ArticleBible & Theology

Prayer Focus: Hope for the Scattered and Confused

Christ offers hope and peace to refugees from unreached people groups.
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.” (James 1:1 ESV)

Uprooted and forced from their homes. Scattered into regions far and wide because of persecution. Gripped by fear, confusion, and chaos, groups of Jewish believers in Jesus Christ took up residence in places where culture, language, and customs were different. They found themselves living in lands outside of Israel in the first century.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, described them as the twelve tribes in the dispersion, or diaspora. He penned a letter to this group and called them brothers. He wrote to offer hope and provide leadership as they faced the fear, confusion, and chaos created by their new reality.

James is arguably the most practical New Testament book. It is not a theological treatise. However, it draws from deep theological truths and a solid understanding of Jesus’ teaching and his gospel.

Although he did not initially believe in Jesus (John 7:5), James was an eyewitness to the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7). This was no doubt the catalyst that led him to saving faith. He then became a leader in the early church (Acts 21:17-18).

Today, people would describe James’ audience as refugees. Currently, there are an estimated 89 million refugees worldwide. These people have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to persecution, violence, and human rights violations.1

Russia’s recent attack on Ukraine has displaced many Ukrainians. But Syria still represents the largest refugee crisis, with more than 13 million people displaced from their homes during the last 11 years of war.2 Half have been scattered throughout Europe and the Middle East, and half are displaced within Syria itself. The Syrian people group remains unreached by the gospel.

Syrian refugees need the hope that James offered to the Jewish refugees in his letter. They need the hope, salvation, and peace that only Jesus Christ can provide. Will you pray for God to move his church to carry the gospel to unreached Syrians?

This week, let’s pray:

“Heavenly Father, the worldwide refugee crisis is overwhelming. I ask you to move your church in North America to pursue these people with the gospel of Jesus.”


Prayer requests for Syrian refugees:

  1. Pray that the confusion and chaos would soften hearts—not harden them—towards the gospel.
  2. Pray for wisdom and propriety for those ministering among these vulnerable people.
  3. Pray that God will break down political and religious barriers, and that the gospel will spread rapidly.

1. "Figures at a Glance," UNHCR, June 16, 2022, https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html.

2. "Syria Refugee Crisis Explained," UNHCR, July 8, 2022, https://www.unrefugees.org/news/syria-refugee-crisis-explained/.

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About the Author

Bobby Hile is ABWE’s Director of Long-Term Mobilization. Prior to that, he served for 9 years as a senior pastor in Ohio and for almost 20 years with ABWE as a missionary in South Africa.

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