What Should Christians Do About Syria?

I am not a student of politics. I look at issues, I vote, I read the news. On occasion, I’ll show up to a city council meeting if it’s something I really care about (like how the homeless are treated or where bike lanes need to be), but really, that’s about it.

Living in a country that has been at war or intervening somewhere for most of my life seems…normal; I don’t know any different. Watching videos of people being affected by chemical warfare is horrific. I have a friend that works in a high level of government, so high, I don’t really know what this person actually does. I just know there are many overnight meetings at the Capitol that he or she participates in. When I ask if Hollywood portrays an over-the-top dismal version of what actually happens in DC, this person doesn’t answer. That makes me think things are complicated beyond anything you or I could ever imagine.

So, Syria.

A boy is treated by doctors and nurses after sustaining injuries from an airstrike in the Sha’ar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. (TIME/Nicole Tung)

A boy is treated after sustaining injuries in Aleppo, Syria. (TIME/Nicole Tung)

It’s been top on news pages and on news casts for weeks now. I’ve probably followed it as much as an average person follows it – mostly because I feel the need to be engaged and educated but I also feel helpless. I think a lot of us do.

What can we do in our daily routines to actually influence anything? What should we believe? Who should we believe? What is a “Christian” response? What is a “Christian” response, anyway?

I’ve been thinking on this, hearing debates from friends and reading forwarded emails with animated gifs of American flags and yellow ribbons. And I truly believe this is what we are to do.

We are to pray.

I imagine if Jesus was asked what He thought about Syria, or if we should intervene or stay out, much like he did with the yes or no questions He was asked, he wouldn’t answer yes or no. He would share a story, a parable, and point us back to a principle of the Kingdom.

Jesus teaches us to pray Your Kingdom come, Your will be done…

Paul instructs to pray for our leaders, and with thanksgiving make our requests known…

What should Christians do about Syria? We should pray.

It seems almost like it’s too small a response. Like it is the pat answer someone would give when they don’t know what to say. That humble words said over food or from our safe pillows in our safe homes in our quiet evenings would not be enough.

But I believe it’s in these quiet and gentle moments of intercession that a much larger war is being fought and we are showing up and our words may be humble but they are bold and they are mighty because of the Spirit who intercedes for us.

It is prayer.

It is how we can fight.

It is how we should respond.

And this is how we should encourage others to participate as well. It is more powerful than a diatribe on Facebook or our emails with pictures of eagles.

Pray. Encourage others to pray. Seek humility. Fast from something. And pray even more.




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7 thoughts on “What Should Christians Do About Syria?

  1. I remember when the tsunami hit Japan a few years ago, I remember reading something that struck a chord with me It went something like “These people need help, not more religion and prayer”. I can’t help but wonder if the same idea can’t be applied to something like Syria. What do you think Anne?

    • I think prayer is the most powerful force to be reckoned with when not done in vain. (James 5:16) Prayer extends beyond all human capability to help and groans on behalf of the needs words can’t describe, connecting the divine to the indescribable brokenness.

    • I believe help comes in many shapes and sizes. In the tangible and the intangible. The seen and the unseen. I remember after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, feeling so helpless. Feeling like i needed to do something,and was not physically equipped to do anything to be of help immediately, but i could pray. and be prepared spiritually, emotionally, physically for what God would have for me to do. 9/10 of that preparation was prayer. in july of 2010 was His time for me to physically act. there are people who are called to pray for a time, then act, we are all called to pray all the time, whether He calls us to action or not. 1Thess 5:12-28 speaks to Christian conduct and v. 17 specifically says to pray unceasingly. I know from my own experience and that of those around me, that my help comes from the Lord, especially when i pray specifically and unceasingly.

  2. I only just recently started following the news. I felt convicted that I need to know what is going on so I can engage in the conversation, but it is hard to follow along when you see such disturbing images coming from places like Syria. I’d rather put my head in the sand, except I think you are right. We need to know and we need to pray. Thanks for this post.

  3. Amen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We discussed this yesterday at church…well not just Syria, but this type of situation in general. May we pray not just for the ‘situation’, but for the individual humans. May we seek out ways to love those that we find hardest to love and may we not lump them into clans or nations, but individual souls.

  4. Agreed! When it comes to an event like a tsunami or earthquake, we do need to help – and not forget to pray about how to do it most effectively. When it comes to invervening in a war, we need to do LOTS of praying. We seem to have a recent history of intervening in a way that made things worse, not better – and got a lot of innocent people, including many, Christians, killed or run out of their homes. Not entirely the kind of results we wanted. In fact, the kind that might bring God’s judgment on OUR nation. Maybe if we prayed more, and listened, God would tell us that’s just meddling, not helping.