Violence that was reignited on July 8 between Israelis and Palestinians is deeply distressing, especially for children living in the region. Thus far, more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed and 520,000 displaced from their homes. Israel has experienced 67 casualties, with fewer injuries and property destruction than in Gaza.
The U.N. says more than 373,000 children will require psychosocial support to recover. Since fighting began, World Vision staff in Gaza have sadly reported the following about children in our programs:
- 5 young children are known to have been killed in fighting.
- 2 children were seriously injured.
- 10 children were orphaned.
- 20 children lost one or more siblings.
- More than 5,400 children were displaced from their homes.
- 64 children's family home was hit in the bombing.
We ask you to join with us in prayer for children whose lives have been disrupted by violence and for this region that desperately needs a peaceful solution to the current conflict.
Pray for children’s well-being.
The violence of armed conflict harms children’s overall well-being, their ability to concentrate when studying, and their opportunities to rest and play in safety.
Lord, we contend in prayer for the vision of your prophet who said, “The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there” (Zech. 8:5). We pray that all the streets in Gaza and Israel will be full of children playing safely, their well-being secured. Amid the distress, help them concentrate on their studies and continue to pursue excellence in scholastic subjects. Bless Israeli and Palestinian children with hearts and minds comforted by Your peace.
Pray for children who have suffered injury or loss.
Death is difficult for all of us to understand but especially for children. There have been losses in Israel and Gaza, but Palestinians have had more than 1,800 die and more than 9,500 people injured. The sounds of rockets and sirens also disrupt the lives of Israeli children, who must continually run for nearby bomb shelters.
Lord, we grieve with children who have lost parents, siblings, relatives, or friends in the violence. Help families and communities assist children who are suffering emotionally from the death of someone dear to them. Heal those who have been injured as You guide those caring for their wounds. Bless Palestinian and Israeli children with hearts and minds comforted by Your love.
Pray for children’s communities that have been destroyed.
Palestinian and Israeli neighborhoods face destroyed homes, schools, and public facilities. Children have fled with their families to safer areas but will face tremendous scenes of destruction when they return. This loss of infrastructure is especially devastating in Gaza, where a significant lack of resources may hinder rebuilding efforts.
Lord, we ask that You would help all communities be restored or made even better once rebuilding begins. Provide needed funds and resources to those who have very little. Let a spirit of generosity encourage people to donate to rebuilding efforts. Bless Palestinian and Israeli children with completely restored homes and neighborhoods.
Pray for peace.
Perhaps because peace can be so difficult to find in situations like this where divisions are entrenched, Jesus announced, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). World Vision joins with all those praying and working for a peaceful solution to the current situation.
Lord, Psalm 122:6 urges us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Verse 7 continues, “For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’” Yet, today we see violence consuming Israelis and Palestinians. We don’t have the answer but are confident that You can restore peace. Bless this region with a spirit of brotherhood and friendship, bringing an end to strife and violence in all communities.
Pray for humanitarian workers.
World Vision staff and all those who work in the humanitarian space in the region are impacted by the conflict. Our staff temporarily suspended development work, because an estimated 60 percent of registered children and their families have been displaced by the warfare. Other organizations are similarly affected amid the high danger and dwindling supplies.
Lord, our staff’s hearts have been broken by the destruction and loss of life they’ve seen in Palestinian and Israeli communities. The death of even one individual is tragic; the loss of five children has been particularly difficult. And so little can be done while the violence is raging. Help all humanitarian workers see hope for the future. Bless World Vision staff and our humanitarian colleagues with Your strengthening presence.
World Vision staff in Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza contributed to these prayer points.
Editor's note: Numbers and statistics updated August 8, 2014.