Last week, Turkey’s shores received the body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi minutes after a boat carried him into the Mediterranean. He left with hope of finding safety, security and reunion with his father. Instead, Aylan became one of the 11,493 children — at least 232 of whom were also three years old — killed as a result of the Syrian Civil War. Because a photographer was nearby, Aylan will never be forgotten.
Nor will we forget the reports of systemic rape and sexual slavery of women across Syria and Iraq. The so-called Islamic State continues to wreak havoc in the region, its campaign of terror emanating from Raqqa, Syria, its de facto capital.
The world is presented with the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Nearly 8 million Syrians have been internally displaced, and nearly 4 million Syrians have fled the country in search of safety.
As Christians, we know that we must respond.
Jesus tells us that if we are to fulfill the second greatest commandment — to love our neighbors as ourselves — we must show them mercy (Luke 10:32). Jesus also warns that those who exhibit saving faith must feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, come to the prisoners (Matthew 25:35–26). If we are in Christ, all of our own stories are marked by the fact that Jesus showed us mercy, too, when we were in great need, when we were hopeless, when we had no future.
And so we want to help. And yet, the situation in Syria is paralyzingly complex. We don’t know what to do. We’re afraid to act because we are unsure of the long-term consequences. We don’t know which organizations to trust.
Here are some simple ways that you can respond:
Jesus tells us that if we knock, the door will be opened, that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, mountains can be moved. C.H. Spurgeon famously said that prayer is “the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence.” Let us not believe that our prayers are too small a response to this crisis!
Here are some things to pray for:
- Pray for a movement of the gospel among the Syrian refugee community.
- Pray for the hundreds of Aylans that will leave the shores of the Middle East in the coming days, weeks and months. Pray for their safety and protection.
- Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ that are working to care for the refugee communities around them.
- Pray that God would open your eyes to ways that you can help ease the pain of those impacted by this conflict.
For additional prayer resources, we encourage you to connect with thesyriancircle.com/pray.
We know that it’s hard to know which organizations you can rely on and trust. Here is what SBC organizations are doing:
Baptist Global Response: In Syria, BGR is distributing food and hygiene items, blankets and medicine to 2500 to 4000 refugee families as well as diapers and formula for families with young children.
Global Hunger Relief: 100% of any donation goes directly to meet hunger needs because of the partnership with the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, and Baptist Global Response. Text “refugee” to 80888 to donate $10 for Syrian refugees
ERLC Middle East Office: Support the ERLC Middle East Office’s efforts to equip and mobilize pastors, leaders and churches to advocate for Syrian refugees.