Imagine. You are in the middle of nowhere. The temperature is right at freezing. You are living in a tent. You have no electricity. You have no fuel. The wind is ravaging your tent. Snow and sleet and rain have made every place you try to step a quagmire – including inside your tent. You have only the clothes on your back. Your children are crying because they are wet and cold and hungry.
During a break in the storm, you walk outside your tent. As the moonlight breaches through the thinning clouds, all you can see is tent after tent after tent. And mud. Mud everywhere. You wonder if you can slosh your way to the meager sanitary station facility. By the time you have slogged past two tents, your shoes have already been sucked off your feet four times. With your next step you are in water over your ankles. You slip and fall in the mud. You simply resign yourself to being filthy until you can find clean water to wash your clothes. But you shake your head because potable water is in short supply; what there is must be used for drinking.
You meet another tent-dweller on your journey. She is shivering from the cold. Tears run down your cheek as you ask, not “How are you,” but rather, if she has even a piece of bread that you can break between your children.
As you struggle back to your tent, you protect the piece of bread as though it were gold and you keep asking, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this? I am a city person. I don’t know how to survive in this environment or how to keep my family fed, and clean, and healthy in this nightmare.”
There are now nearly half-a-million people – people just like you and me – living in these conditions in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. Sky News reported the story of a 21-year-old father of two whose tent had been flooded for days. His appeals for help were disregarded by the authorities who operate the camp. His story is not atypical.
We need to think about these people, because, if we fail to think about them, we will certainly not pray for them. And they desperately need our prayers. When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), it is not to the exclusion of others. Our Lord is willing to extend His grace to all who would call out to Him (Joel 2:32 & Acts 2:21). Let’s covenant to pray for these refugees. And here is a suggestion – why not give up even one quarter of one NFL playoff game and the Super Bowl and use that time to pray. Is a part of a football game broadcasted in HD into our warm and cozy living rooms too much to give up to pray? Imagine how many people would be joined together in agreement as we take that time to pray for the Syrian refugees and the peace of Jerusalem. Just imagine.