Standing in the Gap — no.10
— praying for children accused of witchcraft.
"Listen to me, family of Jacob, everyone that’s left of the family of Israel. I’ve been carrying you on my back from the day you were born, and I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and grey. I’ve done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back, saving you." — Isaiah 46:3–4 (The Message)
When we think of all the issues around witchcraft accusations that we have considered in recent months during times of prayer, many of them are brought together in these words of commitment from God in Isaiah. The imagery created in The Message paraphrase of this passage is of being carried on the back: a practice commonly experienced in an African context by infants, by children affected by disability and by elderly people, who are often lifted and carried by relatives.
These groups within society who are defined by age, value or difference, are often those more likely to experience witchcraft accusations by family or community members.
- Thank God for the pastors in DRC and Togo who have been piloting the "Heart of the Matter" training resource. Pray for them to remain engaged — especially in countries where political and civil unrest can easily distract from making changes to protect the most vulnerable. Pray for opportunities for the toolkit to be freely available and used more widely.
- We thank God for the many new relationships SCWA is developing, bringing together those with a shared passion to protect children and others from the abuse and hurt associated with accusations of witchcraft.
- Give thanks for the work of FEBA and their audio resources, developed specifically for radio broadcast. These not only give children a voice, but also seek to use everyday media to address the abuse and fracture of family relationships, resulting from accusations of witchcraft, that unfortunately have become the norm for some.
- Give thanks that accusations of witchcraft have been recognised as a significant issue at UN level, and pray that the desire to protect children will be paramount and not lost in the detail of discussing culture and what witchcraft is or isn’t.
- For opportunities to follow up with leaders of churches, families and communities in some African countries. These leaders have participated in research and training events, and the need now is to strengthen their understanding and encourage them to act to address the harm from witchcraft accusations in their midst.
- For a clear vision for the near future, including opportunities to engage further with the Church and communities in the UK and elsewhere, who may be influenced by, or able to exert influence to address the harm caused by witchcraft accusations.
- For a growing body of persistent, praying people, who will commit to listening to God, seeking his will and responding to his heart for children affected by accusations of witchcraft.