Sometimes we lived isolated lives. Despite the internet, cell phones, instant communication, we either ignore or never see what many Christians are facing.
Prayers for Christians in Syria
We have a Syrian (Orthodox Christian) group of people in our area. Recently I have been asking how one of the men how his family is doing. The persecution is increasing dramatically in that region where his family is located.
Today I read this: “Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria” Ignored
It might be easy to classify this in purely human/government terms. But in reality this is first and foremost a spiritual battle. Paul wrote about 1st century Christians and affliction/suffering that they were enduring:
We must always thank God for you, brothers. This is right, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing. Therefore, we ourselves boast about you among God’s churches—about your endurance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions you endure. It is a clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering (1 Thes. 1:3-5 HCSB)
Prayers for Christians in Ukraine
As such it is appropriate for us to be concerned for our brothers and sisters in Christ, not only in Syria, but in the Ukraine and throughout the world.
Several years ago I found this prayer “While Reading the News” by Martin Franzmann. It seems especially appropriate today.
O God Almighty,
I thank you for this net that sweeps all waters and brings me news of all the daily life of all my neighbors everywhere in the world. Make me compassionate, O God of all mercies, with all my neighbors’ sufferings.
Teach me to know and feel that distant anguish is as aching as my own. Teach me to pray, “Thy kingdom come!” as widely as Your Son has willed it and meant it. Teach me to do what I can and must do for all people. Teach me long-reaching charity.
Give me faith to know, when news is black as ink, that Your hand is guiding all, obscurely and unfathomably but surely, surely toward Your goal; that when the world shakes and Satan triumphs with short certainty, Your Son, Jesus Christ, is Lord of all, that He, the Lamb slain for our sins, is opening the seals of Your book and is working out Your good and holy will.
Remember in Your mercy the gatherers and disseminators of the news. Protect them from all harm. Keep them from cynical and cheap success, from a single taste for disaster, from considered or deliberate distortion of the sad and wondrous face of man.
[From Pray for Joy, by Martin H. Franzmann (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1970)]