Worker in the street of Qaraqosh painting the sidewalk
During the brutal attacks of ISIS in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Christians were killed, enslaved and forced to flee from their homes. Five years later, the story is different. Some 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. These are 14 prayer points to help you understand and pray for Iraq.
1. Due to US-Iranian political escalation and possibility of US military reinforcements heading to the Arab Gulf and Iraq’s boarders, the people in Iraq fear that Iraq could become a battleground for an Iran-US war. Let us pray for peace in this region.
2. By our partner organization a group of Christians graduated as they finished their trainings in mental health and psychosocial support service. The course was given to the people working in their daily work with different people who faced trauma and those who are suffering from psychosocial problems. Especially after the displacement and the violence in the country our partner organization offers this training as many Christian people need help and guidance from qualified people. Pray for the work of those trained, that God will give them grace and wisdom and that He will make them a light for many and that they will bring healing.
3. Pray for recovery of two elderly women in Bartella, a mainly Christian village. The ladies suffered a horrible attack on their house. Unidentified armed persons entered their house, the women were attacked and beaten up and their money and jewelry were stolen. Please raise your prayers for protection of the people in the Nineveh plain. With this kind of news many Christians hesitate to stay in their village and are thinking to leave the country.
4. Pray for the Children of the Yazidi women who survived Islamic State sex slavery. The children born during their time in captivity were the result of rape by members of Islamic State. The children returned with their mothers to their villages in Iraq. But because of the traditions of this religious and ethnic group, some families refuse the returning of these children. Pray for the life of these children and for their future.
5. With the growing economic and political problems in Iraq the social problems are increasing among Christians. This comes in addition to the pressure on the families because of the issue of migration. Many families think of leaving the country because of the unstable security situation. Pray that God will give peace in the souls of these people and pray for a better security situation.
6. Pray for the students of grade 12 as they are finishing primary school to college. Pray for their future study.
7. Pray for the patients in Iraq who need to stay in hospital. The deterioration of the quality of medical care in the hospitals, clinics and health centers, emergency services and diagnostic facilities, means a risk for many patients. Medicine in the country is expensive and many can’t pay for the better-quality private hospitals. Yearly, many patients die because of neglect and corruption.
8. Pray for the protection and safety of those Christians who need to go every day to Mosul, whether they are university students or employees on the way to jobs. In Mosul there have been terrorist attacks and there are probably sleeping cells of Islamic State. In 2014 the Christians were driven from Mosul and the Nineveh plain by self-proclaimed Islamic State. Since the liberation and the return of the Christians there are still fears that they will be targeted again.
9. According to some medical statistics presented to our local partner organization, they notice that many young people are fighting cancer. Please pray for healing and that God will lessen their pain and suffering. Because of the difficult economic situation and the high price of the cancer medicine and treatment, patients get depressed and hopeless.
10. Pray for young people in Iraq. There is a growing number of youth suffering from depression and there are even suicides among them in Iraq. This is caused by the exacerbation of the economic, social and security situation in the country, but also because of growing poverty due to the great number of young people who are unemployed.
11. Still a large group of young people from the Nineveh plain are unemployed and are struggling to find jobs. The priest of the Syriac Orthodox church in Bartella says: “When young people are unemployed, a vast potential is being lost.” He adds, “Our youth are suffering from marginalization and lot of wasted time. The displacement of the Christians had a great impact on the future of the youth as well as the unstable security situation and the lack of attention shown by the government to solve their problems by providing jobs and developing projects for the Nineveh plain”. Pray for the future of the Christian youth.
12. Recently thousands of hectares of wheat crops were burned. In different Iraqi provinces such as Alanbar, Salahalden, Dyala, Kirkuk and Nineveh. Many hectares of timberland have been set on fire just a few weeks before harvesting time. Until now no one knows who set these fields in fire. Some blame sleeping cells of Islamic State that still exist in these areas and others blame Shia militias allied to Iran. The security situation is still fragile in these Iraqi provinces. Hundreds of farmers protested appealing for an investigation to find out who is behind these crimes. Pray for farmers who are working hard to ensuring the country’s prosperity as well as economic progress. The group has been neglected by the government because of the consecutive wars and conflicts in the country.
13. The increased number of militias supported by Iran in the streets of Baghdad cause fear and panic among civilians, especially because they are ready and willing to fight with Iran against US forces. Pray for peace and protection of the civilians in Iraq. They need your prayer in this time of fear of a war between Iran and the USA.
14. Pray for the church in Iraq to stay strong in the midst of persecution against Christians. Pray that they play a positive role and that they will be a light in all the darkness that has been spread in the country.
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Iraq through:
- Bible and Christian literature distribution
- Biblical, trauma counselling, and leadership training
- Socio-economic development
- Structural aid
- Emergency aid relief
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