Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

17th October 2019

Seventy-one Palestinian civilians, including 28 children, were injured due to Israeli soldiers’ excessive use of force against peaceful protestors at the 78th Great March of Return, on Friday, 11 October 2019. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) fieldworkers documented 33 injuries with live-bullet wounds; 3 civilians, including 2 children, with critical wounds; and others with wounds in the upper body due to direct targeting with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.

  • Lord, we come before you ready to lay our anxieties and fears at your feet and ask that you would guard our hearts with your peace which surpasses all understanding. We pray for the peaceful protestors in Gaza and that others would be led to express their grievances using non-violent means. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

This week’s Kumi Now initiative looks at the work of Zaytoun (Arabic for Olives) and the support this non-profit organisation gives to Palestinian farmers to market their olive oil internationally. Since 2004, Zaytoun has worked with Canaan Fair Trade in Palestine to pioneer the world’s first Fairtrade certified olive oil. They also run a project to distribute and plant olive saplings to farmers who have had their trees uprooted or damaged by Israeli settlers.

  • Lord, we give thanks for your steadfast love and we remember the words of the psalmist who pictured himself as ‘a green olive tree in the house of God’ (Ps 52:8). Thank you, Lord, for the work of Zaytoun and for the support they give Palestinian farmers as they struggle to cultivate their olive groves in the shadow of the occupation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

In the last week of September, Radi Attiani, a Palestinian farmer in the northern West Bank town of Yasuf, reported that the crop of olives had been stolen from 42 of the trees on his land, just before the annual harvest. He suspected the settlers who live adjacent to his land as they had chopped down 52 of his family’s trees two months previously.

  • Lord, we pray that the illegal Israeli settlers would stop uprooting and damaging the crops of the Palestinian farmers. Lord, you command us not to steal or covet the property of others. We pray for protection and support for the farmers, particularly at this time of the olive harvest. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

The presence of some of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East is under threat from relentless persecution. In Palestine some Christians are worn down by the occupation and many move abroad. Palestinian Christians make up 1-2.5% of the population in the West Bank and less than 1% in Gaza (2015 figures). In May 2019, the Archbishop of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan spoke in the UK about the vanishing Christian community in Iraq. The numbers of Christians in Iraq have diminished from 1.5 million in 2003, to just 250,000 today.

  • Lord Jesus, we cry to you as we hear of the weakening of the Christian community in the Middle East after so many years of persecution. Lord, even in your birthplace the number of local worshippers declines. We pray that you will strengthen and encourage all those who seek to remain in the Middle East to continue to witness and to minister to others. Lord, in your name…hear our prayers.

Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria on Wednesday, the 9th of October, has caused hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. Plans to resettle several million Syrian Arab refugees along the area currently under Kurdish control will destabilise the area and is in breach of international law.

  • Lord, you watch over the sojourner, you uphold the widow and the fatherless and these are the very people who suffer most when war strikes. We pray for the young, the elderly and the infirm as they flee from their homes just as the winter months approach. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

On Thursday, the 10th of October, a protest convoy of hundreds of cars from the Arab Israeli community converged on Jerusalem. Drivers from the North and the South of Israel had come to protest the lack of response from the government and the police to growing violence in the Arab Israeli community. Joint List leaders formed from an alliance of Arab parties met with Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, and Israeli police chiefs to discuss initiatives to deal with the rising levels of violence and gun crime.

  • Lord, Lord we pray that the Israeli government would seek to care for all the people living in Palestine/ Israel and not just focus on services and care for the Jewish community, while turning a blind eye to the needs of others. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

10th October 2019

‘Ala’a Hamdan (28), from the Beit Hanoun area of Gaza, was killed, and 65 others injured, including 25 children, a woman and a paramedic, as a result of Israeli attacks against peaceful protestors at the 77th Great March of Return, this Friday, 04 October 2019.

  • Lord, we pray for the family of ‘Ala’a as they mourn their loss and for all those injured as a result of Israeli fire on mainly peaceful protestors. We continue to pray for all the people of Gaza, living under blockade and repeated military bombardment, adding fear to the misery of poverty and want. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week, the Kumi Now initiative looks at the work of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, (PCHR). This non-governmental organisation was set up in Gaza by a group of Palestinian lawyers and activists in 1995, in response to the rise in human rights’ abuses under the Israeli military occupation. They work to protect human rights and to promote the rule of law in line with international standards. In recent years they have been working to obtain travel permits for thousands of patients who are unable to receive urgent medical treatment in Gaza due to the Israeli siege.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for the work of the PCHR as they devote their energy to helping those in need in their land. We pray that the Israeli authorities would lift the twelve-year siege of Gaza, which is causing untold suffering and despair. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Samer Arbeed was rushed to hospital in a critical condition on the night of Saturday, 28th of September after undergoing interrogation and torture by Israel’s Shin Bet Security Service. He was being held under suspicion of masterminding an attack which claimed the life of an Israeli teenage girl, Rina Shnerb, in August. His lawyers insist that he was in good health before being taken into custody.

