This month, YWAM invites you to pray about the global refugee situation. Please join us as we pray for people who have had to leave their homes because of war, persecution, natural disaster, famine, or lack of jobs. We will also pray for those that are impacted by refugee movements: government leaders, families that are left behind, local residents, and YWAM workers who are ministering to refugees all over the world.
Many statistics about refugees show the tremendous needs for prayer. According to the United Nations, there have been record numbers of displaced people and refugees in recent years, over 60 million estimated in total. Those that flee across international borders are known as refugees (estimated to be over 16 million), while those that flee but stay in-country are known as internally displaced persons. Statistics reported by the New York Times give an insight into the lives of refugees:
- Approximately half of the refugees are children. A very high percentage of these people are unaccompanied minors: 90% of the migrant children who have recently arrived in Europe via Italy were unaccompanied minors. Over 7,000 unaccompanied minors crossed from North Africa into Italy in the first 5 months of 2016.
- More than one million refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea last year.
- Last year there was a record 5,400 deaths of migrants attempting to cross borders and already in 2016 there are more than 3,000 dead.
- Tens of thousands of people are in limbo living in squalid camps in border towns.
As YWAMers and other Christians attempt to care for the practical needs of refugees, they are also seeing a time of great harvest of people coming to Christ. One YWAM worker at a refugee camp in Greece worked to give out food and clothing and noticed an absence of public Islamic prayer in the camp. Over tea with a group of men, he asked about this. One man said, “For us, religion is finished. We want to have the freedom to choose like in the West.”
The YWAM worker said in general he has noticed an unusual openness to talk about faith and Jesus. He said, “It is very easy to share your faith in the camp. There is a desperate need for any kind of hope and talking about the peace that Jesus has given us often brings a spark of hope in their eyes.”
Lynn Green, one of YWAM’s leaders, reported, “There has never been a time of greater harvest. Time and again over recent decades, we have said ‘the nations are coming to us,’ but it has never been so overwhelmingly true. Will God’s people be swept up in the fear and protectionism, or will we reach out to reap the harvest?”
Please pray with us for God’s comfort for refugees and for God’s purposes to prevail.
Pray for Refugees
As you prepare to pray, watch this short video created by World Vision about praying for refugees:
Also, for more insight into the lives of refugees, watch this video created by the documentary filmmaking school in YWAM Harpenden, England called “Sunday in the Calais Jungle.” It tells the refugee story of a camp in Calais, France called “The Jungle.” It is home to more than 7,000 refugees:
We invite you to pray on July 14, the prayer day for YWAM’s The Invitation, or pick a time that works best for you or your group. Here are some suggestions for how to pray for the needs of refugees:
- Pray for refugees that are traveling with risky health situations: pregnant mothers, women who have just delivered, day-old babies and others who are travelling who are sick or weak.
- Pray for safety and protection from smugglers who often steal passports and other items from refugees.
- Pray for greater freedom in the home countries of refugees so they don’t have to flee and so they can choose whom they will worship.
- Pray for refugees who are lonely and for their families left behind.
- Pray for government leaders to find workable solutions to refugee issues associated with displacement, transition, etc.
- Pray for the hearts of residents in areas where there are refugee camps to be accepting, especially of the children in need of schooling and medical services. Refugees are often misunderstood. Pray for God’s people to be non-judgmental and to hear their stories.
Pray for YWAM workers and YWAM locations and their work with refugees:
- Praise God for the many YWAM teams that have responded to the needs of refugees. Pray for YWAMers to be led by the Spirit so that God’s purposes will prevail.
- Pray for God’s love to break down walls as the good news is preached.
- Pray for more teams to be sent. Pray for workers for long-term ministry opportunities such as with unaccompanied minors.
- YWAM Ireland is teaching Iraqi, Syrian and Palestinian refugees about forgiveness. Pray for open hearts and changed lives.
- YWAM Perth, Australia provides counseling on a Facebook page for many Syrians suffering trauma, loss, grief and other issues. Pray for impact in the lives of people who view the material on this page, and pray for more Arabic-speaking staff to work in this ministry.
- YWAM Middle East runs a school for Syrian refugee children in a neighborhood where they are not welcome. Pray for peace and comfort for these children and praise God that the children are responding to the loving instruction they are receiving from YWAMers.
- YWAMers in Lesbos, Greece have been given significant responsibility by local leaders over entire refugee compounds. Pray for wisdom as they care for unaccompanied children and families. Praise God for open doors, healing and salvation in the midst of chaos and brokenness.
- Several YWAM locations in Germany are serving refugees. One location is providing a home for teenage refugee boys who have nowhere else to stay, teaching German classes, providing social activities and taking the boys to church. Pray for wisdom for these young men.
- YWAM Sicily provides clothing and a discipleship program for refugees coming to their city, many of whom are from Africa. Pray for God to lead them.
- YWAM Dalarna, Sweden has begun discipling Afghans who have shown an interest in the gospel. Pray for good relationships.
- YWAM Calais, France ministers to Sudanese refugees from the Darfur area. Pray for continued favor with the local leaders and that these leaders would have changed lives due to a new faith in God.
- YWAM Pittsburgh has purchased a building to help them reach out to some of the 20,000 refugees in their city. Pray for them and watch this video to see their refugee ministry:
- Connect with YWAM Refugee Circle and subscribe to receive latest news through email.
- Follow YWAM Refugee Circle on Facebook
- Learn how to send a team to work with refugees
- Make a donation to YWAM’s refugee work (pick “Refugee Crisis” from the list).
- Consider participating in one of the short-term or long-term opportunities on this refugee ministry list (includes a map).
- Research about how you can help refugees where you are locally. Contact churches and aid organizations. Find out where new refugees can be found in your area. Greet them with a welcome basket. Become a friend to a refugee. Adopt a family to help.
- Attend YWAM’s Greece Refugee Outreach December 28 – January 18.
- Read the book Serving God in a Migrant Crisis by Dean Merrill and Patrick Johnstone.
- Share on YWAM’s Facebook page, post a picture and add a comment about how you prayed.
- Go to YWAM on Twitter, search for #praywithywam and tweet about your prayer time or post a picture.
How We Prayed
In June, we participated in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World:
- YWAM Dunham, Quebec spent time searching their own hearts and repenting about how they have condemned Muslims in the past. They have chosen to love Muslims.
- YWAM Seamill, Scotland prayed for the Muslim world throughout Ramadan. One day they prayed for 76,000 Muslims in Scotland.
- YWAM Kings Kids, Brazil committed to pray for the Muslim world.
- YWAM Uruguay committed to pray each day in their devotionals and schools. They are also promoting 30 Days of Prayer for Muslims to churches in Uruguay and they planned a celebration and time of intercession toward the end of Ramadan.
Don’t Miss The Invitation
Upcoming topics for The Invitation:
- August 11 – Universities
- September 8 – A Year of Answered Prayer
Don’t miss The Invitation:
- Sign up for prayer updates. On ywam.org, find the “Stay Connected” box on the home page, put in your email address and click “Sign Up.”
- Download prayer updates in a specific language. Go to ywam.org/theinvitation. (Currently available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Indonesian, Korean or request other languages.)
- If you sense God giving you a word or a direction for YWAM’s prayer, please contact us.