Standing in the Gap — no.14

— praying for children accused of witchcraft

Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” But if you favour some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. — James 2:8–9 (NLT)

Context

The Preamble to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says: "the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

In many communities there is a strong hierarchy within families and communities that can leave children in the most vulnerable position. The impact for children of not having equal rights in the human family — or indeed not even being allowed to stay within the family unit — is enormous and has been related to accusations of witchcraft.

From the recent survey of more than 700 pastors in Kinshasa, not being housed with parents appears to significantly increase the risk to the child of being accused of witchcraft. * 

* see forthcoming Kinshasa Survey Report (Priest & Ngolo) on the resource hub.

We need other human beings in order to be human. I am because other people are. A person is entitled to a stable community life, and the first of these communities is the family. — Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Thank God

Things to thank God for…

  • Families which are able to provide loving homes for their children, and communities where families will support one another to keep children safe. Where children are lost or abandoned, whether on the street, trafficked, or in the care of wider family, give thanks for the individuals and organisations who step in to make a difference.
  • That so many people are exploring the issue of child witchcraft accusations within their churches and communities across many countries and that, with exploration around God’s word, children are being recognised as having great value.

"I must start to consider children as being lovable and important in the eyes of God." — Pastor in response to ‘The Heart of the Matter’ pilot training, 2018

"The experience of the generations, the reassurance of the ancestors — those beat louder in the blood than other voices." — Parry, 2018

Please Pray

  • Pray for the National Working Group on Child Abuse Linked to Faith and Belief in the UK; that they might improve national and local responses to children at risk of or being harmed by faith or beliefs, including those around spiritual possession. Pray that they will bring justice through their collaborative approach to seeking an end to harm of children.
  • Pray for children’s voices to be heard loudly and for children to be recognised as ‘my neighbour’. Pray for situations where children are at greater risk of harm because they do not live with their parents.
  • It has been said that, "if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor" (Desmond Tutu). Pray that we would be spurred on to prayer and to action on any injustice to which we have been neutral.
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