  • Lord, we pray that the torture during interrogation by Israeli security services is brought to an end. We pray with our brothers and sisters, who remembered Palestinian political prisoners in a service at the Orthodox Church in Ramallah this week. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Last week, Israeli occupation forces closed checkpoints between the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel for the two days of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) celebrations, restricting most Palestinians from leaving the occupied territories. There will be two further closures of the border crossings for the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on October 8th and 9th and Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles) between October 13th and 21st.

  • Lord, we pray for an end to the apartheid system in the Holy Land. The Israeli authorities focus on their own services and festivals, disregarding the needs of the Palestinian population. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On the weekend beginning the 4th of October a conference took place in Härnösand, Sweden entitled, ‘Dialogue there, dialogue here’. Omar Harami from Sabeel Jerusalem was one of the speakers who addressed the challenge of trying to establish dialogue in Palestine/Israel today.

  • Lord, we pray for those who attended the conference, that they may have been encouraged to keep listening to others who may have quite different experiences and convictions from their own. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Friday, 5th October, thousands of Israeli Arabs, citizens of Israel, took part in protests against the Israeli Police’s failure to properly address violence in the Israeli Arab community. The peaceful protests were held in numerous Israeli Arab cities across the country, blocking major roads and entrances to majority Arab towns. Since the beginning of 2019, more than 70 Israeli Arabs have been murdered with little or no action by the Israeli Police towards preventing these crimes.

  • Lord of justice, we pray that you guide police in Israel, and around the world, to protect the people of all communities. Grant solace to those families who have lost loved ones through violence, and that the protests continue to be peaceful. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Sabeel is holding its annual Ecumenical Clergy Retreat this week Monday 14th to Friday 18th of October. The retreat will take place in Amman, Jordan. A number of distinguished clergy and lay people will lead the sessions.

  • We pray dear Lord for your blessing on this Retreat and for the ecumenical spirit that prevails in the Sabeel programs. Guide the speakers and the participants to be nourished by this fellowship and help them disseminate the right attitude in their parishes so that the “Other” will be a blessing.  Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

3rd October 2019

On 75th Friday of Great March of Return, Sahar Othman, 22, was killed and 109 civilians were injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 39 children, a woman, 2 paramedics, and a journalist, were among those injured this Friday, 20 September 2019.

  • Lord, we pray for the family of Sahar as they grieve over their loss. We continue to pray for the safety of the protestors and for them to espouse non-violent means to achieve their demands of a right to return to their ancestral homes. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the difficulties Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories experience when they try to obtain building permits. This has happened to the Christian Palestinian Nassar family, who have owned and worked the land on their farm on a hilltop south-west of Bethlehem since 1916. The Israeli government have threatened the family with dispossession, have cut off their water and electricity supplies, and blocked their access road. Still, this Palestinian Christian family remain and ‘refuse to be enemies’, choosing instead the path of non-violent resistance.

  • Lord we pray that the Israeli government would release their stranglehold on permits for Palestinian building and development. We pray that all the people in the Holy Land would receive their rights and services in a just and equitable way. We pray, in particular, for the Christian witness of the Tent of Nations. We pray that the Nassar family and their supporters would be strengthened to keep faith and hope alive in their hearts, no matter what provocation they face. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Thursday, the 26th of September, the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of South Africa called for an end to Israel’s military occupation of Palestine and voiced its support for ‘well-directed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions actions’. They described the situation in Palestine/Israel as, ‘in some respects worse than apartheid’. They also urged all church members who were considering a visit to the Holy Land to choose ‘an inclusive and balanced itinerary that includes contact with Palestinian Christians’.

