The European Union has begun implementing its new migration plan in response to the current refugee crisis. The plan requires Greece to begin relocating asylum seekers to Turkey on April 4. However, since more than 50,000 asylum seekers are currently in Greece, there is little confidence that the plan could deliver practical or humane results. Asylum seekers arriving after March 20 are being held in makeshift camps of concrete and razor-wire fencing. Humanitarian groups, such as Doctors Without Borders, have pulled out of these refugee camps because they do not want to support camps that are “morally untenable.”
God, we continue to lift in prayer desperate migrants longing for safety. We pray for those now stuck in these functional prisons. We lift in prayer European leaders — may they find humane and practical ways to deal with the refugee crisis. And even as we pray for countries, leaders, and faraway communities to be more hospitable, we also remember that the opportunity to welcome the stranger is always close by. Create in us hearts and habits of hospitality.
Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen Conflict
The current conflict in Yemen has taken a severe toll on the country’s children. The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reports that about 320,000 children are at risk of severe malnutrition, while 82 percent of the Yemeni population is in dire need of humanitarian aid. The violence in Yemen escalated more than a year ago, after Saudi Arabia and its Arab coalition became involved in Yemen’s civil war. In the past year, this conflict has killed an average of six children every day.
God, protect the children of Yemen. Bring food, medical supplies, and humanitarian aid to those in such dire need — all created in your image and with inherent dignity, and whom you love. We pray for an end to the conflict in Yemen, and for all who are most vulnerable in times of such conflict — the ill, the elderly, people with disabilities, women, and children. Come quickly, Lord.
Iraq and Pakistan Attacks
Two attacks occurred in Iraq last week, both claimed by the Islamic State. The first attack took place last Friday at an amateur football game: a suicide bombing killed at least 30 people and wounded around 90 south of Baghdad. On Tuesday a suicide bombing killed at least seven people and wounded around 27 in central Baghdad near a sit-in demanding political reforms. Then in Pakistan on Sunday a suicide bombing killed over 70 people in Lahore. The group Jamaat-e-Ahrar, which split from the Taliban two years ago, claimed responsibility for the attack and stated that it was targeting Christians worshiping on Easter.
For all the people killed in these acts of terrorism this week, we lift our hearts and voices to you, Lord. We pray for all who are grieving, who are living in fear, and who are trying to rebuild, and we ask for a change of heart among all who are planning more attacks. You are Lord of this world — and we pray that your kingdom will come. We pray in solidarity with our Christian family in Pakistan targeted by this brutal violence. May they be comforted.
It has been such a violent couple of weeks — attacks, bombings, shootings, displacement, and crises seem to be everywhere. God, may your peace prevail. May we be doers, makers, practitioners of your peace. Amen.