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Prayers for the refugee crisis

Points for prayer:

An Iraqi family Pray for those who have and are fleeing their homes into an uncertain future.

Pray for Christian Aid partners working in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Pray for Christian Aid’s ACT Alliance partners working in Greece, Hungary and Serbia.

Pray for those in authority to make wise, cooperative and compassionate decisions.

Pray for change and a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria.


'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25, 37-41)


God of all, where are your children?
Let us see God’s children, who are far from home,
adrift in an open, overcrowded boat,
with no compass, no crew, no safety.

God of all, why is there crying?
Let us hear the cries of refugees and respond with love
to those whose escape from danger
leads only to a journey into danger.

God of all, who is praying?
Let us pray for the young lives being lost,
for the families who are broken apart,
asking for comfort and for justice.

God of all, who is answering?
Let us see that you are in the boat,
alongside the members of your family.
May we, who bear your name,
answer with compassion for you.


Merciful God,
We pray for all whose desperation leads them to the sea,
to undertake perilous voyages,
often following dangerous journeys over land:
those escaping brutal wars,
those fleeing religious persecution,
those escaping climate disasters and economic ruin,
those looking for hope in a hopeless situation.
May we look beyond our own fears and concerns
to the needs of those who have nothing,
risk everything
and depend on the kindness of strangers.
May our hearts be opened,
our leaders be challenged
and our self-interest be called out,
in Jesus’ name.

‘Deal with each other justly, do not oppress the refugee, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood. Journey in all the ways I command you, that all may go well with you.’ (Jeremiah 7:6-7)

Lord of the journey,
we ask for your protection on all who have fled their homes.
Give them strength on their journeys and grant that they may
find places of compassion at which to rest.
Ease their fear as they throw in their lot with strangers,
and keep alive their vision of finding a secure and welcoming home.

Sermon notes/reflection

Theology and refugees

Deeply embedded in the faith memory of all Jews and Christians is the command to ‘love the stranger’, and this command comes always with a reminder, that we were once strangers ourselves.

This may not be our own personal experience, but our lives are governed by a story far greater than our own selves.

Our great story begins with Abraham, called by God to leave his homeland in what is now modern-day Iraq and to travel.

Our story continues with the people who left Egypt to escape a tyrant, to journey through a wilderness in search of a promised land.

Our story belongs to Daniel, exiled in Babylon, far from home. Our story is carried by Jesus himself who had nowhere to lay his head.

We are descended from strangers, and we are glad to offer true hospitality and welcome those who come to us as strangers.

We also listen to what Jesus said about welcoming the stranger, in one of his parables. He said that ‘just as you did to one of the least of these... you did it to me’ (Matthew 25:40).

This makes our welcoming of every stranger a ministry to Christ himself. In looking into the face of the stranger we see someone with the dignity and worth of a saviour.

But Christians are also never content to give welcome and emergency help alone. We also always want to ask ‘why?’ Why is anyone suffering, and how can we address the root causes of human need and injustice?

Archbishop Hélder Câmara famously said: ‘When I give food to the poor they call me a saint, when I ask why they are poor they call me a communist.'

Christ summons us to ask why any human being needs refuge, why anyone must travel at such risk, far from home, leaving so much behind.

Christian Aid began its work as Christian Reconstruction in Europe, offering a compassionate response to refugees in Europe after the Second World War.

We have long experience of seeing the connections between the great story of the Christian faith and the needs of the world around us.

The story is older than Christian Aid, and this story can help us face the latest challenge, but also frame a future hope, for a world in which all God’s children shall live in safety and have a home.

We weep now for those who are suffering, we remember the call of Jesus to ‘welcome the stranger’ and we pray for and work for the dawning of a better world, a world where love has no borders or bounds.


Refugee Crisis Appeal

Help support refugee relief in Europe and people in the countries they are fleeing from.

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