Mark Twain once famously said, “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” One could say the same about Christianity in Iraq.
Only a few months back experts were wondering if ISIS would succeed in obliterating any Christian presence in the country, but as ISIS has been largely defeated Christians are streaming back to their homes. Many of these returning refugees are coming back to a completely destroyed homeland, and as they attempt to rebuild need the continued prayers of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Here then are 5 important ways we can pray for the church in Iraq.
1. PRAY FOR THE KURDISH/IRAQI TENSIONS
On Sept. 25 citizens of the Kurdish region of Iraq overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence from Iraq. There is a long and complicated history at play here, but the most important aspect for Iraqi Christians is the potential instability this creates. Both for the country itself and the region as a whole, Iraq needs a time of rest, rebuilding and relative political stability. While the Kurdish people may have a valid desire to separate, any instability right now feels threatening to the Iraqi Christians depending on the government to protect them.
Pray that whatever happens in Iraq, that God would provide a stable governmental system that can effectively take care of the Christians living there.
2. PRAY FOR THE SCHOOLS
Schools in regions like the Nineveh Plains are starting again this week, many in recently liberated areas. Pray that God would provide these schools with infrastructure, resources, and stability and that the children would be able to quickly enter into a stable routine that provides a sense of security and hope.
3. PRAY FOR THOSE RETURNING
There are numerous individual stories of Christians returning to their homeland under trying circumstances. Pray for 12-year-old Noeh who recently returned to his village Karamles with his family. They are temporarily living in the house of his aunt who emigrated. They are happy to be back, though the electricity and water supply isn’t always working. Pray for 7-year-old Salina, who also returned to her village with her family. She misses her friends in Erbil and finds it hard to adjust to life back in her own village.
4. PRAY FOR MUSLIM/CHRISTIAN RELATIONS
Recently a Muslim man who came to Archbishop Yohanna Petros Mouche and offered to finance the rebuilding of a destroyed church. Thank God for the Muslims and Christians who are willing to work together towards peace. However, many Christians are living in fear of their Muslims neighbors, wondering if there would be another extremist Muslim uprising against them. Additionally, the government is not always quick to protect Christian communities as quickly as they do Muslim communities.
Pray that God would bring unity between the two groups and that God would use Christians to be a light to their Muslim neighbors.
5. PRAY FOR AREAS STILL EXPERIENCING VIOLENCE
In Baghdad, violence is continuing, and recently, a bomb attack killed 12 people. The Church in Baghdad is shrinking as Christians flee the area. Pray for those who aren’t able to leave or don’t want to leave, and for the priests and leaders in the area. Pray that the Christian community will be a light in the darkness and that God would protect his church.
We are calling upon the Trump administration—as well as the United Nations—to take an active role in supporting our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.
Make your voice count. Please sign the petition today!