How to Pray for Refugees During Times of War and Crisis

Current Events, Devotion, Missions, Pastor's Life

Did you know that the number of refugees around the world has doubled in the past 10 years?

In fact, there are more refugees in the world today than at any other point in history, surpassing the 100 million mark in 2022.

The reasons these families have been driven from their homes differ — Ukrainian families have become homeless because of a brutal war, people from Afghanistan are running from the Taliban, and others have been driven away because of natural disasters, famine, or persecution.

Still, their greatest needs are the same — they need essentials like food and shelter to survive, they need to know they are loved and not forgotten, and they especially need our prayers.

But how do you even begin to pray for refugees during times of war and crisis? It can all seem so overwhelming.

Over the past year and a half, I have had the opportunity to travel to Ukraine and the surrounding countries and ask refugees what their biggest needs were. Hearing their answers to this question and personal experiences has given me perspective on how we can pray for them. 

Here are four ways you can pray for refugees around the world:

1. Pray for healing, both physical and psychological

Refugees who have escaped from war or disasters have lived through unspeakable horrors. Although they survived, not a single one has come away unscathed. They either face physical injuries or deep psychological trauma that will affect them for years to come. Pray that God will heal these men, women, and children who have seen and experienced things we can’t even imagine.

2. Pray that the world and especially the Church will not forget refugees

When a major crisis first happens, it seems like the whole world jumps in to help. But a few months later when it’s no longer in the news, that help begins to dry up. Meanwhile, displaced families’ needs are still as great as ever. They still need food. They still need water. They still need medical care. One of the most common requests I heard while I was in Ukraine was simply “Don’t forget us.” Refugees need to know that God sees them, that we see them, and that we will do what we can to help meet their needs.

3. Pray for small miracles every day and for people to help make them possible

One ministry leader in Ukraine described his reason for helping refugees like this: “We strongly believe God is going to perform a miracle in Ukraine, but until that happens, we want to allow God to use us to do small miracles for refugees every day.” Churches and ministries in countries facing refugee crises have a unique opportunity to show the love of Christ to people in their time of greatest need. And we, as the global church, have the opportunity to ask ourselves, “What small miracle can we be a part of today?” The answer is: prayer. We can be praying that God will open doors for these brothers and sisters to help as many people as possible and point them to Jesus. We can pray that when families receive aid like food and clean water, that they will also see Christ’s love reflected in those meeting their physical needs.

4. Pray for peace

This is the big one — that major miracle that we’re believing and trusting that God will perform. And while we know that total peace will only be achieved once Christ returns, we can still pray for wars to cease. We can pray still pray for countries to recover from disasters. We can still pray for famines and droughts to end. Because as Jesus said in Mark 19:26, “With God, all things are possible.” There is nothing that God can’t handle.

Yes, the global refugee crisis is huge. It’s overwhelming. But our God is greater, and your prayers are powerful.

Noel Brewer Yeatts is the president of World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization serving the physical and spiritual needs of people around the globe.

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