‘Many Syrians take to the streets.’
This is becoming a familiar refrain in our news feeds. Thousands of the 18.4 million people in Syria have sipped from the cup of boldness, inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The Assad government has so far resisted, using force to quell the uprising.
Syria In The Bible
Syria features prominently throughout Scripture. The capital city of Damascus is mentioned in Genesis and in much of the Old Testament.
The most well-known incident linked with Damascus is recorded in Acts, when Paul was approaching the city, intending to arrest any who belonged to the Way. A light flashed around him and he was struck blind. The risen Lord Jesus instructed Paul to continue towards the city, where he met Ananias. His ministry to the Gentiles began in there, where he preached that “Jesus is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).
The Church Today
Christianity took root in Syria in the first century until Islam came in the seventh century. Today, about 10 per-cent of Syrians are Christians while 87 per-cent are Muslims. Many Christians adhere to Orthodox traditions, with a Protestant minority. One Christian town in Syria uses Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ.
Under the present leadership, Christians have been allowed to co-exist alongside Muslims and others. Christians are not free to witness openly to Muslims, although Syrian and foreign Christians do seek to share the claims of Christ with their Muslim friends and neighbours.
- Pray for an end to the violence. According to reports, 1,300 people have died and tens of thousands have been injured.
- Pray for the 10,000 Syrians who have fled to Turkey and who now live there as refugees. May the Lord send Christians to be salt and light.
- Pray that the witness of Syrian and foreign Christians would be effective.
- Praise God that President Assad has sought to protect Christians and allow them to co-exist peacefully with other religious groups – may this continue, regardless of the outcome of the present struggles.
- Praise God for the Christian history of Syria – may the Spirit of God flood this land with a new wave of spiritual life.