It has been almost three years since the “refugee crisis” was brought to the attention of the world. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, came like a flood from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe, fleeing war, drought, terrorism and pain. Many Christians responded compassionately, with thousands of people volunteering across Europe to serve the refugees that had left everything behind. Many YWAM workers got involved through serving on the shores of Europe, along the migration route and in destination nations like Germany and Sweden. On the island of Lesvos alone, more than 1,000 YWAMers served in the camp with a combined effort of approximately 20,000 days of work!
While the number of volunteers has decreased, displaced people are still coming and volunteers are still needed to meet practical needs and build relationships with the people in the camps. In most locations, however, refugees no longer live in camps and host nations are faced with the challenge of integrating thousands into their society. Additionally, the media attention has decreased but this does not mean that there are no more refugees or that less people are fleeing. Syria is in its eighth year of conflict. Iraq is struggling for clarity and unity. Afghanistan is still unstable. Meanwhile, refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey, Greece and other nations keep receiving new arrivals. The numbers are not insignificant and there are countless stories to be told.
While the attention has shifted away from this situation, it is wonderful to know that our God never forgets His creation and His promises. In the midst of this turmoil there are countless stories about how He is reaching out to His lost children:
- In Northern Iraq entire families of displaced people became followers of Jesus Christ, as they encountered His all sufficient grace in the midst of loss.
- In Germany, Muslims asked for Bibles in search of the Truth.
- In Sweden the displaced gather in Bible study groups.
- Across Europe, thousands are being baptized.
God is meeting these people in dreams and visions, through the love and compassion of Christians and through His Word. And He is inviting us to partner with Him in this opportunity to reach men, women and children from “closed nations” with the gospel! Let us not miss out on seeing His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 10:17 – 19
Please join with YWAM’s global prayer day, called The Invitation, during the month of May to pray with us. You are particularly invited to pray during our prayer day, May 10. If you only have a few moments to pray, position yourself in hopeful anticipation and pray that refugees will come to know the heart of God.
Listen to the Letter
Additionally, we invite you to join in the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World May 15 – June 14. Download a prayer guide from this website: https://www.pray30days.org/, tell your friends and help your church, your small group and your family participate in this movement.
Join YWAMers around the globe in praying and hearing from God. He is inviting you!
Prepare to Pray:
Consider taking into the prayer time a bag with a few roughly packed items, a sleeping bag, or perhaps a blanket.
Read aloud from Ezekiel 12,4-6: “During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile. While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it. Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign.”
Allow yourself or your group some time to engage your imagination in the plight of the refugee. Place yourself, in your imagination, along the different stages of a refugee’s journey.
After months of trying everything in order to remain in your city, in your home -months of battling every day to ensure safety and provision for your family – you finally decide to risk everything to journey to a foreign land. You pack only what you can carry, leaving several family members behind, not knowing whether you will ever see them again. You give all you have to pay for a dangerous transit, encountering on the way more horrors than you ever imagined. You arrive at your initial destination, carrying grief and pain in your heart, trying to come to terms with squalid housing, limited opportunities and queuing for every necessity. More than this, you feel your displacement keenly, wondering where you belong and what your identity is in the midst of the chaos of the refugee camp. All this brings a longing to your heart, causes you to question the meaning and purpose of your life and whether anything you’ve believed is strong enough to provide an anchor for your sorrowing heart. You hardly dare believe there is anything worth hoping for in this place of disappointment and hardship.
As you seek to identify with this experience, what feelings do you become aware of? How would you describe your needs, physical, emotional and spiritual? What longings are in your heart? Now ask yourself how Father God might feel towards such a person? How might He desire to show His loving kindness and mercy to them?
Hold these feelings, thoughts and imaginations in your heart and mind as you go into prayer, allowing them to become part of your intercession.
Pray for refugees:
- Pray for the gospel to go forth among refugees and for their lives to be restored spiritually, physically and emotionally.
- Pray for discipleship among refugees and displaced people.
- Pray for peace in the Middle East. Pray for sources of conflict to dissolve and safety and wholeness to be restored so families can live and thrive in their homes. In particular, pray for stability in Syria and for the plight of the displaced people in that country. Pray for peace to come so rebuilding can occur.
