On Sunday 18th December, Syrian Christians from a range of church traditions and denominations will be gathering together in several towns to pray for their war-torn nation. They extend an invitation to the worldwide body of Christ to join them in prayer.
Speaking to Christian NGO Open Doors, Deacon Bassam Sawan from Homs explained: “Churches will come together to pray for peace in Syria. This day is important because of what Christ said: ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God’. This day is beyond all geographical and cultural barriers between people from east to west. It will unite hearts and minds with Christ in order to pray and seek the Lord for peace in our land.”
This prayer initiative comes at a critical time for Aleppo, with the fighting continuing despite the announcement on 15th December of an agreement to end the four-year battle for control of the city. Now largely under government control, Aleppo has seen further loss of life, destruction and mass evacuation in recent days. In an interview with Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Father Ziad Hilal, a Jesuit priest in Aleppo, said: “The city has been completely destroyed and an inordinate amount of patience was needed even to achieve the present cease-fire. But we must keep our hopes up.” He called on parties to the conflict and the international community to exercise reason and to seek dialogue and reconciliation, so that all can live in peace once again.
Suggested prayer points are below. Additional information and resources for the day of prayer are available from Open Doors: www.opendoorsuk.org/news/stories/syria_161207.php?ref=lnstorylnk
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Syrian Christians invite the worldwide church to join them in praying that:
a. violence will cease and peace will be restored, in Aleppo and throughout Syria
b. those who are bereaved will know the comfort of Jesus, and those wounded and traumatised will know his healing and presence
c. the needs of the millions of Syrians who have been displaced, either internally or abroad, will be adequately met
d. reconstruction and economic development will be pursued as soon as possible, enabling all Syria’s citizens to live in their country with dignity
e. all engaged in peace talks will prioritise the needs of the Syrian people and not their own agendas – to ensure that the rule of law is applied equally for all citizens, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or other status
f. Syrian Christians will be agents of reconciliation, healing, peace and hope – especially as they celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace this Christmas
g. all who are intent on violence will know the Spirit’s conviction of sin and respond to the Father’s offer of new life through the Son