Day of Prayer for Syria
Syrian church leaders have called for a day of prayer for their country and its people on Saturday 11th May. Primarily, they are calling for prayer for peace to be restored to their country, enabling all Syrians to live in harmony within their own country.
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 neighbouring 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.
During 2012 there was a subtle shift in how Syrian church leaders typically interpreted events. Claims of the deliberate targeting of Christians for religious reasons increased as the year progressed. Initially, most were careful to stress that there was little religious targeting. However, church leaders are increasingly fearful of the growing extremist elements within the opposition movement (e.g. Jabhat an-Nusra), and 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. Church leaders have called on Christians not to leave, acknowledging that significant emigration had already occurred.
Fears within Christian communities have increased following the kidnapping of two priests (Michel Kayyal of the Armenian Catholic church and Mahar Mahfouz of the Greek Orthodox church) on 9th February and the subsequent kidnapping of two bishops (Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Boulos Yaziji of the Greek Orthodox Church) on 22nd April.
Syrian Christians request that we join with them in prayer, asking that:
a. Violent conflict will end, and reconciliation processes will begin.
b. Those bereaved and traumatised will know the healing touch of Jesus.
c. Those displaced will know the provision and protection of the Father; and those supporting them will know the wisdom and enabling of the Spirit.
d. Those from all communities who have been kidnapped, including the two bishops and two priests kidnapped, will be released unharmed soon.
e. 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.
f. 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.
Global Alliance Expresses Concern for Syrian Crisis
Religious Liberty Partnership Releases Statement on Syria, Calls for International Day of Prayer
(April 2013) The Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance and other religious liberty organisations united under the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) have released a statement on the crisis in Syria asking the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria to pay particular attention to "vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities", and calling for a designated day of prayer for the country.
Called the 'Istanbul Statement on the Church in Syria', it expresses concern about the exodus of Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities from Syria and calls on the international community to" provide sufficient protection for all ethnic and religious communities as well as their historical, religious, and cultural sites."
"There is an urgent need to speak out about the situation facing Christians and other religious minorities in Syria." said Godfrey Yogarajah the Executive Director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, and member of the RLP Leadership Team. "We urge all Christians around the world to respond to this call to prayer and action in order to bring peace and stability to this troubled nation," he added.
According to the statement, drafted during the annual gathering of member organisations held in Istanbul in late March, the Religious Liberty Partnership commits "to raise awareness and work toward a peaceful solution of the current crisis, including reconciliation among the various ethnic and religious communities; and to utilize practices that prioritize the well-being of all Syrians when providing assistance and advocating on behalf of the vulnerable." The full Istanbul Statement is available here (http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1109200547735-21/RLP+Istanbul+Statement+on+Syria.pdf)
The Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) is a collaborative effort of Christian organizations from over 20 countries focused on religious liberty. The RLP seeks to more intentionally work together in addressing advocacy, assistance, and in raising the awareness of religious liberty issues globally. Besides RLP Chairman, Mervyn Thomas, the RLP Leadership Team is made of: Godfrey Yogarajah of the World Evangelical Alliance; Ron Boyd-Macmillan, Open Doors International, Netherlands; Anne Brandner, Global Peace Initiative, Canada; Andy Dipper, Viva, UK; Daniel Hoffman of Middle East Concern; and Linus Pfister, HMK Switzerland. A listing of RLP members is on the Istanbul Statement.
For further information about the Religious Liberty Partnership or the Istanbul Statement, please visit: www.RLPartnership.org
Pray for Syria: A Letter from a Syrian Christian Leader in the Midst of the Aleppo Siege
Dear Brother John,
I am sorry for being delayed in my response. Actually it is due to lack of electricity and net off-ness. Daily we do receive light and net about 3-4 hours. Most the time spending in darkness and under the candles. Just back to early 18-19th centuries. PTL.
Many thanks for your kind words and supporting prayers.
The situation here in Aleppo Syria is getting worse more and more. Yesterday, as all churches decided to have a united prayer day, the rebels sent three rockets - mortars- and been exploded just couple of hours before the gathering few meters from the main gate of the church. No injuries; just few damages here and there with some affected cars.
But, with all this, just to let you know that in spite all the rockets and explosions, more than 300 members and worshipers attended the prayer service meeting on that Friday. PTL…
Lord protected all of us - near and far. He is good. He is in control. His presence is our protection. Still in Aleppo, serving the One who deserves to be served.
