"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Matthew 5:9
Waterstone’s desire is to be a reconciling community. By his Spirit living in us, God gives us eyes to see the painful wounds of racial and ethnic strife not only in our own community, but also across the world.
We have seen the horrific violence, suffering and chaos in Israel and Palestine over the last weeks. Many of the stories include cruel and terrible atrocities done to children, the elderly, young women, and innocent inhabitants—all created in the image of God. There is a cry from within that utters,
How long, O Lord, will this keep happening?
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to enter into God’s work of peace making. Where do we begin? We begin in the same place where a mistreated young mother began in Palestine thousands of years earlier. When the Lord came to help Hagar in the midst of her distress, she “named the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are El-roi.’” El-roi means “the God who sees.” You can read the story in Genesis 16 and listen to a message preached by Paul Joslin at Waterstone from February 13, 2022: Genesis - Abram.
Our first response is to run to the Rock of our Salvation—the God who sees.
We invite you to run to him with the words of a liturgical prayer published by the Telos Group—an organization that has stewarded a faithful Christian presence in Israel and Palestine for years, bearing witness to the unity and flourishing that can be found in the name of Jesus Christ.
May these prayers capture the longings of your heart for peace in Israel and Palestine.
A Prayer for Israel and Palestine
We lift up the thousands of families and millions of individuals affected by this war, those who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods. Those whose loved ones are still missing. Those who have nowhere to flee and those who have nowhere to hide from the fear and trauma of this moment.
Lord, have mercy. Christ have mercy.
We pray for the evil of terror to be soundly renounced and held to account, for the victims of this attack and their families to find justice, for the protection and safe return of all hostages, and for the world to reject any and all forms of antisemitism, which has no place in the Kingdom of God. We repent for the ways we have, knowingly and unknowingly, not loved our Jewish brothers and sisters with our whole hearts.
God, have mercy on us.
We pray for the civilians, including men, women and children in Gaza, who had nothing to do with the insidious attack in Israel, yet who are subject to constant airstrikes and a siege of fuel, food, water, and medicine. Who have been told to flee their homes in the millions, but have nowhere to go. Uphold and protect them, God, and forgive us for the ways we justify and turn a blind eye to violence against the innocent. We pray the pursuit of justice would not devolve into an unjust quest for revenge, which only compounds the suffering of your image bearers. We repent for the ways we have, knowingly and unknowingly, not loved our Palestinian brothers and sisters with our whole hearts.
God, have mercy on us.
God we pray for your shalom and justice to reign. We pray your influence over the leaders and decision-makers in Israel, the Palestinian territories, the United States and European countries, the surrounding Arab countries, that they may be overcome with wisdom, compassion, and a desire for just peace. We pray for immediate cessation of all hostilities. We pray for the transformation of the ideologies of hatred, religious supremacy, and exclusion. We pray for all people in the region to flourish with equal access to dignity, security and freedom.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
We pray for the Christian communities across the Holy Land, including Jewish followers of Christ and Palestinian Christians in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank. May your Church be a lighthouse of healing, justice, humanity, mercy, and most of all, love. In this moment of darkness and hatred, may your people be known by their love.
Lord, may your love reign.
Empower and shower us with the courage of your Spirit, God, claiming the agency and influence you have given us to be a part of the transformation of this violence into a world beset by your peace, a world we know is coming, a world we pray comes soon. Come, Lord Jesus, and let your Kingdom reign on earth as it is heaven. All of this we pray in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.