  • Lord, we are thankful for the concerns expressed by the Anglican Church of South Africa in their recent Synod. We join with them in their prayers for Palestine, God bless Palestine. Free all from oppression and bring justice and peace.’ Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer

In the last week of September, the Israeli government forced the cancellation of the FIFA Palestine Cup, without any reasonable explanation. They denied travel permits for the Gaza team to travel to play the Nablus team in the Palestinian National Football Club Championship. This is the second time the contest has had to be cancelled and calls into question whether Israel should be held to account for how it is treating Palestinian players, as a signatory to the International Convention Against Apartheid in Sport.

  • Lord, we pray that the enthusiasm and the hope of the Palestinian football players will remain undimmed despite this further disappointment. Lord, we pray too that international pressure will be brought to bear on Israel for its treatment of Palestinian sports’ teams. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On the 24th of September Turkey’s President Erdogan called on the UN to take action and enforce its many resolutions against Israel. He stated that, since 1947, Israel had seized Palestinian land ‘with the aim of eliminating the Palestinian state’ and that President Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ would support those territorial ambitions.

  • Lord, we pray for an end to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine and that the many injustices visited upon the Palestinian people would cease. We pray for renewed international efforts to help Palestinians and Israelis to live together in peace in the Holy Land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Monday, 30th September, Jews around the world celebrate Rosh Hashana – New Year. This is a time of renewal and recommitment celebrated by gathering with family and friends and enjoying the symbolic foods of apples and honey.

  • Lord, as the Jewish calendar moves from 5779 to 5780, we pray that all celebrating are inscribed with joy, justice, liberation, love, and hope for all. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also addressed the UN Assembly last week. He warned that any attempt to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, as promised by Netanyahu in the recent electoral campaign, would lead to the cancellation of all diplomatic agreements between Palestine and Israel. He stated that the US could no longer act as peace broker in the region after its ‘unlawful’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and its support of Israeli aggression against Palestinians. He promised to call for long delayed elections in the areas of Palestine, which would be seen as forming a future state of Palestine.

  • Lord, we are thankful that the UN has been given clear warnings this week from politicians and humanitarian workers over the critical situation in Gaza and the Occupied Territories. We pray that the international community would be moved to respond to these warnings by providing urgent economic and political support for the Palestinians to avoid a catastrophe. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Sabeel Wave of Prayer 

26th September 2019

On 75th Friday of Great March of Return, 109 civilians were injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 39 children, a woman, 2 paramedics, and a journalist, were among those injured this Friday, 20 September 2019. The organisers of the ‘Great March of Return’ and ‘Breaking the Siege’ called for the protests to be held under the slogan “Refugee Camps of Lebanon”, coinciding with the 37th anniversary of Sabra and Shatila massacre that targeted Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

  • God of justice, we cry out to you in lamentation of the injuries caused by the use of excessive force by the Israeli military against the mainly peaceful protestors in Gaza. We pray that those in positions of power will see the hardship and strife caused by the ongoing blockade of Gaza and act to lift that blockade. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week is the third Kumi Check-In to take place during the year. The Kumi Initiative would be grateful to receive any response to the entries or actions suggested, by e-mail to feedback@kuminow.com

  • Lord, we are grateful for the information provided by the Kumi Initiative about organisations working towards peace and justice in Palestine/Israel. We are thankful too for the non-violent actions suggested by Kumi to raise awareness around the world about the oppression of Palestinians in their own land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Monday 16th September, Sabeel held an ecumenical Bible Study in Jerusalem for Women. Sabeel conducts a number of contextual bible studies in different parts of the country to deepen the faith of the Christian community and to connect our faith to the realities on the ground. 

  • Lord, we are so thankful that there is a hunger for your Word in the faith communities served by Sabeel. We pray that your Spirit would lead and guide this time of fellowship and that it would glorify you and bless those taking part. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Sabeel 1st International Gathering will take place from the 2nd to the 7th of December in Bethlehem. The Gathering will update delegates on the current situation in Palestine on the ground. There will be opportunities to share worship and fellowship with Palestinian Christians and to meet with Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters working in organisations seeking a just peace in Palestine/Israel. 

  • Lord, we thank you for the work of Sabeel and we place into your hands the organisation of the Gathering. We pray that you would prompt delegates from around the world to register for this conference. We pray too that the topics discussed at the conference would lead to a clearer understanding of the oppression of Palestinians and the way forward to seek the path of peace and justice in their land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Friday, the 20th of September, a conference on the Palestinian Christian Curriculum, entitled ‘Identity and Belonging’ took place in Jerusalem. Sabeel supported this conference and the themes discussed included, ‘Blurring History’, ‘Ambiguity’, and ‘Building the Future’. The conference is the beginning of a dialogue on the curriculum, how it is written, and how others are viewed throughout the work.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for all those involved in the work of reviewing the Palestinian Christian Curriculum. May they know the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all they do. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Israeli army raided the offices of the prisoner support group Addameer overnight on Thursday, the 19th of September. They searched the office and seized five laptops, as well as other equipment. Addameer has been raided twice before, in 2002 and 2012. The office is based in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. It is nominally in an area under Palestinian control, but the Israeli army carries out regular raids in the area.