Keep us lifted up.
(A Christian leader living in Syria)
Syria: Increasing Incidence of Religiously Motivated Attacks Against Christians
Syrian Christians continue to request our prayers for their country. They note that, in recent months, there have been increasing numbers of attacks on Christians that seem to be religiously motivated.
There has been a spate of reported incidents involving the kidnapping of Christians. One example occurred on 9th February when two priests, Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Maher Mahfouz (Greek Orthodox), were kidnapped when travelling by public bus between Damascus and Aleppo. The bus was stopped by armed men belonging to one of the groups fighting the government. The gunmen checked the identity documents of all passengers and only the two priests were taken. A Salesian priest travelling with them was not kidnapped. Negotiations for their release are on-going. Other kidnappings have been reported, especially in al-Hasakah Province where some Christians have demonstrated publicly to protest against this alarming new trend.
There have been a number of assaults on Church buildings and other Christian property. Such attacks are often interpreted as warnings or threats to the Christian communities. One example occurred on 10th February when gunmen vandalised the historic church of Saint Maroun in Barad village, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Aleppo.
Syrian Christian leaders continue to note that there are political and economic motivations in many of these attacks. However, they identify a rising tendency for religiously motivated attack, linking this to the increasing prevalence and influence of religiously extremist groups amidst the opposition movement.
Syrian Church leaders also note the severe economic challenges faced by Syrians, with ever-rising numbers of internally displaced persons and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. Churches and Christian ministries remain active in helping to meet some of the overwhelming needs.
Syrian Christians request our prayers that:
a. The violence in Syria would cease, and peace and justice would be established for all Syrians.
b. Those that have been kidnapped would be released unharmed, and no further kidnapping incidents would occur.
c. There would be no further acts of vandalism against Church property.
d. Those engaging in programmes to meet the needs of their communities, and of refugees and the displaced, would know the Lord's provision and enabling.
e. Syrian Christians, and especially church leaders, will know the Spirit's wisdom and guidance each day.
f. All those using violence, including against Christians and Church property, would know the Spirit's conviction and seek the forgiveness of the Father through the life, death and resurrection of the Son.
Open sources used: FIDES Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding
Let us keep our brothers and sisters in Christ in this war-torn land in our hearts, agreeing together for the binding of the forces of darkness, violence and death that want to destroy this land. Pray for His peace and shalom to cover everything and everyone there and for a swift end to the fighting.
Refugees from Syria Threaten to Overwhelm Jordan and Other Nations
Today, a Christian leader from Jordan called to ask us to pray for his nation, which is being overwhelmed by 300,000 refugees from Syria. Iraqi and Palestinian refugees were already camped there for years. The new refugees need more food, clothing and heaters in the winter cold. Nearly 200,000 Syrian refugees are registered in Lebanon, more than 153,000 in Turkey, 69,300 in Iraq, 13,000 in Egypt, and upwards of 5,000 in North Africa, according to the United Nations, which expects their number to rise to 1.1 million by June if the war continues.
Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jan-17/202575-jordan-seeking-aid-boost-for-syrian-refugees.ashx#ixzz2IMAulMyb
(The Daily Star: Lebanon News: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
Please pray for them and for the provision of these needs by the international community through the government, the U.N., humanitarian agencies. Pray also that many of them will come to the knowledge of the Lord during this difficult ordeal for them and their nation. May a just peace and order be restored to Syria soon!
Syria: Christians Affected by Continuing Violence
“Syrian Christians have requested our prayers concerning the continuing violence in their country. Thousands of Syrians, including large numbers of Christians, have fled from their homes, especially in the Homs and Hama governorates and more recently Damascus and Aleppo. There have been reports of the targeting of Christians by both government and opposition sides.
Several prominent Syrian Christians have been killed recently, including Defence Minister General Dawoud Rajha (assassinated in an attack on the National Security Offices in Damascus on 18th July) and Brigader-General Nabil Zougheib (assassinated along with his wife and son at their home in a Christian neighbourhood of Damascus on 21st July).
Most Church leaders point out that any such targeting is not religiously motivated but is either politically motivated or is criminal activity for economic gain. Many Christians fear that radical Islamist groups are becoming more influential, and that this may lead to increased hostility towards Christians and other minorities. They fear that they may become more vulnerable to criminal activity, including kidnapping-for-ransom incidents.
