Prayer Matters - Praying for Refugees

"Oh God, you bring hope out of emptiness..."

News June 14, 2023

14 June 2023 | St. Albans, UK [ADRA International with tedNEWS]

Each year the Adventist community comes together to mark World Refugee Day with a special Sabbath (Saturday) programme and activities. The international office of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), in combination with other relief agencies such as Compassion International, continues to provide prayer pointers to intelligently pray for the needs of refugees, and our stirring of our hearts towards them.

This year, on June 17, we observe World Refugee Sabbath—a dedicated day to embrace refugees and internally displaced individuals worldwide. It is a time to honour and celebrate their remarkable resilience while engaging in learning, prayer, and meaningful action to support their needs.

Praying Man with a Bible

Though the term ‘refugee’ may not be explicitly mentioned in Scripture, the divine mandate to care for the foreigner, stranger, and sojourner resonates clearly, compelling us, as followers of God, to consider their needs and advocate on their behalf.

The words of Deuteronomy 10:18-19 affirm this divine principle: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

We cannot turn a blind eye to the immense global refugee crisis. Refugees are not mere statistics; they are mothers, fathers, and children whose lives have been turned upside down by persecution, conflict, violence, or violations of their human rights. We are currently witnessing unprecedented levels of displacement, underscoring the crucial need for a comprehensive understanding of the scale and worldwide repercussions of this crisis. It is only with such understanding that we can effectively address this issue, both individually and globally.

A Call to Prayer

As the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War continues, the United Nations reports that there are 65.6 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 22.5 million refugees and 10 million stateless people.

How to Pray for Refugees and Migrants

Take a moment out of your day today to pray for the millions affected by the refugee crisis:

Pray for Refugees

Remember those making perilous journeys, fleeing from conflict and persecution. Pray particularly for children travelling in extremely dangerous conditions.

Pray for the Governments Involved

Pray for wisdom for all those in authority who make decisions that impact refugees. Pray for leaders to tackle the root causes of the refugee crisis.

Pray That Countries in Crisis Would Know Stability

Ask God to bring stability in the countries men, women and children are fleeing from. Pray for Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Libya and other affected nations.

Pray for Communities and Organisations Helping Refugees 

Lift organisations, churches and communities who are working tirelessly to care for refugees. Pray they would be given wisdom and energy as they respond to families and children in great need.

Bible Verses About Refugees

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

“For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:35-36).

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).


Circle Me Lord¹

Circle me Lord
keep protection near
and danger afar

Circle me Lord
keep hope within
keep doubt without

Circle me Lord
keep light near
and darkness afar

Circle me Lord
keep peace within
keep evil out

Hope Out of Emptiness²

O God,
you bring hope out of emptiness
energy out of fear
new life out of grief and loss.

As Mary returned to mourn
yet found unspeakable joy,
so comfort all who have lost their homes
through persecution, war, exile,
or deliberate destruction.

Give them security, a place to live,
and neighbours they trust
to be, with them, a new sign of peace to the world.

When You Walked This Earth³

O God,
when in Jesus you walked this earth,
you had no place to call your own,
no place to lay your head.

As we stand by the landless and the homeless
and support those who struggle alongside them,
may we stand by you,
seeing your face and image there.

Photos: featured Image (by David Neal): Warsaw Central Bus Station, Spring 2022. A mother and child from Ukraine head out to a coach taking them to an unknown destination westward. Other images by Patrick Fore, Unsplash, Creative Commons license.

Sources: The Sea Route to Europe, UN Refugee Agency, 24-7 Prayer: The Refugee Crisis, UN Refugee Agency.
David Adam, SPCK Book of Christian Prayer, (p.291), SPCK Publishing, 2009.
²Janet Morley, SPCK Book of Christian Prayer, (p.291), SPCK Publishing, 2009.
³Barbara Vellacott, SPCK Book of Christian Prayer, (p.117), SPCK Publishing, 2009.

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