The number of people displaced, put in danger, or forced from their homes right now is historically unprecedented. In Syria alone, half of the population—that’s 11 million people—have either been displaced or killed. Many people are divided over what to do with refugees, and the issue is undoubtedly complex. President Donald Trump’s recent executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” has reignited the debate.
Regardless of your view of this particular executive order, as followers of Christ we have an obligation to minister to refugees, for these individuals are made in God’s image and many are in desperate need of the gospel. God reminds his people in the Old Testament that they too were sojourners in Egypt before he redeemed them. Today we are called “sojourners” (1 Peter 2:11) because we are looking to our promised reward—a better, heavenly country (Hebrews 11:13–16).
The Right Lens
God’s Word should provide the framework for how we think about every issue, including the refugee crisis. Although you won’t find the term “refugee crisis” in Scripture, the three passages listed below provide a good starting point for helping us think through how we should view all people, as well as sojourners and others among us who are vulnerable.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. (Psalm 146:9)
Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate,
for the Lord will plead their cause
and rob of life those who rob them. (Proverbs 22:22–23)
These passages make it clear that, whatever our policy position or political persuasion, followers of Christ should never ignore or mistreat refugees. We must see them as God sees them.
The Right Response
In light of God’s truth and in view of the current refugee crisis, it is only fitting that our first response should be prayer. With that in mind, here are three suggestions to guide your prayer time:
1. Thank God for his kindness toward you in providing for your physical needs and for the ability to gather with other Christians. Pray that your gratitude would result in generosity and compassion toward others.
2. Ask God to provide for the physical needs of refugees around the world. Pray for political leaders to treat refugees justly and with compassion.
3. Pray that churches around the world would have opportunities to share the gospel with refugees.
This article was adapted from the Counter Culture Scripture and Prayer Guide, a supplement to David Platt’s book Counter Culture.