Conflict within Syria has displaced more than 6.3 million people within the country and 5 million in neighboring countries including Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt. Thousands are attempting to reach Europe by land or sea, with many dying tragically along the way.
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8 ways to pray for the Syrian refugee crisis
1. The Syrian people are suffering from widespread conflict. More than 350,000 to 450,000 lives have been lost since the conflict began in 2011; about 30,000 people report trauma-induced injuries every month, with 30 percent left with a permanent disability. Homes and businesses are being destroyed in the violence.
Lord, Psalm 46:9 declares that You “make wars cease to the ends of the earth.” Help those in conflict with one another to come to a peaceful solution, so that civilians may resume their daily lives. Lord, we trust in You.
2. Syrian families have been uprooted from their homes by the fighting, displaced in their own country, or fleeing to neighboring countries for safety.
Lord, come to the aid of families who have fled to safety. Guide them to places where they can find help and rest. Provide host communities with the resources to assist families arriving on their doorstep. Lord, we trust in You.
3. Many uprooted Syrian refugee families are making the treacherous trip across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Others are fleeing over land — a long trek. They are seeking a better life, but encountering brutal and dangerous conditions on their journeys. Some countries are closing their borders to refugees due to the swelling numbers.
Gracious Lord, we are helpless in the face of such desperation and tragedy. Let European government leaders come to compassionate solutions for refugees in these dire circumstances. Open our ears to what Your Spirit is saying about our personal involvement in helping meet the overwhelming needs of refugee children and families. Lord, we trust in You.
4. As resources become scarce, tensions rise between refugees and their host communities. Families living in tents or dilapidated structures are particularly vulnerable to changing weather conditions — high heat in the summer and snow in winter.
Lord, have mercy on those who have no warm place to stay. Provide families with ample resources to withstand the weather. Infuse aid organizations with extra supplies to meet their variety of needs. Lord, we trust in You.
5. Many Syrian school-aged children are not able to attend classes because they’ve left their communities or because their schools are damaged or occupied by displaced families. Child refugees find it difficult to enroll and participate in classes that are not in their native language.
Lord, You know that children whose educations are disrupted often have a hard time catching up. This threatens their future prospects to have a career and care for a family. We ask You to help children who are missing classes today. Help them to resume their studies with ease. And give teachers the training to help these students regain what they may have lost. Lord, we trust in You.
6. There are many ancient Christian communities in this region going back to New Testament times. Saul was helped by Christians in Damascus after his encounter with the ascended Christ (Acts 9). These communities today have requested prayer that they may stay strong in faith.
Lord, we lift to You our brothers and sisters in Christ living in this region. Strengthen them with power through the Spirit (Ephesians 3:16). And help them to endure and remain faithful, knowing that nothing can separate them from Your love. Lord, we trust in You.
7. Syrian children face many safety and wellness issues. They’re especially susceptible to malnutrition, dehydration, and diarrheal diseases. Because of the Syrian health system’s deterioration, many have not been immunized or kept current on vaccinations, and outbreaks of measles and polio are common both in Syria and in refugee camps. Due to the nature of living in chaotic, overcrowded, and unfamiliar situations, children also are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation.
Jesus, You love the little children. Each Syrian child is precious to You. Protect their little bodies from dangerous diseases, and bring healing to those already sick. Keep away predatory adults who are looking to harm or profit from them. Bring loving adults to watch and nurture them as they strive to survive the harsh realities in which they live.
8. The Syrian conflict, now entering its seventh year, and the chaos it has bred have become background noise to many people — even those who consider themselves compassionate. The political ramifications of the conflict keep many caring individuals at a comfortable distance. But there is an urgent need for donor governments to allocate funds to meet this humanitarian emergency, for churches to raise a cry of prayer and support, and for all of us to find a way to engage meaningfully for the sake of Syrian children and their families.
Gracious Lord, awaken us to the needs of Syrian children and their mothers and fathers. Let us not grow weary in doing what is right and good in Your eyes. Remind us to engage on their behalf as we would if it were our own families who were suffering. Help us be advocates for peace in this troubled land and open our hearts and wallets to pray and give gifts to help. Amen.