Pray for a Stranger

Almost all of the prayers in Bible-book studies, at group meals, in family settings, are for ourselves — our little groups we feel close to, our loved ones & friends. Sometimes it’s prayer or thanks for good weather for a particular event. Sometimes it’s for health and safety, again for ourselves and friends we think of, who are on our prayer list. Sometimes it’s for our country’s well-being.

Seldom — like never? — have I observed a group prayer for total strangers, people in desperate circumstances far away, whom we don’t know and will never meet, who can’t have the slightest impact our lives. They are not on our prayer lists — personal or church. They don’t come to mind when we have our little self-absorbed prayer of thanks over the delicious meal just served to our group at a carefully selected nice restaurant.  It’s so safe, so comfortable – so about us.

Next time you’re in one of these close little comfortable groups and someone says: “let us pray”, think outside of yourselves and your immediate surroundings, and see yourself as so blooming lucky and blessed that it’s almost criminal for you to ask for anything else for yourself. Think of some half-starving refugee who has lost her country and security. Pray for her, and others like her, that there is a merciful God that will by some miracle relieve the suffering for as many of these needy people as you can stand to think about before retreating into your “ME” cocoon.

Here’s an example:

Justine Ndizigeyemana, 47, in Nyarugusu, Tanzanian UN Refugee camp. Her husband was shot in their home in Burundi in 2005, and she was raped by soldiers, from whom she contracted an STI that she is still being treated for.

She has been a refugee throughout her life, repeatedly leaving Burundi during conflicts in the 70s and 90s. When she arrived at Nyarugusu camp, she took in two orphans to look after alongside her own children, but she is worried for the future as she doesn’t have any money.
There is inadequate security in the camp, which has maurauding bands of killers and thieves. The United Nations can only raise $1 for every $10 it needs to feed and shelter these refugees.

Pray for a stranger.


Picture by Phil Moore/Oxfam
the Guardian online: April 23, 2016.


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