  • Lord, we pray for those who work to support the humanitarian rights of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. May they continue in their efforts to represent those who have been stripped of their rights and freedom, despite this attempt to silence them. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

As the summer heat cools in the Holy Land, the main tourist season has begun. This time will bring many groups to Sabeel and into encounters with the realities on the ground in Palestine and Israel.

  • Lord, we thank you for the opportunity for international visitors to share fellowship with Palestinian Christians and to come to understand what life is like for them living under occupation in their land. We pray that you will bless and guide those who will participate in this visit. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Peru. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

19th September 2019

On the 74th Friday of the ‘Great March of Return’, 75 civilians were injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against mostly peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 34 children, and 1 journalist were among those injured in another clear violation of international law.

  • God of all comfort, we pray for all who were injured as they peacefully protested this week in Gaza; the thousands still recovering from injury and trauma; the thousands more mourning the unrecoverable loss of a sibling, parent, friend, or child. We pray too for an end to the unjust and ongoing military blockade of Gaza. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

This week’s Kumi Now initiative invites you to consider planning a Kumi City March to advocate for justice and peace in Palestine/Israel. It gives advice on how to organise a march and how to encourage others to attend.

  • Lord, we thank you for those prepared to nonviolently act against the occupation of Palestine by organising peaceful protests where they live. We pray that more people around the world will become aware of the injustice faced by Palestinians in their homeland. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

Elections will be held in Israel on Tuesday, 17th September, for the second time in less than six months after efforts failed to form a government after the election in April this year. Candidates are being fielded by 31 parties, but the two most popular parties are Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and the more centrist Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) party led by Benny Gantz, a former army chief together with Yair Lapid.

  • We pray, Lord, that voters may elect a government committed to supporting and protecting the rights of all the people living in the Holy Land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

On Tuesday, the 10th of September, Benjamin Netanyahu promised to annex the Jordan Valley, which makes up a third of the West Bank, if he were to be re-elected. This announcement was condemned by the Palestinians, Arab countries, the European Union and the United Nations.

  • Lord, you are our stronghold and our rock of refuge, (Psalm 94:22). Help us to stand on your promises, Lord, and trust in your consolation when the outlook appears bleak. We pray that lawmakers and governments around the world will bring pressure to bear on Israel, if further violations of international law are put into force. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

In the warm September sunshine thousands of visitors attended the fifteenth Taybeh Oktoberfest. The Taybeh Brewing Company was founded in 1994 by Nadim Khoury and his family, shortly after the signing of the Oslo Accords. It produces beers and wines; all beers are certified kosher for the Israeli market and they also produce non-alcoholic beer for customers requiring halal drinks.

  • Lord, we give thanks for an enterprise which is giving work and skills to people living in an area of high unemployment. We give thanks to the ingenuity of the Khoury family and all Palestinians who use their talents and skills to improve their lives, the lives of others, and the economy of Palestine. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

The Church of Sweden and Friends of Sabeel Sweden are holding conferences this week attended by Sabeel Jerusalem.

  • Lord, bless the Church of Sweden and Friends of Sabeel Sweden as they meet in this week. May these meetings act as encouragement to those attending and enable them to learn more about the realities on the ground in Palestine and Israel. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

The United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel, (UNJPPI) gathered together in Ottawa at the weekend beginning the 13th of September. The focus of the UNJPPI conference was to urge the Canadian government to hold Israel accountable for the way it contravenes international humanitarian law in Palestine.

  • Lord, we thank you for the work of the UNJPPI network in Canada to call for a just peace in Palestine/ Israel and for equal rights for all living in Palestine/Israel. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

From the 15th to the 21st September the World Council of Churches (WCC) encourages all churches to take part in the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel. They are asked to bear a common witness by participating in worship services, educational events, and acts of support in favour of peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians.

