OSJ Prayers

Prayers for the Syrian Refugee Crisis

If you’re struggling to know what to say, and how to say it, when addressing the Syrian refugee crisis during Sunday worship, or in personal prayer, consider using this summary and prayer.

The civil war in Syria began in 2011 following pro-democracy protests, and the conflict has expanded to include ISIS in addition to government and rebel forces. The conflict has resulted in over 200,000 dead; over 11 million in need of humanitarian assistance; over 6.5 million internally displaced; and over 4 million refugees, half of whom are children. Children affected by the Syrian conflict are in danger of becoming ill, malnourished, separated from their families, abused, or exploited. Millions are unable to attend school.

Around 2,500 Syrian refugees have died this summer trying to reach Europe by sea. The recently publicized photo of a drowned Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi, has moved countries in Europe and around the world to recognize the immense loss of human life and the great suffering that has been occurring within the Syrian refugee population. Many states are beginning to accept greater numbers of Syrian refugees as a result.

O God, our help in ages past,
it was you who led the Israelites through the wilderness,
a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.
We pray that you will guide the vulnerable and desperate migrants
who today search out new hope and new life.
As they search for a way out,
as they board ships and trucks and cross fences,
as they carry children and walk for miles,
protect them, Lord.

Our hope for years to come,
you created all people to flourish
to live in safety, to find meaning, to experience love, to seek after you.
We pray for those who have lost hope, safety, love, and faith.
We pray for parents whose children have been lost or have died.
We pray for children who are going without food, water, and safety.
We pray for communities abandoned and for communities overwhelmed.
Oh God, bring miraculous and life-giving hope.

Our shelter from the stormy blast,
you are the one who brings peace.
You are our mother hen, protecting us under your wings.
We pray for an end to the tyranny of ISIS and to the violence in Syria.
Protect those who haven’t yet found a way to leave.
We pray for the hearts of those who are intent to kill.
We pray for the eyes of the world to turn toward this war.
Give wisdom to the leaders who must choose how to facilitate peace.

Our eternal home,
in you we find life and providence,
for this life and for the next.
For those who have lost everything, we pray you will rebuild their lives.
For those desperate for a new home, open the doors to safer places.
For those longing for the basic necessities of life, restore their material goods.
For those whose communities and families have been ripped apart, strengthen new bonds of friendship.
And for the church, near and far, which worships in safety today — inspire us to welcome the stranger.
Help us to discern how to reach out to refugees in acts of mercy and how to help them seek justice for long-term hope.


September 9, 2015


Photo credit: Flickr user Freedom House

Looking for a way to actively support Syrian refugees?
Click on our Action Alert and find out how you can advocate for Syrian refugees. You can contact President Obama or your Canadian electoral candidate and urge them to accept more Syrian refugees.