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“Refuse to be discouraged by the many signs that planet earth is the insane asylum of the solar system.” (Anonymous)


We are living in a time of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Syria is in ruins and its people are on the run from a seemingly endless nightmare. Millions are trapped inside Syria in dire condition. Millions of others have overwhelmed neighboring countries—and their numbers and needs grow daily. More than 320,000 people have been killed in the war in Syria, with no resolution in sight. Before the war began in 2011, 23 million people lived in Syria; half of them have been displaced. More than 12 million innocent people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Nearly 6 million of these refugees are children.


Like many Christians, I have been disturbed by the news concerning the continuing refugee crisis spawned by the turmoil in Syria. Frida Ghitis (CNN, September 4th) described how she felt the world should respond to the Syria crisis. Her compassion is obvious; her challenge to action is stirring.


I believe we should respond to this crisis with compassion. If anyone cares, believers in the God who is love should. Seeing the image of a 3-year-old lying facedown on a beach, dead, after his family attempted to escape the horrors of civil war, touches our heart. Shame on us if we are not moved—apathy is disgraceful.


Yet compassion without action is meaningless. Our heartfelt concern should cause us to respond. Above all, we should pray. Though some consider prayer a waste of time, connecting with the Greatest Power in the universe surely is not a useless exercise.


We need to pray for world leaders—that God would grant them wisdom and courage to act to slow and halt this crisis. Unless world leaders intervene, the situation will worsen with more refugees and greater instability. Ghitis recommends an international gathering of countries—including Germany, the United States, the European Union, Russia, China, and the United Nations—to focus on stopping the killing, helping the refugees, and ending the war. She advocates establishing safe zones inside Syria and ending the regime of Syria’s cruel despot who has rejected peaceful demands for democratic reform.


We need to pray for our President—that he will lead Americans to stop viewing the Syrian civil war as “their problem”. That conflict has not been contained there, but has led to ISIS threatening the security of many nations, including ours.


We need to pray for peace—that warring factions will stop killing each other, and that the Prince of peace will bless world leaders with backbone to respond effectively to “the moral and strategic challenge of our time” (Ghitis).


We need to pray for the refugees—that God will provide them with a safe haven, a home free from fear, a home where there is calm.


We need to do more than pray. UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, World Vision, Save the Children, and the UN Refugee Agency provide cash assistance for rent, food, health care, and trauma counseling. By making a donation to these charitable organizations, we “put feet on our prayers” and demonstrate that our compassion is genuine.


“I urge you to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:1-3 NLT).

Johnny R. Almond

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia




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