Rio Grande, installing a barrier of buoys in the river and enacting a sweeping law that allows state and local law enforcement to arrest migrants crossing from Mexico.

God, we are so sick and tired of the partisan fights over the lives of the poor and vulnerable. Why must we be subjected to the fights of the callous and cruel? Help us find leaders who know better, and will do better.

In GOP Primary, Climate Change Rejected, Ignored, Mocked

In the wake of an Iowa primary election chilled in a record blast of cold weather—which scientists say may, counterintuitively, have been worsened by global heating—Republican presidential candidates are embracing the fossil fuel industry tighter than ever, with little to say about the growing toll the climate crisis is taking upon Americans.  Last year was, globally, the hottest ever recorded, and scientists have warned of mounting calamities as the world barrels through agreed temperature limits. Last year, the US suffered a record number of disasters costing at least $1 billion in damages, with the climate crisis spurring fiercer wildfires, storms and extreme heat.

Lord God, we need truth, transparency, and bravery in the public arena.  Help us to care for the earth you have given to us even when it costs us something.  Give us an imagination for solving collective problems in creative and God honouring ways.  

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Youth Ministry and Mental Health

Post-COVID mental-health challenges have been on the uptick. Is your church a safe space for youth to feel seen and heard? How do you hold space for the reality that youth are dealing with mental-health challenges? Do you have the resources and feel equipped to journey alongside them? Here are some tips to use as you support the youth in your congregation.  Learn More »

Pathway to Easter: A Simple "Lent in a Bag" Activity for Families

The season of Lent starts Feb. 14! Here is a creative way to help families within your church observe Lent. It is highly interactive and helps young children to visualize the journey toward Easter.  Explore »

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