By Rev. Cariño Casas
CMJ USA Executive Director
In the midst of different responsibilities here in Pittsburgh, I have been monitoring the news, as I expect many of you have. The numbers and violent stories are hard to process. So is the reality that some of my colleagues and other brothers and sisters in Messiah have been called up to military service.
While this war manifests in the natural, we know that there is also war in the heavenlies. Let us join God's angels in worship and cry out to Jesus for mercy and salvation.
Photo credit: Archival photo of rockets from Gaza by tipinfo via Flickr (CC)
How to pray
Most of the prayer points we released on Saturday are still important, so we post them here again with some additions.
1. For all those who have been injured by rocket fire or terrorist gunfire.
2. For those who have been kidnapped, reportedly more than 130 Israelis -- men, women, children, soldiers, civilians.
3. For God's grace and comfort to be with all grieving families. Especially for the many children who are caught up in the horror of these events. Many are scared, hungry, and have lost their homes and shelter.
4. For the perseverance and calm of our staff as we serve our guests and pilgrims, who are often quite frightened. For their safe passage home and for local people who may be needing help as well.
5. Pray for the upcoming groups scheduled to come - for wisdom on how to proceed.
6. For leadership at CMJ Israel as they continue to assess how best to respond to the unfolding situation.
7. Especially intercede for young people from our communities who are part of response teams serving as soldiers or medics in harm’s way. Pray for members of our congregations who have either been called up themselves or have children and grandchildren who are serving in the military and emergency services.
8. Pray for the residents of Gaza. Through our online ministry in Arabic, we are getting messages from people that we are working with and discipling who are frightened and equally fearful for their lives.
9. That the border to the north will remain quiet.
What is CMJ doing in the current crisis?
1. Helping to bring food, hygiene products, clothes, and children's toys to families who have been displaced from their homes in the south. On Sunday, the first delivery of supplies left for residents of the Be'eri village, which had parts of it held hostage by Hamas militants until early Sunday morning. Over the coming days, we will continue to assess and provide any care that we can.
2. Working with congregations and communities in the south of Israel and offering to open our guesthouses to families who cannot return to their homes or want to get out of conflict areas.
3. CMJ Israel's Arabic online ministry has been encouraging Christians in Gaza, many of whom are new disciples. Under barrage, they are living in fear and are reaching out to our staff members over the phone and social media. Unfortunately, there is no way to provide them with practical aid, but there are currently 13 families to which CMJ is offering counseling and prayer.
All these responses that CMJ is undertaking are not simple and require financial resources in a season where finances are already limited. If you feel led, please consider contributing so that we can continue promoting healing, reconciliation, and peace in the Holy Land. Write 'war relief' in the memo line.