Why Should We Pray For Refugees?
An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from their home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of them are under the age of 18.
We all have shed tears over the Syrian refugees for the past few years. Today, More than 4.8 million Syrian refugees are in just five countries. Three out of four Syrian refugees are children.
In 2015, out of 21.3 million refugees only 107,000 were resettled. These are overwhelming numbers. The refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time.
How does the church respond to this crisis and How does this response differ from the response of governments and humanitarian agencies?
A Christian who struggles with the presence of refugees asked me a few days ago, “why should we take them in? Countries in their own region have resources and space, why don’t they take them in?” The short answer to this question is that while God can use anyone, only the Church is indwelled by the Holy Spirit and has the vocation of being the
presence of Christ to the broken world, that is you and I. As the Church, it is in our DNA. The leaders of those countries do not have the Holy Spirit living in them and don’t have the same vocation as the Church does.
In the Anglican tradition, at our baptism we are asked if we strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. That is the same dignity that in Christ is fully redeemed. that is the same dignity that has been stolen from refugees by war, famine, horrendous circumstances, and ungodly governments and
groups. The Church has the vocation and the power of the Holy Spirit to help restore their dignity in the name of Christ.
The Bible is packed with passages about serving the poor, the oppressed, the orphan, and welcoming the refugee and the stranger. And in doing so, the goal is so that, as Acts 17 says, they may seek God and some may
find him and be restored in Christ into the fullness of God’s image by the power of the holy spirit.
These are hopeless times for refugees and difficult times for those who care for them. What do we do as Christians? We pray, in that we acknowledge that only God can change the circumstances of refugees
and bring them hope. Only God can see beyond political situations and can direct and guide our leaders. Only God can give us understanding beyond our own and help us take positive actions that are faithful and helpful. And, only God will save us all ultimately and brings all things under the subjection of his Christ. God is ready to do all that and direct the Church to serve refugees and guide us to be His light in this dark situation. So we pray.