Pray with Lebanon, November 13, 2022
Lectionary Selection: Isaiah 65:17-25
Prayers for Lebanon
God of travelers and migrants,
The road is long, and the journey is perilous. But we know you promise a shady spot to lay down at the end. We call out for you from the side of the road as we are on our own journeys, planning for our futures in an uncertain world. Help us to find rest and comfort on our journey.
We pray especially for those who leave their homes in search of new beginnings and new possibilities. May they feel your presence with them. For those who wish to return, we pray for peace and justice in their home countries so that they may be able to move home safely. For those who wish to stay, we pray that you nurture them so that they can put down new roots. For those of us welcoming these weary travelers, open our hearts and hands to support these new neighbors.
Your kingdom can seem so far away, God, especially in times of crisis. Help us to know that your kingdom is near at hand, and guide our hands as we work to bring your vision of a just and loving world where all your children can live with dignity.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Lebanon
Here is a non-exhaustive list of people in my life who have left Lebanon since I have lived here: my veterinarian. The owner of the coffee shop below my apartment. Two of my coworkers. One of my closest friends. My doctor. My Arabic teacher. A friend who runs a vintage shop. The guy who sells delicious sausages at the farmers’ market. And many more are in the uncertain and lengthy process of immigrating, which is its own labyrinthine task. As soon as their visa has been issued, they will leave.
Amidst the compounding crises of the past three years, thousands of Lebanese have chosen or been forced to emigrate in search of opportunities and security in other parts of the world. Just last year, immigration out of Lebanon increased by 446%. A recent survey said that half of the Lebanese people are considering migrating. People are leaving by any means necessary – by finding a job or school overseas or risking the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in an unsafe migrant boat.
In neighboring Syria, the displacement crisis is ongoing as war and economic collapse force people from their homes. Today the UN estimates that 6.8 million Syrians have fled the country, while 6.9 million remain displaced within Syria. Some of these people have settled in a new country and established a new life. But many others are in a state of flux, forced to move from place to place to find somewhere safe to settle down. And around the region, more than 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants dream of a day when they can return to their homeland; many still keep the keys to their original houses, a physical token of their hope to return.
Planning for an uncertain future takes endless time, energy, and patience; you not only need a plan A and B, but a plan C, D, and E, and a way to pay for whichever one of them comes to pass. Trying to imagine the future for yourself, let alone your children or your children’s children, can seem like a folly. What a privilege it is to be certain that if we plant a tree now, our children will be there to sit under it!
Isaiah tells us that in the Kingdom of God, planning for the future will not be a privilege but a right; all people will be able to live with the peace and security of knowing that their children will be safe, happy, and healthy. What’s more, we, too, will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We will be able to live in peace, open our hearts to others, create art, tend gardens, and pursue our passions, knowing that we will be able to see these through to the end.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Leda Zakarison
Mission Partners in Lebanon
- Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees
- Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue (FDCD)
- Haigazian University
- National Evangelical Church of Beirut
- National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon
- Near East School of Theology
- Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Lebanon:
Leda Zakarison serves with the Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue, Beirut, Lebanon. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, and your special gifts.
Make a gift that supports the work of Leda Zakarison