25 Nov Child Trauma

When I walked into the tent, the stagnant air almost suffocated me.  It was the heat of the summer, and the tent, baking under the sun, didn’t have openings in the sides for ventilation.

After slipping off my shoes, I sat on my knees and began conversing with the young family that hosted us.  As we spoke, I noticed their young son seemed lethargic.  I asked if he had fallen ill – he had. I offered to pray for him to be healed in the name of Jesus.

I vividly remember their response: “Please.  Please pray.”

It’s a response I didn’t often get before I moved to the Middle East and began living my life with Muslims.  I’m much more accustomed to university campuses in America, where talk of Jesus easily turns into “Hey man, don’t judge me.”  And if it’s not that, it’s at least a cynical, educated skepticism: “You want to pray for me to get better?  For real? Haven’t you heard of Richard Dawkins?”

Yes, I have, by the way.

But that kind of aloofness tends to stay far away from the camps, and so I got to praying.  I prayed a simple prayer.  I fumbled my Arabic, I’m sure, but I think the idea came across.  When I finished, I asked how the boy felt.  It seemed he was feeling about the same.

Oh well, I thought, I was obedient, and that’s what counts.

But then, rather than laugh at me, rather than confirming any suspicions that Dawkins is right and God’s really isn’t there after all, the other refugees did something I wouldn’t have seen in an American context.  They began asking me to pray for other needs.  One by one, they just kept coming.  In America, for someone to request prayer they would almost require a creative miracle. A crippled standing up and walking.  A deaf person beginning to hear.

But the hunger in the camps is real.

The desperation.

It’s not like America.  The refugees are open; they’re desperate; they need to see the power of God.

A mom brought me her daughter from outside.  “Please,” she implored, “will you pray for her too? She has nightmares every night.”

I asked the girl, about 10 years old, when this all began.

“During the war,” she said, “when the bombs began falling.”

“And how often do you have these nightmares?  What happens?”

“It comes every night.”

“What comes?”

“The monster,” she said.

As I prayed for her, the presence of God flooded the room.  There was power.  Real power.  And the girl began to tear up, and she just looked at me as if to say: “What are you doing?”  The mother, too, cried a little.  The whole room was thick with the presence of the risen Christ.  When I asked the girl how she felt, she insisted that something had “left” her.  Those were her words.  She doesn’t watch TBN.  She doesn’t know Binny Hinn.  All she knows is that something left her.

More mothers brought their children.  “Please, pray for my son.  Please, pray for my daughter.  She’s terrified of the dark.”

I turned to the young girl for whom we had just prayed and I asked her: “Would you be willing to pray for your friends now?  Just ask God to do for them what He just did for you.”

And she did. She prayed for them, and she called on the name of Jesus.

 

I continue to go back to this camp.  And each time I return, I ask this young girl: “How are you sleeping?”

She always smiles: “The monster doesn’t come anymore.”

Focus Point

Pray for children traumatized by war.  Ask that the Prince of Peace would flood their hearts in the night with peace.

That the presence of Jesus would protect them, that the light of Christ would drive away darkness.  Pray that traumatized children would be healed of their fear as they discover the Love that drives out fear.  Pray for other laborers in the harvest, that when they pray for peace, the power and presence of God would be released through their words, would flood through their hands, would rest upon the frightened and weary.

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