Praying for the Masses: Do I see refugees with Jesus’ eyes?

She came across the border with only the clothes on her back and several small children. Her husband had remained behind to fight ISIS and protect what was left of their home. At least, she hoped he was still there protecting their home, because she had not heard from him in over a year. Now she sat across from me at our English as a second language class looking tired and confused. How could I explain the basics of our lesson without knowing her language? How would I ever reach her with the gospel?

Could this woman have been one of the thousands of refugees crossing into Europe? When I watched them on TV, my thoughts were not so wholesome or Christian. You know the saying “Can’t see the trees for the forest”? Sometimes we can’t see the refugees for the media. Our views and eyes lose focus when we look at things through the lens of this world and not through the eyes of the Spirit.

Then I remember my Example: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36). Jesus had the ability to look at the crowds and see the individuals. How can we do the same as we pray for the refugees in our midst?

First, turn off the television and read what God’s Word says about the refugee. Start with some of the following passages—Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:9–10, 33–34; Deuteronomy 10:18–19; 1 Kings 8:41–43; Job 31:32; Malachi 3:5; Matthew 25:31–36; Luke 10:29-37; Galatians 5:14; and Hebrews 13:2.

Visit a local ministry location that reaches refugees. Observe what they are doing. Tell them you want to be able to pray more effectively for the refugees they are serving.

Meet a refugee and ask that person to share his or her story of coming to the United States.

Prayerwalk in apartment complexes where refugees are resettled. Include in your prayers for refugees what you discover personally about their needs. However, in general ask the Lord to

  • ease the trauma of their past experiences (death of family members, rape, loss of children’s innocence, loss of property, war trauma, and violence);
  • provide rest caused by the sleep deprivation due to the traumatizing events they’ve gone through;
  • bring them into contact with loving, caring Christians who can help them adjust to their new home, learn the language, be a friend, and share Christ;
  • supply work for their family members; and
  • soften their hearts to the gospel message, that they might be willing to forsake all to follow Christ.

As you pray for the individual, be prepared for the Lord to call you to be His hands, His voice, and His comfort to the refugees around you, that you may guide them to the Good Shepherd Who longs to call them His own.

Carol Ghattas, or Um Daoud, is an author, speaker, and blogger (lifeinexile.net). She and her late husband, Raouf, served over 20 years among Muslims in the Middle East and then came back to start the Arabic Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. You can contact her at rcghattas@comcast.net.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appears as part of the My Refugee Response series in Missions Mosaic (November 2017).

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