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Justice Prayers - November 1, 2023

"O Great Father of the sky above and the earth below, of the great waters and all that is in them," they prayed.  "Hear our cry!  - Acts 4:24 (FNV) 

Conditions Worsen in Gaza as Israeli Troops Advance

Israeli ground troops and tanks pushed deeper into the Gaza Strip and were edging closer to the territory’s main city, local authorities said on Tuesday, as humanitarian officials warned that two million Palestinian civilians there faced a growing catastrophe. The Gazan Interior Ministry said Israeli forces were in al Karama, a neighborhood north of densely populated Gaza City, and Salah al-Din Street, the strip’s main north-south highway. It added that the forces were trying to reach Al-Rasheed Street, a coastal highway, “as they seek to separate the northern Gaza Strip from its south.” The Israeli military continued to offer few details about its ground invasion, now in its fifth day, saying only that its forces were “conducting fierce battles” against the armed group Hamas inside the strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday categorically dismissed any possibility of a cease-fire, even as United Nations humanitarian officials told the Security Council that an immediate halt to the fighting was vital to save civilian lives.

For this rapidly devolving situation, Lord, we pray in earnest for a just and peaceful resolution that results in no loss of life; when is enough bombing, enough? When will the aggrieved be satisfied - 5,000 civilians dead? 10,000? 20,000? The rinse and repeat cycles of violence in this conflict leave both sides further entrenched in their ways and leave the innocent to suffer. Invoke a violent conviction to stop this madness.

Biden Administration Approves Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Yet, in Virginia

The Interior Department on Tuesday approved a plan to install up to 176 giant wind turbines off the coast of Virginia, clearing the way for what would be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm yet. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, to be built by Dominion Energy, is the fifth commercial-scale offshore wind project approved by the Biden administration. If completed, the 2.6-gigawatt wind farm would produce enough electricity to power more than 900,000 homes, without creating any of the carbon dioxide emissions that are heating the planet. The decision comes at a perilous time for the offshore wind industry. To fight climate change, the Biden administration wants to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power in the United States by 2030. But that plan has run into serious trouble lately, as developers have struggled with soaring coasts, rising interest rates, supply chain delays and bursts of local opposition.

For clean and abundant energy, we pray. For even quicker action to decarbonize our economy, our electrical grid, and our way of life, Lord we pray in earnest that public and private actors might band together for this great task of our time.

Canada clarifies its stance on a ‘humanitarian truce’

On Monday, Canada expressed a desire for a “humanitarian truce” in the Israel-Hamas war three days after it abstained from a U.N. resolution calling for one. The shift is the latest sign of foreign policy incoherence from Canada, which abstained from Friday’s U.N. vote even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had backed the idea of “humanitarian pauses” just days earlier. “Time is running out,” Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Monday during a speech that attempted to define Canadian foreign policy in an era of geopolitical crises. “We need an agreement from all parties to get foreign nationals out, including Canadians. To release all hostages. And to allow food, fuel and water into Gaza,” Joly told a Toronto business audience.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that “the second stage of the war” had started, and violence in Gaza is expected to ratchet up. The United Nations adopted Friday’s resolution calling for the protection of civilians while upholding “legal and humanitarian obligations” during the unfolding crisis. Fourteen countries including Israel and the United States voted against it. Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom abstained while France voted in favor.

We so desperately need moral clarity in these moment, and thus we pray for the international community who are reeling from the violence between Israel and Hamas, and pray with a fever pitch that a concerted effort from a peace-seeking coalition of nations might halt the hands of all those who seek to do violence upon their neighbour.

Thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing Pakistan as deportation deadline looms

Thousands of Afghan refugees and migrants in Pakistan are heading to the border to return home a day before a government-imposed deadline to leave the country expires. Earlier this month, Pakistan’s interim interior minister, Sarfaraz Bugti, issued an October 31 deadline for all “illegal” refugees and migrants to leave, citing security concerns. The government says more than four million foreigners live in Pakistan, a vast majority of them Afghan nationals who sought refuge over the last four decades after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. More recently, after the Taliban regained power in 2021, Pakistani officials say between 600,000 to 800,000 Afghans migrated to Pakistan. The Pakistani government claims nearly 1.7 million of those Afghans are undocumented. 

God of grace and safe passage, you know what it feels like to be forced across borders in search of safety. You are the God of the stranger, the weary traveler, the forgotten longing for sanctuary. For those thousands now forced to flee Pakistan, to return home to a country in turmoil, we pray you might be the hand of comfort that guides them back safely, and instills in them a glimmer of hope for what the future holds.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Hispanic Heritage Day Video

In honor of the CRCNA's Hispanic members and churches, a short, fun video explores the Spanish language for Hispanic Heritage Day.

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

This year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, marked by churches on November 5, 2023 will focus on the persecution  of the church in Afghanistan.

This year, we are praying for the Afghan church using various phrases from our confessions. 

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