The Common Good

“Pray For Us”: How Can We Pray Effectively for the People of Syria?

Photo by Kevin Carden /
Photo by Kevin Carden /

A headline from Reuters stopped me in my tracks earlier this week.

It read, ‘"Pray for us" say Syria rebels as army closes in’." I was struck by how moving I found this statement, this plea.

I do my best to remember places of conflict and strife in my prayers, but very rarely have I been petitioned to pray from a conflict situation by those in the middle of the conflict. It may be a strange reaction on my part to conflate a headline from a news report to be a direct request for my prayers, but that is how I responded when I read it.

“Pray for me” is not an abstract or passive statement. When we are asked to pray for someone, or a group of people, we are charged to bring their need or suffering to God.

Reuters reports that in the statement, opponents of the current President, Bashar al-Assad, pleaded:

"Pray for the Free Syrian Army. Do not be miserly in your prayers for them."

How do I avoid being "miserly" in my prayers for the people of Syria? What does a "generous" prayer life look like?

When all hope seems lost and there seems to be no way to avoid or end brutal conflict, what can my prayers do?

This is how I often react when faced with a seemingly impossible situation.

And that very reaction, I think, is what leads to "miserly" prayers. Our faith in a God who can work in miraculous ways shrinks to a microscopic level, and our prayers follow suit.

A generous prayer life comes from a place of recognizing that God is mighty, righteous and that through him all things are possible. And when we are generous in our prayers, when we recognize and truly believe this, then hope for situations like those in Syria reappears.

So please join me in generous prayer for the people of Syria. As you do, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 17:

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

To read the full Reuters article, click HERE.

Jack Palmer is a communications assistant at Sojourners. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackPalmer88.

(Photo by Kevin Carden /

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