Pray for the children and families of Iraq

Six-year-old Salma and her family walked for eight days before they arrived in Dahuk, Iraq. They're living in a shelter made of cardboard and blankets on the grass next to a service station. (©2014 Meg Sattler/World Vision)

Since mid-2014, the people of Iraq have been caught up in a resurgence of violence. The conflict has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation stemming from Syria’s five-year civil conflict.

Christians and other minorities continue to be targeted for persecution and are choosing to abandon their homes rather than their faith.

More than 10 million people need some kind of assistance in the country of 36 million people. More than 3.3 million are displaced, according to estimates by the United Nations. Some of those in peril include Syrian refugees who recently fled violence in their own country.

World Vision and other humanitarian agencies are preparing for as many as 1 million people to flee Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

Pray that people will find adequate shelter and water.

Many of the displaced are housed in camps, schools, churches or mosques, abandoned buildings, or in open fields. These spaces cannot accommodate the physical and protection needs of large populations. And their sanitation systems and water resources may not be adequate. Fast approaching harsh winter weather will further endanger children, the elderly, and those who are ill.

Lord, the needs of such a large group of displaced people is overwhelming, yet you safely cared for the prophet Elijah during a drought when he was away from home. We ask You to provide the safe shelter necessary to accommodate this large group of displaced people. Bring them potable water and heating resources to meet their needs in the coming winter months.

Pray that displaced and conflict-affected families will have life-sustaining food.

Many displaced families have resorted to eating only one meal a day due to lack of food sources.

Families that were unable to flee the fighting are in worse circumstances. This is especially concerning, since children are not getting the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong.

We are reminded that You supernaturally fed thousands with a few small fish and loaves of bread. We ask for Your help to supply families with the food necessary to strengthen their bodies and help children to grow.

Pray for children’s protection and well-being.

Children are particularly vulnerable to long-term displacement and violent upheaval. In the response to this crisis, children will need psychosocial support to recover. With their educations disrupted, they also will need help catching up with their peers.

Lord, You are the Sustainer of all things. Help children who are suffering as a result of what they’ve experienced. Heal their minds and hearts. And help them receive the educational support they’ll need to resume learning.

Pray for those facing persecution.

Iraq is the cradle of biblical families. Abraham, the father of faith, came from Ur in the south. Mosul, on the northern Plains of Ninevah, is in the area where the prophet Jonah ministered. It is distressing to see ancient places of worship and cities where faith was nurtured become places of persecution against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities.

Lord, You pronounced blessing on those who experienced persecution for Your sake (Matt. 5:10). Bless those today who are suffering persecution with Your peace. Comfort them in their affliction and lead them to safety.

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