(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”
  • Suzanne Gross: Interfaith prayer at Edmonton vigil, "Fading Hugs, Remembering Gaza's Angels" 
  • Carol Penner: Advent Prayer
  • 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/

This 14th of February marks for many Christians worldwide Ash Wednesday which symbolizes the first day of Lent. The season of Lent is traditionally observed with fasting and abstinence from meat and other animal products. Ash Wednesday derives its name from this practice, in which placement of ashes on the forehead is accompanied by the words, “for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Lent is a period of lament which ends with the great celebration of Easter.

Crucified Christ, in this season of fasting and lament we are reminded of our mortality more than ever. As we fast, let us remember those starving in Gaza. As we place ashes on our foreheads, let us remember the Palestinians turned into dust by bombs. Lord, help us understand the message of Ash Wednesday which encourages not to be despaired from death, but to await the death of despair and suffering.

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.

Amen.

 


"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.


Advent Prayer     

By Carol Penner, Director of Theological Studies, Conrad Grebel College, Waterloo, ON.

God, you see us here in the northern hemisphere.
The days get shorter and the arc of the sun
creeps towards the horizon.
Winter has come
with its great swaths of darkness.
Hope hunkers down with us 
as the cold north winds make us shiver.
The last geese fly across the sky heading south,
and the trees are suddenly bare.
In this emptiness you give us advent.
We reach into dark corners and pull out dusty boxes.
Hope glimmers as we string up colourful lights,
and set up nativity scenes that bring to mind
the gift of a baby in Bethlehem.
Hope is hard to find in that war torn place of your birth,
and in so many places this year.
Bombs and bullets crater communities,
and violence begets violence.
So many bodies, so much blood.
Will it ever stop?
Hope is buried in rubble this year
and we dig it out with our bare hands.
Into this unsteady world, a baby is born
Hope slides into our lives
with incredibly tiny hands and feet
and a promise that you are with us.
You melt our frozen hearts
so we can answer your call to generosity.
There is so much suffering
and we have so much to share.
Your hope hovers over the world
an ever present help in times of trouble.
This week help us reach out
to one person who is hopeless,
who is grieving or sick or new to this country, 
offering companionship and comfort.
In our busy lives we can find time.
Thank you that sometimes hope falls on us like snow
transforming the world overnight.
As we do your work, we see the essential outlines,
the breathtaking beauty of the world around us.
Let your hope fall on every war torn country,
so that ceasefires can hold,
and healing can begin.
This is our first advent prayer,
a prayer of thanks for the gift of hope:
a gift we need and treasure in times like these.
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. 

Amen