Seventh-day Adventists celebrate World Refugee Sabbath on June 17.
Published on: 06-15-2023
Each year the Adventist community comes together to mark World Refugee Day with a special Sabbath (Saturday) program and activities. The international office of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), in combination with other relief agencies such as Compassion International, continues to provide prayer pointers to help people intelligently pray for the needs of refugees and to have their hearts stirred toward them.
This year, Seventh-day Adventists around the world will observe World Refugee Sabbath on June 17. It is a dedicated day to embrace refugees and internally displaced individuals worldwide. It is a time to honor and celebrate their remarkable resilience while engaging in learning and meaningful action to support their needs. Above all, it is a time to pray.
Though the term “refugee” may not be explicitly mentioned in Scripture, the divine mandate to care for the foreigner, stranger, and sojourner resonates clearly, compelling us, as followers of God, to consider their needs and advocate on their behalf.
The words of Deuteronomy 10:18-19 affirm this divine principle: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (NIV).
We cannot turn a blind eye to the immense global refugee crisis. Refugees are not mere statistics; they are mothers, fathers, and children whose lives have been turned upside down by persecution, conflict, violence, or violations of their human rights. We are currently witnessing unprecedented levels of displacement, underscoring the crucial need for a comprehensive understanding of the scale and worldwide repercussions of this crisis. It is only with such understanding that we can effectively address this issue, both individually and globally.
A Call to Prayer
As the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War continues, the United Nations reports that there are 65.6 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 22.5 million refugees, and 10 million stateless people.
How to Pray for Refugees and Migrants
Take a moment out of your day today to pray for the millions affected by the refugee crisis. Remember those making perilous journeys, fleeing from conflict and persecution.
Pray particularly for children traveling in extremely dangerous conditions.
Pray for wisdom for all those in authority who make decisions that impact refugees. Pray for leaders to tackle the root causes of the refugee crisis.
Ask God to bring stability in the countries from which men, women, and children are fleeing. Pray for Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Libya, and other affected nations.
Lift organizations, churches, and communities in prayer, especially those that are working tirelessly to care for refugees. Pray they would be given wisdom and energy as they respond to families and children in great need.
Bible Verses About Refugees
And let us remember what the Bible commands regarding our neighbors.
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal. 5:14).
“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 19:33-34).
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matt. 25:35-36).
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16).