There are two significant dates marked in our calendar for this coming week: Sunday is of course Father’s Day, but you may not know that Monday is the start of Refugee Week, when we’ll be focusing our thoughts and prayers on the plight of those who have been forced from their countries by persecution and conflict.
It is important to recognise that Father’s Day for some is not a day for celebration, but rather for sadness. This is particularly the case for refugees, many of whom have lost members of their family or have been separated from them. We remember them in our prayers.
A perilous journey
No father should have to take his family away from their home, but this is the reality for people like Khalid. When fierce fighting broke out in his home town of Idlib, Syria, Khalid gathered up his wife and two children and fled, fearing for their lives.
The family just managed to escape into Turkey unharmed. But for many refugees, escaping is just the beginning of their hardships. Khalid had to spend all the money that he had on getting his family from Turkey to Greece – itself a perilous journey across the sea.
The family arrived at the Greek island of Chios with no food, no money and no hope. At Tearfund, we follow Jesus where the need is greatest, and our local Christian partners were there on Chios, giving vital support to people like Khalid and his family.
‘I just want a life for my family’
When we met with Khalid, he took us away from his family to talk in broken English about what they’d been through. He didn’t want his family to see him as he started to break down, recollecting some of the awful things they had experienced. ‘I just want a life for my family,’ he said.
Our partners have provided food and hygiene kits for Khalid and his family. He was delighted with what he received, but his appreciation was for more than just physical things. He appreciated most the sentiment behind what he had been given – that people actually cared.
We will never stop caring for refugees like Khalid and his family. Let us all continue to pour out our prayers on their behalf.
A prayer for Father’s Day
Our Father in Heaven,
Our Father who is with us here on earth,
Our Father whose love for us is wider than the universe,
Our Father who accepts us exactly as we are,
Our Father who will never leave us nor forsake us,
Our Father who sent His only Son to die for us –
Thank you for your love and for the love of all fathers.
We pray for your blessing upon every father on earth.
We ask, Lord, for your comfort and care for those who,
for whatever reason, are not able to celebrate this day.
We lift up fathers like Khalid, who have seen
their families experience great hardship;
we ask that you give them your strength and provision.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
We pray because we're desperate for God - to walk with him... in step with his will for the world.
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