17 September 2015
Syria- why we need to pray
Syria has been on everyone’s minds and lips due to the recent migration crisis. I for one though, can hold my hands up and say before writing this I didn’t know an awful lot about the actual situations and lives we need to pray for. What is driving thousands of Syrians to risk their lives resulting in the horrific images we saw on the beach that day?
The Syrian Christian community is one of the oldest in the world. The apostle Paul experienced his own conversion on the road to Damascus, one of the oldest cities in the world. However, in the present time of civil war and unrest, Christians in Syria are an extremely vulnerable group. Since the start of the war in 2011, Open Doors reports that 700,000 Christians have left the country. An increased uprising from a ‘jihadist’ group against the government is causing their very lives to be threatened.
Just a few days ago, The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby voiced his concern that the plight of Syrian Christians was being ignored. He talked about the fact that Christian refugees are even avoiding the refugee camps for fears they will be attacked in them by ‘rogue Islamist groups’.
An article from the Telegraph reports -“In a speech in the House of Lords last Monday, Archbishop Welby said that “within the camps there is significant intimidation and radicalisation, and many particularly of the Christian population who have been forced to flee are unable to be in the camps.”
The few Christians that remain in Syria are also in danger and up against a demanding list of rules that they are deemed to follow. If they don’t they risk death.
An ‘agreement’ in one particular town in Syria is described in an article in Christian Today: ‘These commandments, directly issued by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, specifically prohibit practising the Christian faith, including the establishment of churches, the displaying of crosses, and saying Christian prayers out loud.’
However, amidst the terror and turmoil, we hear stories of hope. People still coming to know Christ and accepting him as saviour and Lord. The story of Zunairah, a Syrian refugee is documented here, and there are many stories beside.
There is still hope: ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’- Matthews 5:10.
- For governments across the world to accept more Syrian refugees and for them to find refuge even in the midst of those camps
- For the gospel to still be spread, in the camps and in the towns of Syria
- For those refugees suffering persecution- that they will know His peace that passes all understanding
Photo credit: CC Fabio Penna