Last summer, Germany opened its arms to more than a million refugees – the vast majority from Syria and Iraq. The move won huge international applause for Chancellor Angela Merkel, and seemed to reflect an impressive degree of tolerance among her fellow citizens.
However, well before the end of the year, the mood had begun to sour. As the influx continued, even some of Merkel’s own supporters began to voice concerns about when it would end and to question exactly how so many people from other cultures were going to be absorbed.
Then over the New Year came widely reported allegations of sexual assault on German women by asylum seeker and illegal immigrant men in Cologne and other cities – closely followed by claims that the authorities had failed to prevent the attacks because of “political correctness”.
Since then deep cracks in Germany’s “welcoming culture” have appeared, and support for extreme right-wing anti-immigration groups such as Pegida and the Eurosceptic Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party has gained momentum.
Violent confrontations are also on the rise and, as the more moderate voices are being drowned out, for some, the divisions have begun to evoke worrying themes from the country’s dark past.
Meanwhile, the European Council president has warned refugees against coming to Europe for economic benefit, as at least 10,000 people, including women and children, are stuck outside the crossing at the Greece-Macedonia border, with little access to basic provisions.
The number of refugees flowing into Europe has soared in the first two months of 2016 amid tighter borders and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, prompting warnings from agencies and rights groups of a “looming humanitarian crisis”.
- Pray for Europe, as it grapples with how to cope with the ever growing numbers of refugees trying to enter. Pray for compassion, understanding and wisdom as they make decisions that will impact the lives of many refugees.
- Pray for Germany, and other European nations, to reach out to the refugees friendship and love, and not to swing to extreme nationalism.
- Pray for the Church across Europe, to see this as a huge opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ to these people, most of whom have never heard the Gospel.
- Pray that many of the refugees will come to know Jesus, His love, grace and healing.
- Pray for an end to the conflicts in the Middle East and Africa that are fuelling the refugee crisis.
Psalm 10 vs 17 – 18: “O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more.“