In February 2021, reports of a military coup in Myanmar hit the news. The stories told of violence, protests, and the terrifying impacts on civilians’ lives – especially on those already facing poverty. I followed the headlines, trying to wrap my head around the complex situation and remember Myanmar in prayer.
But it wasn’t long before other news took the spotlight: within weeks, rising local COVID numbers grabbed my attention. Within six months, the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan thrust another conflict front and centre. And a year on from the beginning of the Myanmar coup, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was at the forefront of every broadcast.
Conflict dominates the headlines, and with each emerging crisis, it is hard to know how to respond. The compounding needs are immense, and it’s tempting to avert our gaze.
So can we take a moment to remember these conflicts around the globe – hidden from the headlines, but still ongoing, and in some cases, worsening? Because tragically, for the millions of people who live with conflict as their daily reality, the impacts are inescapable.
Not only is there an urgent need for humanitarian aid, there are countless children unable to attend school, displaced communities vulnerable to disease, livelihoods shattered and families torn apart.
Beyond the quantifiable impacts, the unseen losses are equally catastrophic. How do people process their trauma? Who do people grieve with, when they have lost connection with neighbours and familiar support networks? What do people do with their hopes for the future?
I agonise with the writer of Psalm 10: Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? We despair at the depth of division in our world. We wonder what it will take to see a world enjoying peace and harmony. Arise, Lord! Do not forget the helpless…
I’m so thankful that the Psalm doesn’t end there, and I know that the story doesn’t end there either, for our neighbours facing the ongoing impacts of conflict and poverty. These conflicts might be hidden from our news pages, but they are not hidden from God. The final verses look forward to a time when the raging of the nations will end, and humanity’s violence will terrify no more. This future reality might seem far off, but it is unfolding today, if we have eyes to see, right in the midst of crises.
Today, Tearfund is partnered with locally-based agencies who are right in the thick of these conflict zones. Motivated by the relentless love of God, these partners work to bring immediate relief and lasting hope.
In Afghanistan, where Tearfund partners have faithfully served for decades, a humanitarian response aiming to reach over 14,000 people has been mobilised.
In Myanmar, local NGOs and churches are being supported by Tearfund’s partner to provide vital health care to more than 9000 people struggling under the impacts of the coup as well as a third wave of COVID-19.
In Mozambique, Yemen and Ethiopia, similar locally-targeted responses are reaching thousands. The provision of immediate relief gives people the chance to process their trauma together, support each other and begin to grow hope for the future.
Conflict dominates the headlines but God calls us to together write a different story. Tearfund believes that peace — in communities, in homes, in hearts — is possible.
Pray for the people of Afghanistan, Mozambique, Myanmar, Ethiopia and Yemen, and for people in the many other places in our world where conflict is a daily reality. In the midst of all that they are going through, may they find sources of healing, hope and comfort.
Pray for Tearfund’s partners, at work in many of these conflict-affected places. Thank you for their courage and faithfulness, loving God
God's relentless love shines light into even the most challenging of circumstances. Give thanks for this love and for the people and organisations that are God’s hands and feet in the world’s “hard places”. Pray for peace — in communities, in homes, in hearts.
you hold our world in your hands.
You hear your creation groaning
but you have promised to liberate it from its pain.
We pray: renew our world.
Forgive those of us
who haven’t used their power wisely.
Give us and our leaders the courage
to think beyond our own economies;
to seek genuine partnerships
so that all people can experience the fullness of life, and that our planet is known to be the common home for all creation and future generations.
– Prayer from EU-CORD, featured in the Renew Our World prayer resource.
P.S. We’ve also put together a list of ways you can pray for Ukraine. These are fasting, using a written prayer, praying with a map, baking Ukrainian bread, and lighting a candle.
Conflict dominates the headlines. We can change the channel, swipe the app closed, look away. But for millions around the world, conflict is inescapable. It cuts the future short, crushes livelihoods, tears families apart. It deepens the impacts of poverty and injustice.
Yet in places of entrenched conflict, hope is resiliently pushing up through hard ground. This hope is anchored in God’s love, expressed by Tearfund’s local partners. Love that never gives up. Love that is full of hope. Love that endures. Relentless love.
You can help make peace possible for people living in conflict. Love relentlessly.Give today