“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14, NIV)
Immigration is a hot topic in our nation and our churches. It has been known to cause arguments and has been divisive in many ways. But no matter where our opinion falls on the issue, the Lord cares about refugees. He even gives specific instructions on how to treat our refugee neighbors (whether next door or around the world)—with love.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are over 70.8 million people around the world who have been displaced from their countries forcibly because of persecution, war, violence, natural disasters, and more. Many of them have come to our country looking for safety because they have lost everything or their lives were in danger. As the body of Christ, it is our job to provide and care for these people. One of the best ways we can do this is to do something simple (yet powerful) that we all have access to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can pray.
God loves refugees. He made them. He wants us to intercede on their behalf and when we do that, He will give us a love for them that can only come from Him. There are many ways to pray for refugees.
- Pray that the basic needs of refugees will be met. Oftentimes, refugees are forced to leave their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Pray that God will provide food, clean water, clothing, shelter, medicine, and any other needs.
- Pray for their safety. Refugees are vulnerable and can easily fall prey to many kinds of evil. Pray that refugees will have wisdom and discernment about who or what they can trust.
- Pray for refugee families, as family members are often separated and sometimes even children are separated from their parents for various reasons. Pray that people will take care of refugees and love them during these difficult times. Pray for the comfort and peace that only God can provide.
- Pray for the healing of refugees. Most of us cannot even fathom what they are going through or what they have lost when they had to escape their homes. While we can help to fulfill their daily needs, there is only One who can truly heal their hearts and help them recover from the inside out—the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord to penetrate their souls with His love. Only He can help them recover from what they have been through physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
- Pray for missionaries and volunteers who work with refugees, both overseas and in the United States. Pray for missions personnel as they assist refugees in preparing to leave international locations in order to resettle in our country.
- Pray for the truth of Jesus Christ to come to refugees. More than anything, refugees need the Lord. The best gift we can share with refugees is the gift of salvation.
Many of us are great at praying for ourselves, but let’s pray for our hurting neighbors as well. God commands us to. He will answer.
Learn more about the refugee crisis at wmu.com/refugees.
For additional resources about how to reach refugees with God’s love, visit wmustore.com/refugees
Take this self-guided minicourse, Refugees: The Church’s Response, for an overview of factors that impact refugees and how you can lead your church to respond to the refugee crisis.
This article was written by Marsha Butler and was originally published at wmu.com.