The head of the Iraqi government in Basra, Iraq’s main port city, has appealed to Iraqi Christians who fled the terrors of Islamic State to return home, and civil authorities are using the Christmas and New Year celebrations to try to reassure and encourage Christians that they still have a future in Iraq, according to a report by Fides.org.
The Christian population in Basra, 590 km south of Baghdad, has plummeted in recent years. Before the Iraq-Iran war, there were an estimated 2,500 Christians living there, mainly Chaldean Catholics, who made up a large part of the city’s merchant class. Now there are a few hundred families left, at most.
Across Iraq, in 2003 there were about 1.5 million Christians, just over six per cent of the population. Today, current estimates put the Iraqi Christian population as low as 200,000, or even fewer.
- Give thanks for this encouragement to Iraqi Christians to return to their homeland.
- Pray for those who have fled Basra and other areas now free from ISIL rule, that they will have the courage to return to their homes and be an integral part of rebuilding Iraq. Pray also for their safety and protection as they return.
- Pray for the Iraqi government, to protect its Christian communities, and to involve them in building a stable and Godly government.
- Pray for Iraq, for peace in her streets and homes, for an end to sectarian violence and for renewed hope and life for the people of this nation.
Isaiah 58 vs 12: “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”