Sunday, September 29, 2013

Praying for the Middle East

On the last Sunday of September we always celebrate Harvest.  Just as a new school year is beginning it seems good to start our 'Christian' year with creation and a celebration of God our Father, before moving on to Christmas, Holy Week and  Easter as we celebrate the birth, life and death and resurrection of Jesus, rounding off the year with Pentecost and our celebration of the Holy Spirit and that strength, unseen and yet so real, that is nothing other than the presence of God with us, guiding and empowering us.

At Harvest we have one of our special collections of the year and always share it between Highbury's mission project, supporting a children's worker for our work among children, and a project linked to the world church.

This year we have been supporting the work of Middle East Concern.

At our Harvest Supper we were introduced to the work they do throughout the Middle East and North Africa and in this morning's service we focused particularly on Syria.

It was good to have our focus for prayer in the Middle East over Harvest Weekend and to have a particular focus for our prayers.

At our Harvest Supper a suggestion was shared that would be good for us all to do this week ... and on into the future too.

So much is happening in the Middle East it is very difficult to know how exactly we should pray.  This is one suggestion and thought, not so much for a prayer time, but rather at those moments when we are confronted on the news with all that's happening.

Each time we hear mention of one of those countries we are so concerned for in the Middle East, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and so on … in that moment say to yourself, “There’s a church in this country and I can pray for them now.”  This is the kind of thing those churches are asking us to pray for …

  • Pray that we maintain a good witness
  • Pray that we won’t be anxious
  • Pray that we stand firm in the faith
  • Pray that we will know God’s peace
  • Pray that we will be courageous
  • Pray that we will be able to reach out to others in need and do the right thing

This morning in our Service our focus was on Syria.  It is through the personal contacts we were hearing about this morning with church leaders in Syria that we are asked to pray the following in our prayers for Syria

  • Comfort, healing and support for the bereaved, wounded, displaced and traumatised
  • Syrian Church involved in meeting humanitarian needs to have the resources to do so
  • Christians in neighbouring countries supporting the 2 million plus registered refugees and (probably) as many unregistered
  • Christians to remain in Syria wherever possible
  • A political breakthrough.

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