Painting of a dove of peace
Detail from the painting “HOPE” by Palestinian artist Sliman Mansour.

Advent Cycle of Prayer lifts up congregations, communities and ministries in the Holy Land

Dear friends in Christ,

As we enter this Advent season, the horrific impacts of war weigh heavy on our hearts, minds, and souls. The call to pray and act for peace is a calling to hope for justice and peace among all peoples and in every place.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we invite you to join us in praying for peace in the land we call holy.We call, and pray for, an end to the war in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank. We call for a ceasefire, an end toviolence in the West Bank and the opening of humanitarian corridors in Gaza. Along with lifting this up in prayer, this is a message to be shared with government leaders.

Our churches have long-standing partnerships with churches in the region. In many and various ways, over the course of many years, we have been inspired by the witness offered by our partners. It is a witness for justice, peace, healing, hope, and love. Today, the Christian community in the land we call holy is working very hard to offer spiritual care; this is a daunting task as the violence and attacks generate so much mourning, fear, pain, worry, and horror.

Churches Beyond Borders has prepared an Advent prayer resource that lifts up Palestinian Christian communities and ministries and other congregations and institutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. We invite you to use this resource to enhance your daily prayers.

We are concerned about the rise in antisemitic and anti-Islamic words and actions in local communities and communities across the world. We pray that all people of faith may embody peace rather than incite hate.

During catastrophes and difficulties, we are sometimes left to wonder “what can we do?” Indeed, this is an Advent theme: when stars are falling, systems failing, and the thrones seem oh so strong, where do we turn? When praying for peace, we open our hearts to God’s call. Each new day offers the opportunity to act, to learn, to reflect, to pray. We join the Psalmist in saying: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. (Psalm 80:3)

Please join us in praying for peace in the land we call holy as one expression of your Advent journey.

Yours in Christ,

[signed] +Linda Nicholls
Archbishop Linda Nicholls
Anglican Church of Canada 

[signed] +Susan C Johnson
National Bishop Susan Johnson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada 

[signed] +Michael Curry
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
The Episcopal Church 

[signed] Elizabeth Eaton
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 


Download 2023 Advent Cycle of Prayer for the Churches in the Holy Land and the Middle East

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”