Throughout the ongoing unrest, Syrian Christians have faced a dilemma of allegiance. They regard the current regime as having been a protector for many years and fear that any replacement regime is likely to prove more hostile. Yet along with others in Syria, they know that open allegiance to either the government or to the opposition could bring retaliation from the other side.
Syrian Christians request our prayers that:
a. Christians will know the protection of the Father, the inner peace of Jesus, and the daily guidance of the Spirit
b. Church leaders will know the Spirit’s guidance concerning public worship and private pastoral support of their congregations
c. The bereaved, wounded, and traumatized will know the comfort, presence, and healing touch of Jesus
d. There will be an end to violence by all parties and that a just resolution and constructive reform will follow
e. Many will know the love and forgiveness of Jesus
f. In the long term, there will be greater religious freedom for all citizens.”
Syrian Disaster Grows as Syrians Executed for Talking to UN
The Syrian regime appears to be sinking to new lows with reports of security forces executing Syrians who speak to UN observers. The military also reportedly is halting violence against towns for visits by UN observers but then resuming attacks as soon as UN personnel depart. Syrians have become so frustrated at the inability of the UN observers to stop the violence that activist videos have surfaced mocking them as useless.
Urgent Terror Alert – Syria’s WMD Programs
LIGNET has uncovered information suggesting Syria could provide Iran with sensitive nuclear technology and a secret stockpile of uranium to assist in the building of weapons of mass destruction. This is an urgent concern as the United States watches the situation in Syria deteriorate and terrorist groups like al Qaeda get a foothold.
The United States must start thinking about how to secure Syria’s nuclear program and to locate the missing uranium and nuclear weapons-related technology before they can find their way into the hands of the Iranians or terrorist groups, LIGNET Managing Editor Fred Fleitz said in an interview this week.
“If Assad thinks he’s in danger, he just may decide to transfer some technology, or maybe some uranium, to Iran,” Fleitz said of the Syrian president, who has earned international opprobrium for his brutal crackdown on the opposition.
“Now in terms of falling into the hands of terrorist groups, that is a real worry. The worry that militia groups could seize these weapons, such as militias in Libya did after that conflict, is a real concern.”
Excerpted from www.lignet.com
Syria Needs Our Prayers
In the midst of pain, they find God.
From our believing brothers and sisters in Damascus, needing our prayers came this prayer request. Will you join us in praying for all those in Syria and elsewhere suffering under violence and trusting in Jesus to keep them....pray especially for those who do not yet have hope in Jesus after this life! So many still need to know His love!
Please pray that many will hear the truth and accept it.
· Pray that God will change the heart of those extremists who are coming to Damascus from other Muslim countries to fight. Pray that they will leave Syria with the message of the Gospel. Just like Paul, as he was heading to Damascus to persecute the Christians but later he left Damascus with the Gospel of hope.
· Pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith.
Brutality in Syria Creates Humanitarian Crisis
Mission News Network – 19 March 2012
The crisis in Syria has created a flood of refugees. According to the United Nations, the number fleeing the regime's wrath has risen by several thousand in the past few days and now tops 34,000. Their most recent numbers show that hundreds of thousands are thought to be displaced within Syria. Bill Bray with Christian Aid Mission (http://www.mnnonline.org/groups/CAM) says, "Almost every day, we're getting new reports of increasing numbers of refugees and increasing sacrifice being made by the Christian community in the surrounding countries to reach out."
Most of the poor refugees, made up of nominal Christian and other minorities, are fleeing to neighboring countries where the reception has been chilly. "They are trying to contain the refugee crisis, and displaced persons within Syria and not welcoming them across their borders. All the borders are mined and armed--protected. They don't want a huge rush of refugees from Syria coming into their countries.
"God uses times of crisis to soften hearts to the gospel," added the Christian Aid staff spokesman. "This may be a time of harvest among Muslim and Christian refugees. God is sovereign. He cares for Muslims. Countries in the Middle East are going through great upheaval. Now many Muslims are turning to Christ. Maybe the long turmoil in Syria is God's way of bringing this about."
· Pray for strength for the Christian community and wisdom in dealing with the government and local police officials. A lot of these people are illegal immigrants, they're undocumented; there are no jobs for them so we need to pray for the Christian community as they try to integrate these refugees into their churches and into the community."
