By Faith J. H. McDonnell (@Cuchulain09)
Saturday, May 11, Church leaders in Syria have called for a Day of Prayer for their country and its people.
Sat-7 media ministry, which produces Christian satellite television “by and for people of the Middle East and Africa,” tells that “As violent conflict continues, there are no precise figures for the number of those killed (most estimates state 70,000 or more), injured, internally displaced within Syria or who have fled to neighboring countries and beyond. It is generally reckoned that over one million have left and at least another million have been internally displaced, all from amongst a population of approximately 23 million. Atrocities have been committed by many parties.”
In addition to fears of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, many Syrians, particularly the Christians, are growing more and more concerned about the Islamic extremists in the opposition movement, such as Jabhat an-Nusra. As we have already witnessed in the cases of Egypt and Libya, liberation from a tyrannical president may lead to oppression under a jihadist regime rather than to freedom and true democracy.
Sat-7 says that Christians are fearful “that a Sunni take-over of power in Syria would lead to greater restrictions on Christians. Some fear that the Iraq scenario (involving increased levels of sectarian attack and corresponding flight of Christians) could be replicated in Syria.” They do not want Syria to be emptied of Christians.
In 2013, a new wave of terror hit the Christian community in Syria with the kidnappings of two priests, Michel Kayyal of the Armenian Catholic church and Mahar Mahfouz of the Greek Orthodox church, on February 9. And most recently, two bishops, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Metropolitan Boulos Yaziji of the Greek Orthodox Church, were kidnapped on April 22. Sadly, the terrorists murdered their driver, as well. The bishops were actually on a humanitarian trip to the border of Turkey in order to negotiate for the release of the priest who had been kidnapped in February, according to Middle East Concern.
A White House petition was created on April 27 asking President Obama to use all of his influence to obtain the release of the kidnapped clergy and to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria. Let’s pray that this will not follow the pattern that we have seen in Egypt and Libya, but that God will raise up that leader/leaders that He wants for Syria.
SAT-7’s UK team put together a 12-week prayer campaign called “Spotlight on Syria” (SOS). They also offer a 2 minute video of Syrian Christians praying for their country. Please ask God to answer the prayers of His people in Syria.
Middle East Concern asks that we please pray:
- For peace to be restored so that all Syrians may live together in harmony in their own country.
- For an end to violent conflict and for reconciliation to begin.
- That the bereaved and traumatized will know the healing touch of Jesus.
- That those displaced will know the provision and protection of the Father; and those supporting them will know the wisdom and enabling of the Spirit.
- That those from all communities who have been kidnapped, including the two bishops and two priests kidnapped, will be released unharmed soon.
- That unity amongst Christian communities will be strengthened and that Christians will know the Lord’s equipping as they respond to the overwhelming needs around them.
- That all those choosing to use violent methods will know the Spirit’s conviction of sin and respond to the Father’s offer of forgiveness and new life in the Son.