  • We cry to you in prayer, Lord, for all in Palestine and Israel who are paralysed by injustice, fear, and violence. For those who live with suspicion instead of hope and uncertainty instead of security. Bless those taking part in the World Week for Peace and grant that their message falls on receptive ears. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Thursday, 12th October 2019

Over six thousand protestors took part in the weekly Great March of Return along the Gaza/Israel border on Friday, the 6th of September. Several protestors breached the fence and incendiary devices were thrown at the Israeli soldiers. Israeli forces responded with live ammunition, shooting dead two Palestinian teenagers, Khaled Al Raba’i, 14 and Ali Al Ashqar, 17. There were 70 other protestors wounded, including 38 by live fire.

  • Lord, we pray for the families of Khaled and Ali as they mourn the loss of their young lives. We continue to pray for a peaceable and just end to the siege of Gaza and for relief from the deprivation suffered by the people of Gaza. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of the Arab Educational Institute, (AEI), based in Bethlehem. This Palestinian organisation focuses on education, peacebuilding and dialogue in the occupied West Bank. Among other outreach projects, the AEI mounted 270 large, weather-resistant posters on the separation wall which surrounds Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem. This holy site can now only be accessed from the Israeli side of the 9-metre-high wall.

  • Dear Lord Jesus, we are so thankful for your sacrifice on the cross which has given us access to draw near to God through faith. We pray for the strength and conviction to overcome physical walls and the walls in our hearts to work for peace and understanding. Thank you for the AEI and their work to build peace across the divisions in the Holy Land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Palestinian Bassam al-Sayyeh, from the West Bank district of Nablus, died on Sunday in Israeli jail from cancer. According to the Palestinian detainees and ex-detainees commission al-Sayyeh died due to medical negligence.

  • Lord, the writer of Hebrews asks us to remember those in prison as if we were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if we are the ones suffering (Hebrews 13:3). We remember the family of Bassam as they mourn their loss. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Sheffield has become the first UK city to recognise the State of Palestine on Wednesday, the 4th of September. Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Ambassador, raised the Palestinian flag outside the Town Hall before the historic motion was passed.

  • Lord, we pray that other cities and nations would join with Sheffield to recognise the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to free them from the Israeli occupation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The suspicious circumstances of Isra Gharib’s recent death in Beit Sahour have drawn attention to the practice of honour killing. She was admitted to the Arab Society Hospital, Bethlehem with severe spinal injuries. It is thought she may have jumped from a window in her home, after receiving beatings from her family, although they reject this accusation. Social media posts claim she died in her home after she was assaulted in hospital. If her death is established as an honour killing it would be the 19th case in Palestine in 2019.

  • Lord, we pray for Isra and her recent, suspicious death. We pray that any injustice may be followed up by the authorities and the legal and ethical aspects of honour killings would be openly debated. We pray that women in Palestine might be granted a greater degree of protection from violence under the law. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

In the first week of September the Palestinian Authority announced that it had decided to cancel the division of the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C, according to the Oslo Accords the PLO had agreed with Israel in 1993 and 1995. All West Bank territories will now be deemed as Palestinian under its sovereignty. It is as yet unclear how the PA will be able to implement this decision.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for the millions of Palestinians who’s lives has been divided and disrupted with the division of the West Bank into areas A, B and C. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Ismail Ajjawi is a young Palestinian bound for Harvard University to study chemistry and physical biology. He has overcome great challenges as a refugee studying at an UNWRA school in Lebanon to win a full scholarship to study in the US. However, he only just made it to start his classes this week. When he first arrived with a valid visa last month the US Customs denied him entry and sent him back to Lebanon. He was then granted another interview and cleared to return.

  • Lord, we thank you that Ismail has been allowed to take up his studies at Harvard. We pray that this heightened focus on national security in the US will not deter other young students from pursuing their studies abroad. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Ghana and Nigeria. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

5th September 2019

At least 94 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during the Great March of Return protest on the Gaza/Israel border on Friday, the 30th of August. Nabil Musa Abu Musa, 25, was critically injured by live ammunition and died of his injuries the following day. More than 300 protestors from Gaza have now lost their lives as they sought the right to return to their homeland, since the mainly peaceful protest began in March 2018.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for Nabil’s family as they grieve their loss. We pray for a just and peaceable end to the desperate siege of the enclave and to the shootings and deaths at the border. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of Adalah, an independent humanitarian organisation working to defend the rights of Palestinians and Palestinian Bedouin. Since 1948 Palestinian Bedouin living in the Naqab, (Negev), desert have faced an Israeli state policy of forced displacement, home demolition, and dispossession.

