Standing in the Gap — no.11
— praying for children accused of witchcraft.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no–one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” — Colossians 2:6–8
In today’s world, we can learn of disaster, famine and war across the globe instantly, because of our connectedness through the internet. Paul travelled and networked with other missionaries to learn about and support communities of believers, such as those in Colossae, who were influenced by thinking that was not centred on God’s word.
We can learn about sickness and trauma affecting communities far from where we live and far from our understanding and cultural awareness. When we consider those communities, we may feel that their problems and beliefs are not ones that are relevant to us.
On 29 October 2018, ‘The Heart of the Matter’ training resource will be formally launched in London, UK. Designed to bring about change in beliefs and practices that harm children and run counter to biblical teaching, there is no doubt that this resource has the potential to make child witchcraft accusations relevant to us all, wherever in the world we call home. This training enables participants to explore God’s word in relation to the harsh realities faced by children in their communities and to reflectively critique their culture in the light of the values of their own faith.
From one of the pilot events using the training resource, a pastor illustrates this journey of reflection:
“Unfortunately, I’m among those who are accusing and abusing children in one way or another, even my own children. May God forgive me! This training enlightened me and I even repent, it was an ignorance! This is very important and needed. Through your training, I took my decision to avoid accusing and abusing any child but to be a defender, to protect any child in these situations.” Pastor N. having attended a "Heart of the Matter" training event in Lomé, Togo
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy. — Proverbs 31:8–9
Things to thank God for…
- Lord God, you created community and stood your Church on the foundation of Jesus Christ. We thank you for safe places to discuss your word together, that we might not live in ignorance, but grow to serve you by protecting children from harm, especially the harm that comes from an accusation of witchcraft.
- We thank you Lord for all those who have prepared, piloted and revised ‘The Heart of the Matter’ training material to resource pastors who want to explore the phenomenon of witchcraft accusations against children in their communities.
- We give thanks that, through careful exploration, people can give testimony of turning from accusers to defenders of children.
- For SCWA's launch of ‘The Heart of the Matter’ training resource on October 29th, 2018: Please pray that those who are already working in communities affected by witchcraft accusations will hear the plight of these children, and be convinced and equipped to defend the rights of the poor and needy.
- One of the shared themes of witchcraft accusations seen across the world is "their persistence in the face of modernisation and even education" (according to Dr. Miranda Forsyth & Fr. Phillip Gibbs, in 2017). Please pray that there will be a movement of change that will protect children from the abuse of witchcraft accusations, and that will not allow accusations to continue into another generation. May leaders of communities and churches stand up, speak out, and act against witchcraft accusations against the vulnerable.