A Christian marriage in Palestine
A formal visit by his parents to the young man’s choice of a bride initiates the process of arranging a marriage between couples living in the West Bank. After the girl serves coffee, eye contact between the boy and his father communicates the boy’s final decision and determines whether there will be a polite “thank you” for the coffee or whether his father will ask the girl’s father if he agrees to a wedding.
So it has been for generations. But today there are obstacles for Christian young people who seek marriage. Priests in the Greek Orthodox Church, where many West Bank Christians worship, report that numerous Christian young people are leaving the country to the point that they fear the eventual disappearance of Christians there altogether. For those who remain, it is difficult to find a husband or wife. In addition, many communities do not have a priest, so priests from neighboring areas must be paid to perform marriages, as well as baptisms and funerals.
As the adults continue to age and the young people continue to flee, the future of the church in the West Bank is uncertain. Also threatening the church are the ongoing politics that jeopardize the region. The West Bank, part of the Palestine Territories, is ranked #44 on the 2011 Open Doors World Watch List of the countries in the world where the persecution of Christians is most severe.
Father, You have established Your church in the West Bank, in the midst of continuing persecution. We pray that You will lead the young people to remain, and help them to find Christian partners with whom to enter into marriage. We pray that Your Holy Spirit will stir up the church that remains; that they will be a bright light of truth in the midst of darkness, and that You will bring increase to their numbers with many coming to saving faith. Amen
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