How to Pray for Refugees

This is one of the more difficult posts to write.  Not because of any hesitation, but because of what the topic is about.

There is a better way to pray than how some of us are praying, so far.

About Refugees, the debate rages on and as we all know, many are enraged.  We Americans, like others in our world, are people who pray, but how?  On the whole, we haven’t been starting at a good spot.  There are too many people praying “God bless America first before everyone else, if ever anyone else at all.”  There are some praying, “God, take away the freewill of others, or turn them into [people that we are not afraid.]”  There was a movie some years back with a character running for President who’s slogan was “God bless America and no one else.”

Unfortunately, real life seems to be imitating cinema art.  This is no longer a movie line, but is closer to becoming a reality of how some pray, if not already here.

These are common prayers, coming from people tired, frightened, and in pain.  Yet, are these the prayers that God asks us to offer for anyone going through disasters or horrors?

Whatever and whenever we pray for someone else, we are saying the exact same prayer for ourselves without realizing it.  What we pray for others, we are praying for ourselves.  God sees us as all in this together, equally.  What is available to one person from God, is available to all.  What is prayed for one person, is prayed for all people, without us always aware of this.

Consequently, we might consider a better way to pray than the examples above.

DIFFERENCES

We easily see the differences in our American lives and those in other nations.  We see the differences in our nationalities, our religions, our ways of life, our skin color and many other areas.  From these differences, it is easy to take on the “Us vs. Them” state of mind.  Even when there are also many similarities.

But, other options are available.  There are possibilities in the way that we can help them with our prayers.  These possibilities come from reducing our similarities down to that one common quality which we humans all share.  We only need to distill down to that one thing which ties people together, which no one can dispute and which both the “us” and the “them” share in common.

Human suffering.

Individually in our lives, and as a collective, we, Americans, know human suffering.  We know real pain and real sorrow felt deep within us.  We know fear of the coming of even more suffering, pain and sorrow.  In truth, there is no human being on the planet that doesn’t know human suffering in some form within each  individual’s self (and what it is – is known only to God.)

If we distill our prayers down to what we can pray for those suffering – we can then pray very real and helpful prayers that God asks from us.  These prayers:

“God, please help all who suffer.”

“God, please help all who are under great pain and great sorrow.”

“God, please help all of us who have lost someone we love through violence or through any means.”

“God, all of us need Your help and only You know the true and real help that each one of us needs.  Please, help in whatever ways we need.”

“God, please, help all life.”

“God, please, do not limit Your help by our beliefs, our thoughts and our feelings.”

Thank you and Amen.

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“Those prayed for will have more of God’s loving, patient, merciful and healing presence available to help than those not prayed for.”  (the Rainbow Cards, 1994-2015, ©, Jodie Senkyrik)

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A few of the many helpful prayers that have changed things through the Ages.

God, help the Hebrews under the thumbs of Egypt’s Pharaoh.

God, help slavery end for black people.

God, help stop the massacring  of Indians.

God, help stop the murders of Jewish people, and all other people at the hands of the Nazis.

God, help stop the killing of people in Rwanda.

God, help the people under Soviet Communist oppression.

God, help end Apartheid and the suffering with it.

Prayers that are still needed.

God, please help people find peace both within and without.

God, please help heal all people, everywhere.

God, please, help.

God, give us wisdom to know better.  God, give us patience so we don’t react from panic and fear.  God, give us kindness in our hearts.  Thank you for these.  God give us the willingness to put these to use with each person in our lives.

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Refugees?

When Jesus was born, He, Joseph, and Mary became refugees fleeing into Egypt to escape the threat of being killed.  The comment has been made that neither He nor Joseph and Mary were threatening to kill anyone.

In hindsight, we can hold to this comment, now, 2000 years later, because all that history is now written. But there were people who feared this child who they knew nothing about, and considered Him a very real threat – before the history that is known to us in 2015. They didn’t know what kind of threat He would be. Many considered that he would be like all the other threats and violently seek to overthrow the government since violence was how things were accomplished back then. They knew nothing about what He was really like and what He would really do. They didn’t know what kind of person He would become in their future. Even His apostles, who walked with Him every day didn’t know. One even thought He would eventually overthrow the Romans by violent means if forced to and tried to force that to happen.

The issue isn’t just “with any of the refugees that would come into the US is there a chance they would bring death into the US,” – ignoring the truth that theirs wouldn’t compare to the violence and killing we Americans do to ourselves. Death comes from all walks of life without any help from refugees. The issue is are we going to give them a chance for life.

No one can look into the hearts of another person and tell if they are good or bad – or like reality tells us – both – like all the rest of us human beings. God alone knows all of what is in a person’s heart. Can any one of us look at a stranger standing next to us, and tell which ones are the good ones or bad ones just by looking, what choices they’ll make in their full life, what they’ll choose to contribute to the US, what their future will be?

Can we look at ourselves and know what choices we’ll make tomorrow? We tell ourselves we would never kill from hatred, but we still fear and hate. We don’t live in any circumstance close that would put us in a position to know for certain. What if we lived in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s with our fear and hate – watching our children and family members that we love, shot or gassed – murdered – right next to us? Can any of us say we would still be our calm normal selves that we are in 2015 in the US under these circumstances or would we also find a way to kill based on our hatred of what the Nazis were doing to the person we love right in front of our face?

Look how easy it is to hate and fear someone else and then justify our own fear or hate. When we hate or fear anyone, in that same moment, we have then judged them to be bad, not based on any truth we know about the real person God alone knows them to be, but based on the fear we own and the unknown of their being a stranger, and the assumptions we come up with in our minds. We are always told to fear strangers growing up. Yet, we are those strangers also, to others, that others say to fear. Do we deserve the finger pointed at us to fear, also that we say others deserve?

It is this easy to say refugees should be feared. This easy. But, could it be that we fear more that our lives would be disrupted and changed? Can we say without refugees our lives would be safe? Or without refugees, our lives would be better? or without refugees, we won’t have certain problems? We do tell ourselves this in the back of our minds, don’t we.

The question isn’t just what will they give us, but what will we give them. We fear them bringing us death, and so it becomes easy to give them something similar first, screaming our choice “No” and washing our hands of the problem. We are now walking in the shoes of those in history, which, when we see them, we say, “I would never do that if I lived 2000 years ago.” And now we have before us a wash basin which a Roman soldier brings us with the citizens screaming their choice. The next step to “end all the citizens’ problems of fear or hate” is simply to say to the soldier, “Take Him to His fate.” turn to the refugee and say “I wash my hands of you, Jesus Christ.”

It is this easy to do it again.

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“We cannot build new roads to healing in our World, by just repaving the old roads of fear, prejudice or hate.”  (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 2015, Jodie Senkyrik)

“We can only build the new roads to healing in our World, by using the materials of faith in God, patience with others, forgiveness, showing mercy, compassion and demonstrating the Oneness of  life.”  (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 2015, Jodie Senkyrik)