Midnight prayer: Where do Syrian children sleep?

Oh God,

Where do Syrian children sleep? Only you know each troubled bed. Mine are safe under quilts and treasured blankies, wrapped in the security of home. Mine are sleeping deeply, even as I wrestle with the midnight thoughts and images I can’t escape.

Don’t let me escape them.
Don’t let me forget them.

The world is a broken puzzle, with too many pieces missing. Blown to bits.

What do I do? What do we do?

I don’t know the answers to the questions in their eyes, the cries in their sleep, the fear in their forms.

But I do know this…

Jesus, you were a child refugee, fleeing the evil of hell’s forces loosed. Where did you sleep, on the run to Egypt? Did you know the terror that sped your parents’ steps day after night after day? Would I have recognized you if you slept on my doorstep?

Jesus, you spoke of loving our enemies, and if ever we really needed to figure out what on this blasted earth you meant, now is the time. I do know love means risk. Love means the almost sure possibility of having to utter those heavy words, “Father, forgive them.”

Jesus, you knew the bloodiest torture of your time. You know the nightmares they relive. You weep over their crumbled cities. You weep over those who reject your way, and send these children into the cold night. You weep over hearts harder than the trampled ground. You weep for each child who has lost a home, each home that has lost a child.

Jesus, you pronounced blessing on the peacemakers. How can anyone make peace with trembling hands, and when the recipe seems forgotten? Yet you spit into the dust and made a balm for healing. You give eyes to see. You took a severed ear and restored it to your enemy. You give ears to hear. You took everything hell had to throw at you, and you made salvation.

I am no miracle worker.

But I know the only way to take any step, to make any peace, to break any curse, is to stay close to you. To embrace you as the child, alone and frightened. To look into their eyes and pray, and really mean it – give me eyes to see. Give me ears to hear. Don’t let me escape them. 

My children stir. They murmur and roll over. I will tiptoe close and tuck the covers around them, murmuring my own prayers of gratitude and blessing. And as I place my hands on them, I will pray for the others.

Yes, prayer may only be a beginning. But as we go forward, we can never leave it behind. For it is in prayer that we step close to Jesus and let him cross our borders.

Come, Lord Jesus.

{One small step I am taking – Please consider purchasing a copy of my Advent devotional, Abraham’s Advent. Proceeds from the ebook will go to Preemptive Love Coalition, an organization that is making peace and healing hearts in Iraq and the Middle East.}


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