One of the largest refugee crises since the Second World War continues to unfold in the Middle East, as people flee the fighting in Syria and to a lesser extent, Iraq. There may be as many as 12 million people on the move and living in temporary arrangements, within Syria and Iraq and outside these countries.
Turkey is hosting nearly 1.4 million Syrian refugees, Jordan is hosting about 1.3 million, and Lebanon is hosting more than 1.1 million refugees. Jordan and Lebanon are small countries, and their resources are being severely strained. Smaller numbers of refugees are in other countries, such as Egypt and Germany. Europe and North America have provided sanctuary for only a relative few of these suffering people.
Many of the refugees are families, often with small children. Extreme temperatures, lack of proper food and shelter, insufficient or non-existent medical care, few employment opportunities, few schools and teachers, lack of hope, all contribute to a desperate situation.
Children may be exploited and abused, and may be easily radicalized by Islamists.
Many or most of the people groups of Syria are among these refugees. Included are Arab groups, Kurdish groups, Bedouins and many more.
Christians are ministering to the refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, doing what they can to alleviate the discomfort and suffering. One visitor said "I was proud to be a Christian", as he observed the selfless work of Christians in the refugee camps.
Many Arabs feel they are getting to know one another more now, as they are forced into contact and mutual assistance.
The person and work of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, stands in stark contrast to the hatred and vengefulness presently raging in much of the Middle East. Sometimes desperation is needed to prompt people to reassess the belief system they have inherited from their forefathers.
* Please pray for the physical needs of the refugees to be better met. Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are now placing limits on how many more refugees they will accept. This may result in even more suffering for those unable to find refuge of any kind.
* Pray for protection for vulnerable people in the refugee camps, especially for children.
* Pray for more assistance from countries that are able to do this. The wealthy Gulf countries have provided virtually no aid. Europe and North America could do much more.
* Pray for peace soon in Syria and in Iraq. Pray for stable governments that are able to enforce peace, and which have the welfare of all citizens as a priority.
* Pray the Lord will somehow work the terrible situations in Syria and Iraq for his glory and that all peoples of the Middle East will turn to Jesus as their savior and deliverer. This could be their hour.
"He will have compassion on the poor and needy, And the lives of the needy He will save." Psalm 72:13