A Prayer for Refugees

When I read the first line of Psalm 7, “O Lord my God, in you I take refuge,” I thought of refugees.

Refugees are people who need refuge.

While studying Psalm 7 I learned about 50 refugees from Venezuela being flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew seven families from San Antonio to Florida and then on to Massachusetts.

The migrant and refugee problem is a world-class problem with millions of humans caught in the fray.

There are many opinions about the migrant and refugee problem. My blog won’t solve the problem, but I hope to inspire readers of my blog to pray for the millions who suffer as refugees.

Facts and Figures

— There are 26 million refugees globally

— Half of the world’s refugees are children

— 85% of refugees are being hosted in developing countries

In 2019, more than two-thirds of all refugees came from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.

Syria has been the main country of origin for refugees since 2014, and at the end of 2019, there were 6.6 million Syrian refugees.

The war in Ukraine has caused the second largest number of refugees.

It is worth noting that Russia is involved in the wars in Syria and Ukraine.

Venezuela has produced the third largest number of refugees with 3.7 million displaced people.

Violence, insecurity, persecution, and shortages of food, medicine, and other basics, have prompted Venezuelans to leave their country.

Venezuelans were the people flown to Martha’s Vineyard this week. Columbia, not the United States, has received the largest number of refugees, as they have settled 1.7 million humans in their country.

Each Statistics Represents An Individual

A 14-year-old girl and her teenage brother are two of the 3.7 million refugees from Venezuela.

They walked 600 miles from Venezuela to Peru to escape the dangers of their home country.

Our daughter Emily teaches English as a Second Language to immigrants. One of her students has spent the majority of her 20-plus years living under a blue tarp in an African refugee settlement.

Please Choose a Nation and Pray

Concern USA (https://www.concernusa.org/) lists the Top Ten producers of refugees.

I have included their list as it is recorded on their website. I do not know why they haven’t included Venezuela, which has produced 3.7 million refugees. Please consider the refugees from Venezuela in your prayers.

Below are the Top Ten nations that contribute to the refugee crisis.

— Eritrea – More than 10% of the population of Eritrea — over 492,000 — now live as refugees due to social and political instability and violence.

— Central African Republic – Bouts of sectarian violence have displaced over 1 million people. As of December 2021, that includes over 713,000 refugees — an increase of over 100,000 compared to 2020.

— Somalia – At the end of 2020, there are an estimated 790,000 refugees. The source is conflict, lack of rain, and crop failures.

— Sudan – While Sudan is the fifth largest country of asylum for refugees (including the largest population of refugees from South Sudan), it’s also a country that produces refugees — over 805,000 as of December 2021 due to conflict and food insecurity.

— Democratic Republic of Congo – Over 864,000 Congolese refugees were recorded in 2021. This does not include over 4.5 million Congolese displaced within their own country due to violence.

Amid all of this, the DRC is also a large host community for refugees from neighboring countries.

— The Rohingya Crisis – Since August 25, 2017, over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees have fled ongoing violence in Myanmar. Many of the stateless Rohingya have wound up in what is known as the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

— South Sudan – Since December 2013, conflict in South Sudan has driven nearly 4 million people from their homes — with more than half being forced to leave the country entirely.

Approximately 2.6 million South Sudanese live in host communities abroad, including areas of Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the DRC.

— Afghanistan – Roughly 2.6 million Afghans are refugees. More than 88% of Afghan refugees are hosted in neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

— Ukraine – The war in Ukraine has made the country the second-largest country of origin for the global refugee population.

As of April 25, 2022, over 5.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country, with nearly 3 million taking shelter just across the border in Poland.

— Syria – Over 25% of the total global refugee population comes from the 10-year Syrian war.

As of 2021, 6.7 million Syrians have sought refuge, primarily in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey (which is currently the largest host community for refugees).

Prayer for Refugees – Psalm 7

1-2 – O Lord my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me,
Or like a lion they will tear me apart;
they will drag me away, with no one to rescue.

People primarily seek refuge, because they live in an environment that is hazardous to their health.

Think of two teenagers who walked 600 miles from Venezuela to Peru to find safety. If the threat were not real, they would not take such a profound risk.

Put the psalm’s prayer for rescue, deliverance, and safety into your own words and intercede for the country you have chosen.

3 O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,

4 if I have repaid my ally with harm
or plundered my foe without cause,

5 then let the enemy pursue and overtake me,
trample my life to the ground,
and lay my soul in the dust. Selah

8 The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.

The claim of innocence is relative. That “all have sinned” (Romans 3.23) is the truth of the human condition.

At the same time, multitudes of refugees are innocent and are in desperate need of God’s justice.

As you intercede for the nation you have chosen, ask God to intervene and bring justice to the suffering.

Paraphrase the fourth Beatitude (Matthew 5.6), “Lord, please bless those who hunger and thirst for justice. Please satisfy their longing.”

9 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God.

10 God is my shield,
who saves the upright in heart.

Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6.13).

When we intercede for the refugees in the country of our choice, we are praying according to God’s will.

We can ask God to establish righteousness and bring an end to the wickedness that is the root of the refugee crisis.

Let’s ask God to be a shield and protector of the many who are escaping life-threatening situations.

17 I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness
and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Conclude your time of intercession with thanksgiving that the “Judge of all the earth will do what is just” (Genesis 18.25).

The world’s refugee crisis fits Psalm 7. Tomorrow, we will study Psalm 8 and a different topic.

Please don’t stop interceding for the country you have chosen. Include them in your daily prayers.

Videos Will Resume Soon

The videos that Rudy Ross and I produce will resume next week when Toni and I return from California.

Rudy and I are studying 1 Thessalonians. I hope you will join us when we resume that study.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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