"From one man He (God) made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him,
though He is not far from any one of us."
Acts 17:26 & 27
According to the UN, the number of people living in a country other than the one of their birth in 2015, reached 244 million. God is doing something through Diaspora -- the individuals and peoples who have been scattered through migration. What Scripture shows from Genesis to Revelation is that the Sovereign God moves people from one place to another so that He might be known.
The story of one of our favorite people in the Bible is in 2 Kings 5. A little Israelite girl had been kidnapped from her family by Syrian raiders. She then found herself the servant of the wife of Naaman, the Syrian army commander. When she discovered that Naaman had a skin disease, she told his wife about a prophet in her homeland who could bring healing. Naaman journeyed to Israel and, after following Elisha’s instructions, had his flesh “restored like the flesh of a little child” (5:14). Naaman then told Elisha, “From now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD” (5:17).
In this story, we see how God used the movement of people to reveal Himself. The little girl was a victim of human trafficking, yet by her faith, she forgave her captors, had compassion on them and shared what she knew of the LORD – that He could bring healing through His prophet. God used this little girl to bring hope to this Syrian family. Then, as Naaman traveled to Israel, God used Elisha to demonstrate His power and authority to the afflicted sojourner. In response, the visiting Syrian made a commitment to worship in his heart the Lord God only. We do not know exactly what happened when Naaman returned, but would like to imagine Naaman, his wife, the little girl and the entire household praising the Creator together.
Through this story, we can see 5 key ways we can join God’s work among Diaspora through prayer.
- Pray for Christ’s followers who have been scattered to boldly share Truth and Light wherever they go. May those living far from home demonstrate compassion for those around them, just as the little girl did.
- Pray for Diaspora people who suffer in spiritual darkness to encounter the Living God through the faithfulness of Christ-followers in their new locations. Like Naaman, may they experience healing and worship the Lord.
- Pray that God’s kingdom will advance and grow stronger within ethnic and cultural groups across geographic lines because of Diaspora peoples. Other Syrians must have noticed Naaman’s healing and learned something about the LORD. With today’s technology, may Spirit-led revivals and breakthroughs leap from one place to another as people’s lives are transformed.
- Pray that through Diaspora movement, the Body of Christ will display more of God’s glory through reconciliation, partnership and unity. As both the little girl and Elisha had a part to play and as both the Israelite servant and Syrian army commander could be joined in faith, so may the Church be made one.
- Pray that the Bride will become more Christ-like as she seeks to respond effectively to the opportunities and challenges of Diaspora. Like Elisha, may we take up the authority we have in Christ and may we bring healing to the broken. Like the little girl, may we extend forgiveness, may we boldly demonstrate love and may we have the hearts of servants. Like Jesus, who Himself was a migrant, may we make ourselves nothing and take on the forms of those in need of salvation.