‘Continue to remember … those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.’ (Hebrews 13:3)
Our hearts are breaking at the atrocities taking place in Iraq. In the last two months a staggering 850,000 people have fled their homes in terror as Islamic State (IS) fighters have swept across the north of the country. An estimated 10,000 people have lost their lives, most of whom are civilians.
Religious and ethnic minority groups, such as Yazidis, Christians and Turkmen, have been particularly targeted, and many have been subjected to unspeakable brutalities. It’s estimated that a quarter of Iraq’s Christians have now fled, threatened by IS at best with fines, at worst with forced conversion or death.
Thousands of Iraqis, mainly from the Yazidi community, are currently trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq by IS fighters after facing similar threats. They are in desperate need of food, water and medical care, and symbolise the plight of so many more Iraqis who are the innocent victims of this crisis.
We know that God is a God of love, compassion, power and justice, who is ‘mighty to save’ (Isaiah 63:1). As we struggle to find words to respond in the face of such horror, remember Paul’s words in Romans: ‘We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’ (Romans 8:26).
- Ask God to stop the hand of those set on violence, bloodshed and intimidation in Iraq. Pray for a lasting peace to be established where all people groups will be accepted and protected.
- Pray for all those who have fled their homes and are living in fear and uncertainty.
- Ask God to keep them safe, provide for their needs and pour out his comfort and healing on all who are grieving.
- Thank God that thousands of Yazidis were able to escape from Mount Sinjar at the weekend, aided by Kurdish forces, and pray for protection, provision and a rapid rescue for those who remain.
- Give thanks for the aid that has already been delivered, and pray that more supplies will arrive safely and reach the most vulnerable.
- Lift up leaders in Iraq and around the world, praying that God will give them wisdom as they seek a solution to the crisis.
The situation in Iraq is so bad that Tearfund has launched an emergency appeal in order to respond. Please prayerfully consider whether you can support this fund. You can find details about how to give and prayer here.
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