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The enormity of the threats facing Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq can lead us to question if there is anything that we can do to help. Whilst we may be dealing with a problem that will take generations to truly resolve, that does not excuse us from doing what we can with the influence that we have today.
How can you help?
Prayer changes things. If you feel you lack the faith to pray for something as large as change in the Middle East, reflect on the words of the Roman Centurion "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). James 5:16 says that "the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective, Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops".
If we want to see an end to the genocide in Syria and & Iraq we have to begin with prayer. It is also worth reflecting on the fact that often the persecuted church does not only request prayer that they might be relieved of their suffering, but that they would also remain faithful even in their suffering. This page from Release International has some good points for how to pray for Christians suffering persecution.
With more than 10 million people displaced across Syria & Iraq there are real practical needs that must be met for people to survive. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) shows us that to offer prayer alone is not all that God wants of us. We have to be concerned for the physical needs of those in distress, whether they are of the same faith as us or not. Many charities are fundraising to supply the needs of those in Syria and Iraq, including Christian Aid, find out more here.
3) Speak up
Proverbs 31:8 says that we should "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute." Living in a democracy we have the privilege of being able to influence our elected representatives. Premier has launched the Stop the Genocide Campaign to pressure the UK Government and the United Nations to accept that what is happening in Syria and Iraq is genocide. If we can achieve this aim then all 127 signatories to the UN convention on genocide will have a legal responsibility to protect the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice. To support the campaign click here.