The following prayer was written by Diana Paulding from the context of the participants of the URC’s educational visit to Israel and Palestine in 2019.
Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, we bring to you prayers for the land of your birth and ministry, as individuals and as part of the body of the Church. As a fellowship of Christians, we have a history rooted in the Holy Land and a community built upon shared worship and prayer. We are dismayed to see Jerusalem filled with violence and weeping filling the streets, whilst places of worship are violated with soldiers interrupting prayers.
We pray for the people who are facing eviction from their homes in East Jerusalem as settlers prepare to move in. Let justice prevail and let there be safety and security for all people in the Holy Land.
Draw near to those who fear for their homes and let them know that we are praying for them and longing for justice.
We have seen both the conflict simmering on without attracting international attention, and we have seen it becoming headline news around the world. As we pray for peace, let us be witnesses and advocates each day until peace comes.
As the conflict reaches a new crisis point, we pray for those who have died in the violence, both Israelis and Palestinians. Hear our lament, O Lord. Each day, more people are reported to have been killed. We remember each one in our prayers, people unknown to us but known to you, Lord.
Draw near to those who grieve and let them know that we are praying for them and longing for justice.
We pray for the people in the Holy Land, some of whom may be known to us personally and whose stories have touched us. Many are not known to us, but they are no less precious in your eyes. We do not know how close they are to the violence at the moment, but we offer our prayers to all who live in the region whether they are in the middle of conflict or experiencing the wider shock waves that come from each riot or bombing or military raid.
Wherever there are victims of violence and whatever their situation, draw near to each one of them and let them know that we are praying for them and longing for justice.
We pray collectively for people in Gaza, people of a place where occupation has robbed them of basic human rights and where air strikes destroy the lives they have built under the most inhumane of circumstances. We pray that the violence on both sides will cease. Bring your peace, Lord. Where there is fear, bring your comfort.
Draw near to those in Gaza and let them know that we are praying for them and longing for justice.
We pray for peace in the Holy Land, a peace that in the short term brings a ceasefire and a drawing around the table to talk, a peace that in the long term is built on a willingness to find common ground and draw near to one another in community.
Let the optimism, hope and hospitality that is demonstrated by so many individuals be the model of a lasting peace for all.