God of all compassion, in the name of your beloved Son Jesus we lift our prayer to you this day for Syria. As we approach you in prayer we also call upon your living Spirit to dwell in our hearts and minds, so that our inarticulate and half-hearted prayers may become worthy of you and of our identity in Christ Jesus – so that our inarticulate and half-hearted prayers may become worthy of those for whom we pray. They are your children, loved and embraced in your Son, our Lord.
We confess, O God, that we have not exhibited the love of Christ toward the suffering children and men and women of Syria in the past months and years – we have been failures in love. We have glossed over news that thousands have been killed, and tens of thousands have been displaced. In our heard-heartedness we have assumed that this is the way it has ever been and will ever be in our world. Forgive us our lack of compassion; forgive our heard-heartedness; forgive our willingness to abandon others to hell; forgive us our lack of hope.
We pray today for the most vulnerable in Syria, for children and women and men who are caught in the crossfire, literally and figuratively; who are without means of escape, without power to protect themselves, and without friends or leaders to advocate for them. We pray for those who have fled their towns and cities and are now displaced and homeless. We pray for those who, in the midst of their own life’s chaos and uncertainty, mourn the death of friends and loved ones. By your mercy and grace, and through the actions of those who live in and enact your love, grant to each of these a place of belonging and security and hope.
We pray for the church in Syria, for those Christians who seem particularly vulnerable to violence and hostility as a vacuum of order and civic life is created in some regions and towns. Grant to them the hope and faith of the risen Jesus, in whose presence they walk daily. Help us to remember them in our hearts and prayers, remembering and being animated to action by our unity in the Body of Christ. Bless your people, we pray.
O Lord of the nations, we pray today for those who wield power and who wield weapons, without compunction, to destroy and possess and inflict pain. We pray for military and political leaders who are caught up in a whirlwind of destruction and who feed the cycle of destruction and violence that they themselves have set in motion. By your Spirit draw them back to the justice and peace of Christ – lead them into a life and into loving action that is unimaginable to them in this moment. Set in the way of these leaders, including in the way of Bashar al-Assad, others who may convince and restrain and enact the peace of Christ for Syria.
We pray finally for the leaders of nations and non-governmental organizations that have a voice in national and global responses offered to the ongoing war in Syria. Grant a creativity and wisdom that is disciplined by your ways as revealed in Christ; the way of love, compassion, courage, and self-sacrifice; in this moment, above all, the way of peace.
God of creation and covenant – God whose love extends to the whole world and its peoples – we pray for the coming of Christ’s kingdom in the length and breadth of the earth. We pray for peace in Syria. Hear our prayer and respond, through Christ our Lord, Amen.