Celebrating the Birth of the ‘Prince of Peace’ in Violent Times
I’ve been pondering THIS ARTICLE for several days- very thoughtful and prayer-provoking re: peace…And how about this quote: “What does it mean for Jesus to be a Prince of Peace, and what does it mean for me to be an agent of that peace?”
Take the prayer challenge and send to a friend: Praying for Peace in 2016 #prayfortheworld
In the last five days of 2015, join us in prayer each day for one of the top five conflict areas in the world.
Syria was the most violent place in the world in 2015. Since war broke out over four years ago, over 220,000 men, women, and children have lost their lives in a complex war that pits multiple warring groups and the government against each other. Many of the world’s armed forces are dropping bombs across the nation, bringing grand matters of geopolitics into the local struggle and displacing millions of civilians within Syria and across its borders. Millions have sought refuge in camps in neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan. Hundreds of thousands of other refugees have traveled farther afield including to Europe, seeking peace. Christians are persecuted and people of all faiths are being targeted by violent extremists.
Pray for God to protect innocent civilians from senseless violence; pray for God to bless diplomats, security personnel, and other leaders to find effective and just international action to resolve the war; pray that the global Church would understand clearly how to respond to the naked, hungry and poor within Syria and the countries to which they have fled; and ask God to end this merciless and lethal war.
- South Sudan
As the brand-new country struggles with a second year of horrific civil war, parts of South Sudan are experiencing severe famine. This predominantly Christian nation split from predominantly Muslim Sudan in a popular referendum in 2011. But the new nation descended into internal turmoil after only a few years of independence. In December 2013, two former allies (President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar) sparked a civil war along ethnic, religious, and political lines. A tentative, internationally-enforced peace agreement was signed in August of this year. 50,000-100,000 people have been killed, half a million are displaced, and tens of thousands of children remain at serious risk of famine.
Pray for God to reconcile South Sudan’s leaders; pray for God to embolden the Church of South Sudan to seek and pursue peace and for God to mobilize the global Church to support them; and pray for vulnerable children, civilians, and all the humanitarian workers and security personnel helping them.
Since the military overthrow in 1991, Somalia has experienced cycles of conflict and failed government attempts. Ravaged by inter-clan fighting, Somalia fragmented into clan-based regions ruled by rival warlords and, at times, Islamic courts. Somalia has also suffered violence from Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda-allied militant group that continues to pose a threat. Much of the population – 70% of which is under 30 years old – has emigrated, fleeing violence, unemployment, and lack of basic services. In 2012, a tentatively stable full federal government was established. However, current President Mohamud has called off the 2016 popular election, citing security concerns.
Pray for government reform toward inclusivity and economic growth, and for the groundwork to be set for a transparent and peaceful popular election; pray for God to reconcile clan groups; pray for God to protect civilians, leaders, and security forces against violence and extremism; pray that God’s people would be obedient to bring his mercy and justice to people caught in this conflict.
- Central African Republic
Central African Republic is considered a failed state in permanent crisis. Perennial conflicts in bordering countries of Chad, Sudan, and DR Congo overflow into CAR, bringing an influx of arms and refugees. These refugees, along with internally displaced Central Africans—one quarter of the country’s population—are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. A coup in 2013 ousted President Michel Djotodia, the first Muslim leader of the majority-Christian country. Inter-religious clashes between majority-Muslim and majority-Christian militias are increasing. Christian militias have been known to attack Muslim civilians and there is a high risk of genocide along ethnic-religious lines.
Pray for stabilization of the wider Central African region; pray for God’s provision of humanitarian assistance for refugees and IDPs and protection for the humanitarian workers and security personnel helping them; pray for God to intervene in the growing genocide and that Jesus followers and others would be freed from cycles of revenge and violence; pray that the Church in CAR would grow to shrewdly love their Muslim neighbors and to love their enemies.
2015 saw the bloodiest year of the Afghan War since the US-led invasion 14 years ago. Planned peace talks between the new Afghan government and the Taliban, which seeks to re-establish Islamic fundamentalist power, were put on hold earlier this year. In 2015, the Taliban made significant gains, temporarily capturing a key northern city. Meanwhile, ISIS has also seized territory in the eastern part of the country. Though NATO and Western powers officially ended combat and handed leadership over to Afghan forces in 2014, over 10,000 troops remain in the country, and President Obama recently announced an extended timeline for troop withdrawal.
Pray for God to protect civilians from violence; pray for the resumption of peace talks and for God to give government leaders wisdom and humility as they seek a resolution to the war; pray that security forces live up to the responsibility of their vocation, act with justice, and demonstrate both strength and restraint within the rule of law; and pray against the growth of violent extremism in the region.
In addition to your prayers…Join others praying for peace on Twitter by following #prayfortheworld and tweeting your own prayers using the same hashtag.
For More Information:
Global Peace Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace
Fragile States Index
International Crisis Group