Scripture tells us that we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), so prayer should not only be the first response to a tough issue, but an ongoing response that fuels any further action. We hope that the prayer points offered below provide some helpful ideas as you begin to pray through this issue.
Certainly we can pray for the immigrants in our country themselves—especially those who do not yet know Jesus, and those facing family separation or economic strain at present—and also to allow our hearts to be opened to those still in the countries from which they emigrated.
We can also pray for the Church, including for our local churches, that our leaders would have God’s wisdom as they wrestle with how to approach a complex, potentially controversial topic and that they would have the courage to follow where God calls them.
We can particularly pray for the local churches that minister to immigrants directly, and pray, as Jesus prayed in the hours before his crucifixion, for the unity of Christians across ethnic, denominational, and legal status lines (John 17:21).
Finally, we are commanded to pray for “kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2), which in our contemporary context might mean our elected officials such as the President, our Senators, and our Member of Congress. While it is up to these elected officials to come up with just policies that affect immigrants, Scripture teaches that, ultimately, these decisions fall under God’s sovereignty: the king’s heart is “in the Lord’s hand” (Proverbs 21:1). We can plead with our Heavenly Father on behalf of the many affected by the flaws in current policy, trusting in Jesus’ promise that “if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:19).
- Pray for the Church, that we would be united across geographic, socioeconomic, ethnic, and denominational lines to serve a broken world in Christ’s love.
- Pray for those forced to flee their countries for reasons of poverty, conflict, natural disasters, or environmental degradation, that God would comfort them as they recognize all that is lost.
- Pray that, as a nation, we would learn the lessons of our history, living into the best of our national heritage and avoiding the mistakes of our past.
- Thank God for his provision for your ancestors to come to this country and for the many blessings inherent in living in the United States.
- Pray for your Senators, Representative, and the President, that God would grant them wisdom as they craft the laws that affect so many people (you can find out who they are, if you are not sure, by entering your zip code at www.votesmart.org).
- Pray for the individuals scattered around the world who are desperate—because of poverty, conflict, natural disaster, or persecution—to find a safer, healthier situation, but are unable to do so.
- Pray for peace in countries long plagued by conflict, lifting before the Lord particular situations of which you are aware.
- Pray for World Relief and other Christian organizations partnering with local churches to respond to natural disasters, to build sustainable livelihoods for the impoverished, and to seek peace.
- Pray for wisdom for legislators who set policies that affect both the “push” and “pull” factors that control migration
- If appropriate, ask God’s forgiveness for times when you might have slandered undocumented immigrants, whether out of malice or just out of ignorance.
- Pray for the undocumented immigrants in your community as they face unique challenges, and particularly for those who do not know the Lord. Pray for the specific undocumented immigrants that you may know.
- Pray for employers faced with ethical challenges as they consider whether they will employ undocumented immigrants.
- Pray for churches and other ministries seeking to help immigrants to learn English and integrate into society, that they would effectively express God’s love.