- Pray for peace in the refugee camps. Refugees live in constant uncertainty, never knowing how long they will be in one place and where they will go next. On the island of Lesvos, for example, some people have been detained for 1.5 years, without knowing if they will ever be allowed access to mainland Europe. The Zaatari camp in Jordan houses 80,000 people. Northern Iraq has around 24 camps of refugees and internally displaced people. Without jobs and good future prospects, residents of these camps, especially young people, get easily bored and frustrated.
- The majority of refugees do not live in camps. Pray for their safety and livelihood, so they are able to build a life for their families in whichever location they are living.
- Pray for the long-term workers in the Middle East and in Europe who continually pour out to serve refugees. Pray for perseverance, hope, courage and joy.
- Pray for more workers to come. Pray they won’t be held back by fear, finances or doubt and come in humility with great vision and love for the people they serve.
- Pray for longevity and commitment beyond the “refugee crisis.” The ultimate goal is not to see people settled in safety, the goal is to see people and nations transformed and discipled! Many YWAM leaders believe it is time to transition from “relief and short-term” efforts to “development/long-term investment/transformation” efforts for ministering to refugees. Pray for effective transition.
- Pray for local citizens to show hospitality to the foreigners in their cities (Hebrews 13:2).
- Pray for God to firmly plant the lost people and that he would give them a heart to know him (Jeremiah 24:6-7).
- Pray for courage and guidance for YWAMers who attended the Refugee Circle Gathering last month in Athens. Pray that all would obey God’s calling and direction.
- Praise God for the doors that he has opened in areas that in the past have been closed to the gospel!
- Praise God for the 1,000+ YWAM volunteers who have worked in the camp in Lesvos, Greece. Pray for continued release of committed volunteers in Lesvos, as well as for provision of clothes, diapers and other resources.
- Pray for YWAM locations in Germany, for solid relationships with refugees and migrants, for wisdom regarding political conflict and for churches and other groups to effectively disciple.
- Pray for stability in Northern Iraq and for workers to respond to the call to go to this area.
- Pray for the Lord to provide funds needed to do His work for refugees.
- Keep praying for the refugees in your nation and worldwide. Hope against hope (Romans 8:18-21).
- Volunteer. Come and spend three weeks or more serving refugees in camps or their new homes. (More information at ywamrefugeecircle.com.)
- Send a team. (More information at ywamrefugeecircle.com.)
- Commit to long-term investment in the Middle East to see these nations restored in truth and righteousness and to prevent further displacement. Seek the Lord to understand what long-term investment He desires of you.
- Participate in a YWAM School of Frontier Missions, School of Evangelism or another of YWAM’s second-level training programs that can equip you. (More information at uofn.edu)
- Donate. Support the YWAM Refugee Circle or different YWAM locations serving refugees (see ywamrefugeecircle.com) or consider supporting individuals or families working in the field.
- Love your neighbor. Ask God to show you the refugee or migrant communities in your neighborhood and how you can come alongside them. Befriend them, assist them in practical ways, share the gospel with them, read the Bible with them, pray for them. Through their lives, their families and nations will be affected as well.
- Share on facebook.com/youthwithamission, post a picture and add a comment about how you prayed.
- Go to twitter.com; search for #praywithywam and tweet about your prayer time/post a picture. You can also post a photo on Instagram and use the same hashtag, #praywithywam.
- Send an email to email@example.com letting us know how you prayed and what God revealed to you.
How We Prayed
April 2018 – YWAM Foundational Values 4 – 6
- YWAM San Jose, Costa Rica noted they had an awesome time of prayer and that students saw visions from God after they prayed through the value of being visionary.
- June 14, 2018 Contemplative
- July 12, 2018 YWAM Foundational Values 7 – 9 (Be Broad-structured and Decentralized, Be International and Interdenominational, Have a Biblical Christian Worldview)
- August 9, 2018 YWAM Together
Don’t Miss The Invitation:
- Sign up for prayer updates. Go to ywam.org, find the “Stay Connected” box on the home page, put in your email address and click “Sign Up.”
- Download prayer updates in a specific language. Go to ywam.org/theinvitation. (Currently available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Indonesian, Korean or request other languages.)
- Join the conversation about how God is leading in these prayer times. Comment on the Facebook page on the second Thursday at facebook.com/youthwithamission or on Twitter @ywam, hashtag #praywithywam. You can also post a photo on Instagram and use the same hashtag, #praywithywam.
- You can now listen to The Invitation as a podcast. To sign up or listen to past episodes, go to: ywampodcast.net/prayer.
- If you sense God giving you a word or a direction for YWAM’s prayer, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.