  • Lord Jesus, the good news of great joy at your birth in the Holy Land, was given first by the angel to ‘the shepherds out in the field keeping watch over their flock by night’, (Luke 2:8). We thank you for the work of Adalah as they protect the Bedouin shepherds in the Naqab. We pray, too, that the Israeli government would abandon their policy of forced displacement of the Bedouin. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Monday, the 26th of August, the Israeli military arrived in the al-Makhrour region, near Bethlehem, to demolish the home and restaurant of the Palestinian Christian Qaissia family. They have already had their property demolished on two separate occasions, once in 2012 and again in 2015 and have had to rebuild at great cost. On each occasion an Israeli organisation has made a claim on their family property and they have been denied due process in the courts. The distressing demolition was filmed and may be witnessed on Facebook, as made available by the Good Shepherd Collective.

  • Lord, we pray for the Qaissia family who have suffered the trauma of having their home and business demolished three times now. We pray for provision for them and for your healing and peace. We pray too for the end the occupation and the resulting acts. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week 46,000 Palestinian refugee children started the new school year in the 96 schools run by the United Nations’ Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Pupils in the Silwan Girl’s School were pleased to see the renovations which had been carried out in their school in East Jerusalem over the holidays.

  • Lord, we thank you for the work of UNWRA over the past seventy years as they have worked to safeguard the right to education for the Palestinian refugees, even in times of conflict. We are thankful for the courage and commitment shown by many pupils as they have demonstrated their love of learning and their determination to pursue education, despite the difficulties of their lives. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

For the first time a Soccer League for Amputees was organised in Gaza under the auspices of the International Red Cross on Tuesday, the 27th of August. Many young men have found renewed fitness by playing for the Palestinian Amputee Football Association, (PAFA), which was founded in Gaza in March 2018. It is hoped that the young sportsmen may have the opportunity to travel and compete in international competitions in the next few years.

  • Lord, we thank you for the recent football matches for amputees in Gaza and for the renewal of hope and focus that we see in the lives of these young sportsmen. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The 1st Sabeel International Gathering will take place from the 2nd – 7th December this year in Palestine. This new initiative will bring friends of Sabeel together with other organisations working for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.

  • Lord, we thank you for those who are encouraging others to take the time to join in this time of learning and fellowship with the Palestinian people. Bless them in their work as they promote this ecumenical gathering. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo. Lord, in your mercy…  

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

During the 71st Great March of Return, 149 civilians were injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against mainly peaceful protesters along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 66 children, 7 paramedics, including a female paramedic, were among those injured. This week’s protest marked a spike in the number of civilian injuries especially ones caused by live bullets and shrapnel; as well as targeting medical crews in an indication of the Israeli military’s escalated use of excessive force against protesters. An increase in the number of protesters came despite the protest organisers issuing instructions for civilians to maintain the peaceful nature of the protests and stay away from any areas open to soldiers and snipers and avoid friction in today’s protest.

  • Lord of the suffering, we pray for a commitment to human rights by all sides and the protection of all lives. We pray for effective international intervention to ensure justice. We pray for humanitarian aid and rebuilding where destruction has occurred. We pray for peace and for justice in our homes and on our city streets. Wrap all and each of these your people in your love. Let them hear: “Come to me you who suffer and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week the Kumi Now initiative focuses on Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem. It offers training in the visual and performing arts, as well as Palestinian cultural heritage, design, and tourism related studies. In a town dominated by the Separation Wall, checkpoints and surrounding illegal settlements, the university has become a beacon of light and creativity for young Palestinians. The University was founded by the Christmas Lutheran Church and its doors are open to Christian and Muslim Palestinian students.

  • Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for the work of Dar al Kalima University in Bethlehem which aims to nourish the souls of young Palestinians trying to survive under occupation. We pray that many of them will become the creative leaders of their communities in the years to come. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

World Humanitarian Day was celebrated in Gaza City on Monday, the 19th of August. Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator, honoured the work of female humanitarian workers such as Hanaa Rajesh Al Farajeen. Hanaa is a kindergarten manager working in a Bedouin community in Hebron. She has worked hard to enable women in her community to access educational, economic and health support through the work of the Bedouin Women’s Protection Committee.