· Pray for continued open doors for the Gospel.
· Pray that God will cause seeds of the Gospel to grow.
· Ask God to provide the resources for this response.
Read full article http://www.mnnonline.org/article/16959
Urgent Prayer for Christians in Syria
From Open Doors UK:
“ From a very reliable source, we received the following message. Please join us in Prayer for our brothers and sisters in Syria. We've all seen and heard about the uprisings in the Arab world. The Middle East is heating up for better or for worse. We talk about fighting for democracy, desiring to see all ethnic groups obtain it, and even children seek some type of democracy of their own. It takes a huge amount of hatred and ignorance for anyone to refuse such democracy, and yet in the mind of fundamentalists and extremists, there is no room for it. This is the struggle of Christians in the Middle East, especially those living in Syria.
The last few months have been some of the hardest times for Christians in Syria, in the fight against corruption. They have united together to support the call to change. Things began to heat up in the streets, and the effort to fight corruption turned into power struggles, where sects in Islam are fighting each other, trying to take control, forcing their beliefs on one another.
Many slogans have been heard throughout the revolution. One in particular goes something like this, “Take the Christian man to the grave and their women to bed.” Hearing hundreds of men in the streets, chanting against Christians, has brought fear into their lives. Fear for the safety of their women and young children. It has come down to a battle for existence, all because of what they believe. Many stories of Christians being attacked and killed, woman being kidnapped and raped, are being heard throughout Syria. All in the name of Islam and of “Democracy!!”
· For an end to the blood shed and that any change of government will lead to greater freedom for the people of Syria.
· That the rights of Christians and other religious minorities will be protected
· That the church will have strength to stand firm and bring the light of Christ to their nation.”
Pray for Syria
The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have died as the Syrian government tries to crush the 9-month-old uprising there. Now, a pan-Arab body is calling for the immediate withdrawal of Arab League Monitors in Syria because the government has continued to kill opponents in spite of the monitors’ presence. The monitors are supposed to be ensuring that Syria complies with the Arab League’s plan to end Syria’s bloody suppression of dissent—a plan that the Syrian government agreed to already. Advocates said more than 150 people have been killed since the observers began their mission on last week.
Please pray that the Syrian government will heed the calls of the Arab League and the others in the international community “to remove its security forces and heavy weapons from cities, start talks with the opposition, allow human rights wrokers and journalists into the counrty, and release all political prisoners.” Pray for Christ’s peace and transformation of this important nation in a tumultuous region.
Syria, July 2011
Syria in Revolt
Reuters News Agency reported that Syrian security forces shot dead at least 34 demonstrators in the Syrian town of Hama on Friday, as once again protesters were mown down as they left Friday’s noon prayers. The revolt against President Bashar al-Assad is in its 11th week and security forces, including snipers, fired into a crowd of thousands in an attempt to bring it to an end. “The firing began from rooftops on the demonstrators. I saw scores of people falling in Assi square and the streets and alleyways branching out. Blood was everywhere,” a witness who gave his name as Omar told Reuters from Hama. “It looked to me as if hundreds of people have been injured, but I was in a panic and wanted to find cover.” Funerals for the martyrs have already started, “he said. History may be repeating itself in Hama, where Bashar’s father, Hafez, slaughtered at least 30,000 of his own citizens in 1982, in order to suppress a revolt…
According to human rights groups, security forces have killed more than 1,000 civilians since March. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who originally called Assad a “reformer” has said that his legitimacy “had nearly run out.” Although the United States has joined NATO operations in Libya aimed at toppling Qaddafi, who has also killed his own citizens, no similar actions have been announced against Assad. The EU, Australia, and the United States have passed sanctions against the regime. Assad has responded to this continuing revolt against his rule with violence accompanied by promises of reforms, which protestors have dismissed as irrelevant. The media blackout instituted by the regime has made a mockery of those promises, and news is dependent on activists who manage to communicate via the web. A 13-year-old boy, Hamza al-Khatib, who is said to have been tortured to death, has become the symbol of the human rights outrages perpetrated by Assad’s forces. His picture is seen at protests.
From: “Anneli Dietz” Subject: Syria Bloody Friday in Hama, Syria as History Repeats Itself by INN Staff
Please pray for a just government to arise that will serve the people and that the current oppression by Assad’s administration will cease.
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