(Updated) Prayers of Lament and Intercession for Palestine and Israel

Since the October 7 Hamas attack near the Gaza Strip and Israel’s crushing military reaction, violence and destruction have escalated in the land we often call “Holy.” As we lament the carnage among Israelis and Palestinians, let us also pray for those working for a future that ends the deep and longstanding injustices that lie at the root of the crisis. 

Prayers of lament and intercession for Palestine and Israel

Scroll down for prayers that can be used in private or in public worship. Contents below:

  • Sabeel Centre’s “Wave of Prayer”
  • Bethlehem Bible College “Prayers for Gaza”
  • "A Prayer for Canada as War Rages in Gaza" by Byron Rempel-Burkholder
  • Suzanne Gross: Interfaith prayer at Edmonton vigil, "Fading Hugs, Remembering Gaza's Angels" 
  • MC Canada PIN: “Prayer of lament and intercession.”

From Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre

The following is a sampling from the weekly prayer bulletin of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in occupied East Jerusalem. The bulletin brings into our hearts and prayers the events that are of concern to Palestinian Christians. You are welcome to read the full bulletin and/or subscribe to it at: https://sabeel.org/category/wave-of-prayers/

Two weeks ago [early June], Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, added Israel to its so called “blacklist of shame” for the countries that have committed abuses against children in armed conflict. This decision was made after at least 15,571 Palestinian children were killed, and thousands more injured, according to local reports. Furthermore, Israel’s restriction of food, water, and critical supplies, has created a humanitarian crisis, causing severe famine, and several cases of children dying from starvation.  

  • God of the oppressed, we remember your words that you, “have come in order that they may have life — life in all its fullness” (John 10:10). Lord, where is your message of life amidst the death of your precious children in Gaza? Why do you seem distant and silent? We believe that no one is a stranger to you, and no one is ever far from your loving care. Lord, save the children of Gaza and manifest yourself. 

Despite international pressure and limited sanctions, Israeli settlers continue their violence against Palestinians in the West Bank daily. These attacks often occur under the protection of the Israeli military and have increased since the 7th of October. The Israeli army consistently raids Palestinian refugee camps, killing dozens on a weekly basis and detaining many with no charge.

  • All powerful God, whilst the people of Gaza are in our hearts and minds, let us not forget the Palestinians in the West Bank. Lord, illuminate to us that the Palestinian suffering in both Gaza and the West Bank are rooted in the same system of injustice. We remember your words that we should “not be afraid”, not because our wellbeing is guaranteed, but because your reign is forever.

Lord in your mercy… hear our prayer   

From Bethlehem Bible College - Prayers for Gaza

Written by Students and Faculty at the Bethlehem Bible College. Also shared at an organizing meeting of the World Day of Prayer committee:

My God and my Lord, we know that you are here now, and yesterday you were, and tomorrow you will be, and forever. Your presence is our security and our peace. Our trust in you is without limits. You are the Lord of every oppressed and needy person.

Lord, fill with your mercy every child who has lost a hand or a leg.  For all the little children in Gaza who lost their parents, please send your angels to look after them.

We pray for the Palestinian mothers and fathers in Gaza who stand in the midst of chaos, powerlessness, looking for a safe shelter for their children. We pray for strength to uphold the mothers’ and fathers' spirits.

May your love be a beacon of hope, a refuge for their weary souls. Grant them resilience, oh Lord.  Wrap them in your protective embrace, and lead them to a place of peace, where their bare feet find rest and warmth.  

Look with the eyes of your divine providence upon your people in Gaza and Palestine, and all who call on your name in these difficult times. Keep them in peace and security with your grace. Keep all evil plots away from us. Send your angels to protect your people against any evil strikes. Plant in us your peace that surpasses all understanding.

Gracious God, for all suffering today in Gaza, heal their hearts and transform their minds. Allow them to experience your presence in their lives. Make them understand the wisdom from their suffering.

Dear Lord, there are no words to say. Our hearts are broken, but we trust in you, dear Lord of love and justice. Please be with us - give us the real peace.

Holy Spirit, comfort us, and distinguish between good and evil. Goodness comes from the Most Holy Lord. We need this unconditional love. Plant in us hearts of love, so peace can prevail.


