Prayer Focus: December 2011

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Released 15 November 2011

A Day and Night Cry for Justice

December 2011

The scriptures are one continuous story of people looking for home. Exiles are those who are branded by their birthplace, race, sin, poverty and anything that says, ‘You are excluded’.

The December global prayer focus when looking at refugees and displaced persons, pictures a pregnant Mary with her partner Joseph looking for shelter. Shelter was only one obstacle that Mary and Joseph faced. Some other issues for us to reflect on when considering modern day refugees and migration include prejudice, rejection; no room; healthcare issues; threats and birth registration.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

I tell you, he will see that ‘they’ get justice, and quickly.

Luke 18:7

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) & Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace demonstrates in words, actions that address vulnerable groups —

‘…support actions that foster tolerance and solidarity with refugees, migrants and displaced persons, bearing in mind the objective of facilitating their voluntary return and social integration.’

The story of Mary and Joseph now becomes the story of three under threat.

‘After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and run away to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave. Herod will be looking for the child to kill him.”’

Matthew 2:13 Good News Bible

  • Three quarters of the world’s refugees reside in countries neighbouring their country of origin.
  • More than 2 million people in situations of natural disasters are displaced.
  • More than 15,500 asylum applications were lodged by unaccompanied or separated children in 69 countries.
  • Women and girls represent an average 49% of persons of concern. 44% of refugees and 31% of asylum seekers are children under 18 years of age.
  • More than 845,000 people submitted an individual application for asylum or refugee status.
  • More than 4.4 million refugees representing 42% of the world’s refugees live in countries whose GDP per capita is below $3,000US.
  • Some 72 million refugees are stuck in unresolved situations, the highest figure since 2001.

Facts inform our minds. Imagining the story behind every fact touches our spirits. When we pray, we love the Lord our God. When we read of displaced persons and refugees, we long for people to be found in neighbourhoods where they are loved for themselves.

As God’s people we only belong to him completely if we belong to those who wander in a wilderness without a promised land.

Reflect on the story of our Saviour’s birth in the light of stories where: no room at the inn, border crossing rejections; no permanency of home; running for safety; disasters of nature; threatening wars…only ends up with a name: I am a stranger. Will we, The Salvation Army take in their stories, take in their loss, take in their insignificance for, whenever you do this to one of the ‘least important’, you do it for the refugee Jesus.

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