For more than 2000 years, there has been a significant community of Christians living in what is known as modern day Iraq. However, with the rise of the militant group ISIL, in the last year over 100,000 Christians have fled Iraq or relocated to the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq. Many of those who have left fear that they will never have the opportunity to return to their homes.
After its race across Iraq in 2014, ISIL offered Christians 3 choices: to convert to Islam, to pay an extortionately high tax or to be killed. Hence many fled Iraq as refugees into neighbouring countries such as Jordan.
One such family now lives with over 40 Iraqi Christians in a disused building in the grounds of a Catholic church near Amman. The building is separated into small rooms with flimsy partitions, and at the entrance is a whiteboard bearing the words “blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake.”
There are also 2 posters next to the whiteboard, one showing a silhouette of a cross, behind which is a brilliant sunset.
The Christians living here are wounded in their souls, feeling let down and forsaken by their government who they see has failed to protect them despite the heritage of Christianity in Iraq. One father in the group said, “I will leave all my history there. Because of the terrorism. We have no trust in the government or anything. Never, forever. ”
- Pray for the Iraqi Christians who have fled Iraq. Pray they will find peace and fresh hope in their faith, and their faith will be grounded in the truth of their God, in whom there is no shadow of change and who is a strong foundation that never fails.
- Pray for those still in Iraq, Syria and other areas where ISIL has taken control. Pray for courage and protection upon them and their families.
- Pray for healing and for them to know the faithfulness of their heavenly Father who go deep into their hearts: “for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence,‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’”
Source: International Christian Concern, www.persecution.org