We gathered together on the final Tuesday in August—not a great army, but a small band of women. We joined together for one purpose.
We came to pray for the children.
Our planning team was small. The plan for this evening was simple.
First, we prayed for those children whose necks we hug, whose cheeks we kiss, whose tears we dry, whose runny noses we wipe, whose activities we watch with joy and pride. Our sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces, nephews. Patty, a pastor, mom and grandma, introduced that prayer time. In a symbolic gesture, the ladies brought small pictures of precious loved ones, which we laid at the foot of a simple wooden cross.
Next, we spent time praying for children in our community and for those who influence their lives. Teachers, youth pastors, coaches, neighbors. Kris, a teacher whose heart bursts with love for her students, led us in this segment of our Lake City Ladies Evening of Prayer.
Lastly, I challenged these women—including me—to reach beyond our own borders and pray for children throughout the world. In the past few months, I’ve become especially concerned about little girls who live in war-torn areas of the Middle East. Girls with names like Amirah, Aisha, Hasna, Rashida or Sahlah.
Like this beautiful child.
This little girl is a member of the Yazidis, a minority group who live in Northern Iraq. More than 5,000 Yazidis have been massacred by Isis in the past few months. Many little girls have been kidnaped to be used as sex slaves. The treatment they endure is unthinkable. United Nations Envoy, Zainab Bagura, described the plight of one group of Yazidis girls: “Some were taken, locked up in a room—over 100 of them in a small house—stripped naked and washed.” They were made to stand in front of a group of men who decided ‘what you are worth.’” Some of these children, she said, are sold for “as little as a pack of cigarettes.” Others are sold for several hundred or thousand dollars.
Sometimes, I avoid listening to reports like this. When I hear these stories, my first reaction is to hold my ears and run in the opposite direction. I’m not only repulsed but can become fearful when I think about something like this happening to one of my three granddaughters.
The past few months, the Lord has been speaking to me about these girls through a particular passage of Scripture. It’s a familiar story from Luke 10 that tells about an interaction between a religious leader and Jesus. The religious expert was trying to stump Jesus, and he asked him what I’d call a ‘gotcha’ question. I imagine his derisive smugness as he queried, “And, just WHO is my neighbor?” Most are familiar with the brilliant story about the Good Samaritan Jesus illustrated in response to the religious man’s question.
This story convicts me. Is my concern and prayer only for those I love or for the community or nation in which I live? The Good Samaritan story reminds me my prayers and concern must also be for children throughout the world.
These children are my neighbors.
I confess I have no idea how to pray an effective prayer against evil such as that occurring in the Middle East. The following words were my attempt on our Tuesday evening prayer event:
Father God, expand our hearts to reach beyond our own beloved families, our own community, to our neighbors across the seas who are enduring unimaginable hardships. Break our hearts with what breaks yours—not to the point of being immobilized or fearful—but to the point of prayer and practical action. We love you, Lord. We know you love children. Our sons and daughters, grandbabies, nieces, nephews and those children who play at our homes, go to school with our kids, or play on our hometown teams. We also know you love little girls in the Middle East who are being sold as sex slaves. Intervene, O Lord, on their behalf. In the name of Jesus….Amen
In the story of the Good Samaritan, there’s no indication the religious leaders did anything but walk on by the wounded traveler. Sometimes, I’ve wondered if one may have uttered a quick prayer for that poor fellow lying nearby. I’ve been guilty of offering up ‘token’ prayers.
Sure, I have faith God hears my prayers and can intervene on behalf of little girls in the Middle East. These words from James, one of the early church leaders, remind me it’s important my prayers of faith are followed by some type of action.
Unless it [faith] produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. James 2:17b NLT)
Preemptive Love Coalition is a Christian organization providing healthcare and education to children in the Middle East. They’re on the ground in Iraq to help children like the little Yazidi girl whose stunning blue eyes haunt me, whose beautiful little dirty, tear-stained face tugs at my heartstrings. I’ve made a cash donation to Preemptive Love and plan to give more in the future. If you’re interested in checking out this organization, their website is
Will you join with me in praying for the children?
Blessings on your journey…