  • Lord, ‘Father of the fatherless and protector of widows’, we ask you to bless the work of those whose hearts are open to the orphans, widows, and others in need. We thank you for the thousands of female humanitarian workers who reach out to the poor, the needy, and the dispossessed. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Avner Gvaryahu, Executive Director of the Israeli humanitarian group ‘Breaking the Silence’ was supposed to give the US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar a tour of the city of Hebron, when they were still planning to visit the West Bank. In an MSNBC interview on August the 16th, the former Israeli paratrooper spoke about the tours he gives to show how the main market area of Hebron has now been emptied of Palestinian families in order to protect the large, illegal Israeli settlement which has recently grown there.

  • Lord, we are thankful for Israelis who love their country but have the courage to speak out against the military occupation which causes such misery to millions of Palestinians. We pray that this illegal occupation would be fully exposed to the world and that it would be dismantled and brought to a peaceable end. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Sunday, the 18th of August Israeli police broke up the annual soccer tournament organised by nearly two hundred Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. The police had been authorised by the Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who claimed the event was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority. This claim was denied by the society who had organised the tournament. 

  • Lord, we pray for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem. At every turn they meet discouragement and hostility. We pray that they may persevere in their efforts to maintain their communities and to support one another. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

On the 70th Great March of Return, 66 Palestinian civilians were injured due to the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border. At least 20 children, 3 women and a volunteer paramedic were among those injured this Friday, 16 August 2019. Twenty-nine civilians were shot with live bullets; 2 of them were deemed in a critical medical condition. Each protest has its own theme with this one being titled “Palestinian Youth Friday” and involving activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances.

  • Lord, we continue to pray for the right to protest peacefully in Gaza without the threat of injury or death by the use of live ammunition and dispersal methods by Israeli forces. We are grateful for those who continue to find new ways to protest in a creative and nonviolent way. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week the Kumi Now initiative looks at the work of Churches for Middle East Peace, (CMEP). This is a coalition of 27 national church denominations and organisations from different church traditions. It focuses on promoting a lasting resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and particularly the ending of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Conditions in Gaza are becoming untenable with 80% of Gazans dependent on food aid, a scarcity of potable water, power, and building materials and an infrastructure damaged beyond repair after three wars with Israel.

  • Dear Lord, we thank you for the work of CMEP as they seek to influence people in the US to support moves to end the struggle between Palestine and Israel. We pray that more voices around the world will join with the CMEP to bring an end to the misery of the blockade of Gaza. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has decided against visiting her relatives in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite the Israeli Interior Minister granting her entry on humanitarian grounds whilst at the same time attaching a variety of conditions, including agreeing that she would say nothing critical of the Israeli government. Israel had initially barred Rashida Tlaib and fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel and Palestine along with a group of congress people, due to their support for the BDS campaign. 

  • We thank you Lord for politicians with conviction who are willing to step forward and speak the truth about injustice, no matter at what personal cost. We pray that fear of reprisal will not quench their desire to exercise freedom of speech. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Wednesday, the 7th of August a demonstration was held in Ramallah in support of Palestinian prisoners being held without charge or trial in Israeli prisons. There are now 49 Palestinian prisoners who have gone on hunger strike in protest at administrative detention.

  • Oh Lord, you are the light of the nations. We pray that you would lighten the darkness of those Palestinian prisoners who do not know why they have been imprisoned or for how long they may be incarcerated. We pray that your light would expose this inhumane treatment and that the occupying Israeli authorities would cease to treat their prisoners in this way. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Kamal Boullata, a renowned Palestinian abstract painter died in Berlin last week. His work focused on his Palestinian identity and his state of exile. He was born in Jerusalem in 1942 and he grew up in the Old City. He was out of the country at an exhibition in Beirut in 1967, at the time of the Israeli occupation. He was never allowed to return to live in Jerusalem, except for one brief visit in 1984. After strenuous efforts his family secured permission for him to be buried in the Greek Orthodox cemetery on Mount Zion, next to his ancestors.

  • Lord we thank you for the life and artistic gifts of the late Kamal Boullata and for the inspiration of the Old City of Jerusalem in his light and colourful paintings. We pray for the many Palestinians who, like Kamal, have lived their lives in exile from the homeland they love. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

A new documentary film about life for ordinary citizens in Gaza had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It is an Irish and Canadian co-production with the directors Gary Keane and Andrew McConnell. The film was made between 2014-18 and McConnell spent almost the whole of the 2014 conflict with Israel on the ground in Gaza filming.

