Standing in the Gap — no.4
— praying for children accused of witchcraft.
“But I called on your name, Lord, from deep within the pit. You heard me when I cried, ‘Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!’ Yes, you came when I called; you told me, ‘Do not fear.’ Lord, you have come to my defence; you have redeemed my life.” — Lamentations 3:55–58 (NLT)
Jeremiah was a prophet known for his weeping. His heart was broken for his people — for his community — because he knew that people’s selfishness and sinfulness would bring much suffering. We, too, can stand in the gap for those who suffer as a result of the selfishness and sinfulness of other people. Children are being accused of witchcraft, often in situations where there is fear and shame, or perceived failure. Such fear and shame are often the driving forces for blame being cast on a more vulnerable member of the community — often a child.
“In too many settings, being classified as a witch is tantamount to receiving a death sentence.” — Philip Alston, UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur, 2009
Children are being accused of witchcraft. In an SCWA-funded 2014 survey of 1,000 pastors in Kinshasa, DRC, 70% of respondents knew of at least one child aged five or under who had been branded a witch. It is an uncomfortable truth, but one we cannot ignore. It is destroying children’s lives and creating fear and suspicion in families and communities.
Yes, you came when I called; you told me, ‘Do not fear.’ Lord, you have come to my defence. — Lamentations 3:56–57
- Lord, we praise you for sharing with us your heart for children who face accusations of witchcraft and subsequent abuse and isolation. Let us not be distracted from their plight.
- We give thanks for all those who are coming together to pray for children accused of witchcraft. We thank you, Lord, that as we cry out, you will act. Come, Lord, and redeem your children.
- Lord, you give us freedom and truth: a rock on which to stand. You are our defender — our lawyer — and your word is perfect. Let us learn your truth more deeply, that we may stand up for those suffering injustice from accusations of witchcraft, with words of wisdom and conviction.
- Guide your Church, Lord, that each member and leader may know and speak your truth. Raise up leaders to champion the cause of children in their churches and communities. In the words of one pastor from Togo, “Let us be off to start a revolution” of change.