A Call for Prayer
Violence and death are setting the agenda in the world and there is a desperate need for goodness and hope.
I know that our churches, along with many other Christians, are already aware and praying. Nevertheless, I want to make a special call for prayer during our worship services on the coming Sundays.
I call for prayers for a just peace and comfort for the many innocent victims. I encourage you to formulate your own prayers and pray for:
- Israel and the Middle East.
- Nagorno Karabakh and the Armenian Christians fleeing a new genocide.
The situation in the Middle East is complicated, and there are many different views, explanations and perspectives on causes, historical events and not least whom to blame. Often the rhetoric is sharp.
Theological and political beliefs create preconceived opinions and sympathies that tend to predetermine who the offenders and victims are.
Neither side is without blame and responsibility for the deep conflicts that have plagued the region for decades.
What we do know is that the terrorist organization Hamas, which is supported and controlled by Iran, attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip, and that the terrorist organization Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon, while there are even attacks from Syria - so far more than 1,000 Jews, Muslims and Christians have died, and many more are injured,
Israel defends itself against the attacks and aims to neutralize Hamas in the Gaza Strip - so far, more than 800 Muslims and Christians have died, and many more are wounded.
Just over two weeks ago, the long-running conflict between Azerbaijan and the Armenian population in the autonomous exclave of Nagorno-Karabakh culminated when Azerbaijan used military force to force the Armenian autonomy to surrender and take control of the region. The Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is a key piece of the conflict between the small, Christian Armenia and the much larger, Turkish-backed Muslim Azerbaijan.
It seems that one of the world's oldest Christian areas, which has churches dating back to the 4th century, is on the brink of extinction. The 120,000 Armenians are trying to get out, fearing the real danger of ethnic cleansing and genocide, but the only way out is through the Lachin Corridor, which Azerbaijan closed in December 2022, and so far only about 1,000 have escaped.
The war in Ukraine continues unabated, and cities are daily targets of missile and drone strikes, claiming many lives.
More than 6 million people have fled Ukraine and there are more than 5 million internally displaced people in the country. The needs are enormous, the UN estimates that more than 17 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
After 1½ years, there is no immediate prospect of the war ending soon, and it is taking its toll on the population, who live with grief, pain, anxiety and fear on a daily basis.
The United Methodist Church in Ukraine continues to work tirelessly to share the love, comfort, hope and strength of Jesus Christ.
He has told you, human one,
what is good and what the Lord requires from you:
to do justice, embrace faithful love,
and walk humbly with your God.
- may God give us grace to do so.