  • Lord, we thank you for artists prepared to put their own lives at risk to tell the stories of people who are suffering. We pray that this film about Gaza will move the hearts of those who watch it and inspire them to seek change and relief for those in the besieged enclave. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Noura Erakat, a professor and human rights’ attorney has just published a new book entitled ‘Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine’. She brings a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom through the power and control of international law. She makes a plea for renewed action and attention to the question of Palestine and argues that within international law, change is still possible.

  • Lord, we pray for people in positions of power and international lawmakers. We pray that they would hear the cries of those who suffer injustice and oppression. We pray that they would use their power responsibly to protect those in need. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Sabeel Wave of Prayer


15th August 2019

The Great March of Return on Friday, 9th August was much quieter than usual with no current reports of injuries. This is due to the feast of Eid al-Adha which started on Sunday, 11th August and an ongoing decline in the protests through agreements brokered by Egypt. Despite this, a number of Palestinians were killed after allegedly attempting to enter into Israel from Gaza. The occupation Israeli forces claimed that they were armed militants and shelled a number of areas inside Gaza as a response.

  • Lord, we continue to pray for the people of Gaza. We pray that they may one day be able to return to their homes and that the ongoing Israeli military blockade will end. Grant those in positions of power around the world the courage to speak truth to power and stand up and act wherever injustice is seen. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

This week Kumi Now focuses on the work of the Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP). This organisation works to defend children’s rights by offering free legal aid, documenting violations of international law, and advocates for greater protections. The Israeli authorities have failed to end violence against children, despite repeated calls to end night arrests, ill treatment and torture of Palestinian children in military detention.

  • We pray that the inhumane treatment of children by the Israeli authorities be exposed and brought to an end. We thank you for the work of the DCIP and for their care of Palestinian children caught up in situations which are difficult for many adults to imagine. Dear Jesus, you knew what it was like to suffer torture when you were arrested. We ask you to reach out to all children who are suffering today. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Sunday, 11th August, a number of Muslim worshippers were injured by Israeli occupation forces as they prayed at the Al Aqsa Mosque to celebrate Eid al-Adha. Muslim leaders had called for all other mosques to close in order for as many people as possible to pray at Al Aqsa. Israeli authorities had allowed a number of Jews to enter the compound to pray as they commemorated Tisha B’av, with armed guards, something which is normally forbidden during the Eid celebrations.

  • Lord, we pray for peace and order in the city of Jerusalem. We pray that the occupying Israeli authorities would respect the rights of all its residents to worship without obstruction at their holy sites. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

On Wednesday, the 7th of August Riyad al-Maliki, the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, announced that Nicaragua had decided to open an Embassy in Palestine. In recent years several European and South American countries have recognised Palestine, but these moves have had limited diplomatic effect.

  • Lord, we pray that there would be expressions of support from around the world for Palestine and clear message from international lawmakers that the oppression suffered by Palestinians must end. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

After a two-year legal battle, a group of students from Fordham University in New York have won an historic victory. Students for Justice in Palestine Club (SJP), can now be established on campus. The university had vetoed the Student Government’s approval of the SJP in December 2016, but the students sued the university for violating its own rules in April 2017 and have just won their case.

  • Dear Lord, we give thanks for the courage and persistence of the students as they fought for their right to free speech to advocate for justice in Palestine. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

Israel has approved plans for more than 2,300 illegal Israeli settlement homes in the Occupied West Bank. This is the latest in a surge of such approvals since the US President Donald Trump took office in 2017. The Israeli Group ‘Peace Now’ has called this policy ‘a disastrous attempt’ to prevent the two-state solution and to annex part, or all of the West Bank.

  • Lord, we pray for those Palestinians who are refused permission to build in the West Bank and even see their homes demolished, at a time when illegal settlement homes are being built in their thousands. Lord we cry to you over this injustice and ask that you would ‘raise up the poor from the dust’ (1 Samuel 2:7). Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

The Palestinian Monetary Authority declared that banks operating in Palestine should deduct 50% of the salaries of public sector employees on Monday, the 5th of August. Employees of institutions receiving finance from the Ministry of Finance and Planning were to take the same pay cut. The pay cuts come as a result of the Israeli government’s decision to withhold a substantial amount of the tax money it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, (PA). It withheld revenues to the value of $138 million, which the PA would have paid to support families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel. The PA declared that it would not accept the remaining $200 million in protest against the Israeli deduction.

  • Lord, we pray for all those affected by the loss of income as a result of the discriminatory practices of the Israeli authorities. We pray that decision makers in Israel may recognize the impact of their policies on the lives of all Palestinians and that they will restore the funds they have withheld. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
  • We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer