There has been a Christian presence in Syria since the earliest days of Christianity. Paul was converted on the road to Damascus. Today, there are an estimated 1.2 million Christians in the country. But Christians have been affected by the conflict between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition forces. Tens of thousands of Christians have fled the city of Homs, where fighting has been most intense, with many heading to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Arab World Ministries’ Christine McLaren says, “People are undoubtedly suffering in Syria, but Christians more so because they felt a degree of sympathy with the al-Assad regime… Christians are caught because under the current regime they experienced a measure of protection compared to other Christians in the Middle East, but being aligned with the regime has made them vulnerable to attack and identified them as enemies of the people.” Despite the country facing an uncertain future, McLaren says she is excited to see what God will do in Syria. The Arab Spring has led to upheaval in some places but there are also signs of hope. She is greatly encouraged by what is happening, in Tunisia, where it all began. There, Christians are now enjoying greater freedom.
The hope is that the Arab Spring will eventually lead to greater opportunities for God’s work elsewhere in the Middle East region. “The history is so rich but we are also excited about the church now and what it’s doing for this generation. We are praying not just for protection but for boldness and for fruit and redemption from these terrible times.”
Source: Prayer Alert; Christian Today
BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 11:25-33
PRAY: For the return of peace to Syria and that future regimes may not be led by extremists. Praise God that so many Christians are waiting on Him.