On Sunday 8 May, thousands around the world joined Christians in Aleppo for a day of prayer and fasting for the city. Syrian Christians are greatly encouraged to know that their global church family is standing with them in prayer.
Sarah, a Christian from Aleppo, saw an answer to prayer that day, as one young man returned to faith in Jesus: “My friend drifted away from God and the church. But on Sunday when we prayed, he surrendered to Jesus Christ.”
Sarah is one of those who mobilised the day of prayer. Although she no longer lives in Aleppo, Sarah still has many contacts there; when violence errupted again in Aleppo just a few weeks ago, she heard a constant stream of terrible news. She and some church leaders felt that prayer was urgently needed.
Sarah fled from Aleppo to a safer place in Syria about a year ago. “There was a lot of fighting where we lived,” she explains. “I know from my own experience how difficult it is to live in these circumstances. I know what it is like to see people getting killed by bombs.”
She now uses this experience to help other young Christians from Aleppo, inviting them to her home and regularly hosting groups of youth in her house. “I always pray with them. On Sunday I prayed with this young friend—he is in his early twenties. Because of the war he had lost his faith. He even said that he could live without God.
“When I prayed for him, he suddenly surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. I am so happy that I can offer the people of Aleppo a safe place to have some rest. This boy is now thinking of staying in Syria because he believes he has a message for the country.”
Since the end of the first week of May, a ceasefire has been in place in Aleppo. “I hear that it is better in the city now. But we do not know if this will last for long. This weekend people were cleaning the streets and repairing the damage on their houses. Because of the fighting I also heard one of my contacts saying that last week some 3,000 Christians left the city. Of course I don’t know if this number is correct, but I heard from different sources that many Christians left because of the new violence and that more people gave up their hope for a future here.”
These Christians were certainly not the first Christians to leave their city. Before the war, Aleppo was home to many tens of thousands of Christians. Many of them left when fighting in Aleppo started earlier in the Syrian civil war. Of the 1.8 million Christians who lived in Syria before the war started in March 2011, only an estimated 1 million have left the country. Many now live in Lebanon; others has fled to other places.
Sarah is encouraged that the International Day of Prayer mobilised many Christians around the world to pray for the situation in Aleppo. “I heard reports from many places in my country and from the rest of the world from many different denominations that during the church services people prayed for Aleppo. So many Christians united in prayer on that day. I do expect that God will do something in the city. I also know of many Syrian youth who prayed because of the prayer call via Facebook or via WhatsApp.
“I am, of course, encouraged by the prayers of so many Christians around the world. I look forward to what God will do with the prayers.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.