A Prayer for Canada as War Rages in Gaza from Byron Rempel-Burkholder

God of Justice, God of Peace: As a nation, we have been too slow, too silent, too uncaring in our response to the decades of occupation, siege, and war in the land we often call Holy.

Lord, have mercy.

Our official words proclaim opposition to land theft, settlement of stolen lands, and violation of human rights. Yet we have done little and said little when those injustices occur before our eyes.

Lord, have mercy.

And now in these months of war and destruction in Gaza, our nation has blood on its hands We have been among the enablers of war instead of being agents of peace and justice. We have contributed to the shipment of weapons of destruction, while stalling in our calls for a ceasefire and for robust adherence to international law.

Lord, have mercy.

Canada calls itself a steadfast friend and ally of powerful Israel, while giving only token support to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, denied equality and justice.

Lord, have mercy.

God of grace and healing, you promise restoration for all who look to you for help. We give thanks for your Spirit, who turns our hearts from the ways of death to the ways of life.

Creator and sustainer of all people, defender of the weak and oppressed, move the hearts of our political leaders in Ottawa. May they be guided by moral principle rather than lust for power, driven by compassion rather than vengeance.

May they understand the deep roots of this conflict, and advocate for measures that heal the deep wounds of history.

Creator and lover of humanity, hear our prayer.

Grant our representatives the courage to be leaders in the pursuit of peace, rather than followers in the perpetuation of war.

May their hearts be broken by the plight of masses of innocent Palestinians who are displaced, deprived of food and medicine, and fearful of the future.  May they be touched by the fear and pain among Israeli and Palestinian families whose loved ones have died, or who remain captive in Gaza and in Israeli prisons.

Creator and lover of humanity, hear our prayer.

Grant our leaders wisdom in the pursuit of long-term measures that will bring justice, dignity and equality for all people living in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel.

Whatever our political persuasion, whatever our ethnicity or religious identity, may we all be united in our pursuit of freedom, justice, and dignity for all who live on your beloved earth.

Creator and lover of humanity, hear our prayer.


"Fading Hugs, Remembering Gaza's Angels" 

Prayer offered by Suzanne Gross, pastor of Holyrood Mennonite Church of Edmonton, at a December 2 interfaith vigil, marking the death of 6,000 children in Gaza.

We can feel alone in our lament, but we are here together – in diversity – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and many other identities --  to join voices and to cry out together in the hope that our world will turn from this nightmare course we are on.

And so let us pray together as one voice:  

Our merciful, loving Creator God:

We praise your holy name – creator of all that is. We pray that through your amazing grace, you will give us all the strength and wisdom to persevere as we speak into the oppression and injustice that violent occupation of land and people brings to our human family. We pray that those who have power to change the trajectory of violence and militarism and unfolding genocide will hear our cry, and listen to the stories of those affected by the toxic poisons of violence and militarism and racism. We pray for a new day when all – especially our children - will experience the peace and abundance of life’s blessings we all long for. We pray this in your holy name, Amen.

From Palestine-Israel Network

God of love and justice, our hearts are perplexed, paralyzed and broken at the recent carnage in Palestine and Israel. We lament the loss of life and the suffering of so many innocent people on both sides. We are shocked at the inhumanity of soldiers and militants.

Our prayers for peace seem to go unanswered. We wish you would intervene. We cling to your promise of a different world, but we see so few signs of its fulfillment. We do not understand.

Still, we continue to believe that you desire life and peace for all people. 

Holy Spirit, strengthen our resolve to advocate for peace, justice, equality, and compassion for all.   Don’t let us turn away.

Comfort all who are overwhelmed with loss—loss of life, loss of homes, loss of safety and security. 

God of the vulnerable and the oppressed, neutralize the power of those who thirst for domination and control. Renew the energy and creativity of those committed to nonviolent resistance and change. 

We pray for the Christian communities in the land where Jesus walked and where the church was born. May their witness to your love remain bright among their Muslim and Jewish neighbours. May they recognize your hand in their lives, even amidst the suffering. 

God of all nations, guide our own government to respond in ways that support the legitimate rights of all, especially those who are most vulnerable, those who continue to suffer after decades of occupation, dispossession, and denial of basic human rights and those who fear for their safety.

May your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Yours is the kingdom, the power, the glory, now and forever.