A general view of the damaged, historic Um Al-Zennar church in the old city of Homs, Nov. 8. Most churches in Syria will unite in prayer on Saturday, May 11, in many places around the war-torn nation. (Reuters/Yazan Homsy)

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Most churches in Syria will unite in prayer on Saturday, May 11, in many places around the war-torn nation. This will be an extraordinary show of unity among Christian denominations in Syria, where the ongoing civil war has claimed over 70,000 lives.

Syrian Christians are asking their brothers and sisters around the world to pray and fast with them on this Day of Prayer.

"As Christians in Syria continue to suffer from the devastating effects of the two-year-old civil war, including killings, kidnappings, homelessness, lack of food and shelter and closing of schools, they are also seeing that God's hand is at work, as all denominations are joining in passionate prayer," says Open Doors USA interim President/CEO Steve Ridgway. "Christians in Syria know only Jesus can bring redemption and true peace.

"I urge you to take time on May 11 to pray with Syrian believers and for the country of Syria. Also encourage prayer in your churches on May 12. Let's stand together as one in Christ."

On this Day of Prayer, May 11, churches all over Syria will unite in one heart before the Father. They will meet in their churches, homes and gathering places to send their cries to our Lord. Christians from different denominations, such as Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant/evangelical, will join together in prayer and fasting to plead before the Lord for His mercy on Syria and an end to the violence.

Due to the dangers of traveling in combat zones, Christians in Syria will be limited to gathering at local meetings planned all across the nation during this day. These groups will meet in homes, arenas and churches. 

In Damascus, some of the churches will meet in an arena, but there will also be prayer in several suburbs of the city. The entire Christian community in Aleppo and the surrounding area is gathering to pray.

"This is a huge undertaking as it [a day of prayer with almost all denominations participating] has never happened in Syria before," says a Syrian church leader.

Open Doors received a letter from leaders coordinating the Day of Prayer. In part, it reads:

"As you may know, the Christian church in Syria is experiencing a deep humanitarian crisis that is leading to the rapid loss of hope. In the face of violence and persecution, our brothers and sisters are striving to keep their eyes on the Lord and seeking His face in their country. Even in pain, suffering and death, God is using the church to accomplish His plan."

On the ground in Syria, Open Doors, working with church partners, is helping facilitate food supplies, personal hygiene products, medical assistance, medicine and financial support for the homeless that pays the rent for apartments that provide temporary shelter. The Displaced Peoples Project also targets other countries, as worldwide, thousands of Christians are being forced to leave their original family homes and villages due to persecution and ravages of war.

A few prayer requests from churches inside Syria include:

  • The release of two Orthodox bishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, who were kidnapped April 23 in Aleppo, and other Christians who are missing;
  • Counseling for children who have been traumatized by violence;
  • For almost one-third of the Syrian population, who are either refugees outside the country or homeless inside Syria;
  • The return of peace.

For more information, a list of specific prayer requests and to make a pledge to pray for Syria, click here.

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