Standing in the Gap — no.18
— praying for children accused of witchcraft.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. — 1 John 1:5–7
The ‘Heart of the Matter’ training toolkit has proved to be a great resource to help pastors to explore their beliefs, thinking and actions, in relation to children being accused of witchcraft, and in the light of God’s word that is loving and just. Many people in the world do not know God’s word, or do not know how his word can shine a light to illuminate the darkness in their lives. SCWA works to equip and mobilise others to share God’s word and train churches and communities to protect children from accusations of witchcraft. We are delighted to see evidence of both immediate and lasting impact from this training.
“The training I received opened my eyes on many things concerning children. I noticed a big change in my life. Before, I used to believe that disability and some children’s behaviours were linked to curses, or a spell cast on the family, or demon possession. But the module on normal childhood developments and the impact of trauma led me to understand that mood changes, sleep difficulties, aggression, have nothing to do with the demonic. Since then, my approach when faced with such behaviour in children has changed. I understand them better. I understand the child now, and I accept them with love and work with them to change their behaviour. This training was, for me, a light that illuminated my darkness.” — Pastor reflecting on his personal transformation after receiving the ‘Heart of the Matter’ training
Things to thank God for:
- The light of God's word that shines in the darkness, and the truth and hope found in Jesus.
- The willingness of pastors, local partners, children and families affected by witchcraft accusations to share their testimonies with confidence among their peer groups and the wider community, so that we may all grow in knowledge and relationship as we seek to address witchcraft accusations against children.
- Churches connecting across denominational boundaries, with community leaders, NGOs and their neighbours, to share what they have learned and to begin to act together.
‘The chains of the body are often wings to the spirit.’ — Nelson Mandela, 1970
We might think that this statement was written while reflecting on the trial of imprisonment that was past, and Nelson Mandela’s walk to freedom was achieved. But it was actually written after eight years of imprisonment in what was to be a total of eighteen years on Robben Island. He wrote these words to his wife, herself also in prison at that time, while their children were living without contact from their parents. He found hope in his spirit, despite the chains of his body.
- For children who are chained, physically or emotionally, through abuse and rejection created by being accused of witchcraft. Pray that they might know hope in their spirit despite the enormous devastation in their lives; separated from the love of their parents and left alone to fend for themselves.
- For adults who are now fathers, mothers, leaders and pastors. Pray for healing from wounds inflicted in childhood that influence their behaviour and thinking towards children today. Pray for a new way of thinking and acting that champions children and protects them, recognising them as children born in God’s image and pleasing to him.
- For SCWA, for their collaborators, and for communities, churches and children affected by witchcraft accusations. May God work in them what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.
Now may the God of peace… equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. — Hebrews 13:20–21
We say "Amen" to that!