Lebanon is a country of many denominations and religions, like Maronite Catholics, Greek Orthodox, evangelical Protestants, and Sunni and Shia Muslims. It has had long civil wars due to the various religions disputing with each other. When the country was first founded, more than 50% of the population was Christian, but most Christians have fled the country during civil wars, and now there are more Muslims than Christians in Lebanon. There are many churches in Lebanon, but evangelical Christians make up less than 1% of the population now. It is also one of the only Arab countries in the Middle East that recognizes religious freedom, allows open evangelism, and even encourages a government that has Christian politicians.
Last year was a very difficult year for Lebanon, with many protests, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the devastating Beirut port explosion. Many people lost their loved ones, the economy all but collapsed, and the Lebanese people’s lives collectively became much more difficult. In particular, their currency plummeted to one-seventh of its initial value at the beginning of 2020, and inflation soared. In addition, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased significantly, the government implemented national lockdowns, making it impossible to work, and the citizens’ ways of life became only more difficult. As people lost their livelihoods, they cried out to make their voice heard, demonstrating in different parts of the country. The Lebanese economy had fallen into a seemingly endless downward spiral; not only for the many Syrian refugees that make up 25% of Lebanon’s population, but also, 50% of all Lebanese people now fall under the international poverty line.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
(Matthew 5:3-4, NKJV)
Ramadan is usually a festive time for the Muslims in Lebanon. But this year’s Ramadan is lonesome and challenging, due to the difficult economic situation. Celebrating this year’s Ramadan, which was historically a time of unity and identity confirmation for Muslims, became burdensome to these suffering people.
Let us pray that those who are poor in spirit and mourning, more than anyone, would no longer place their hope in the world, but turn to the eternal kingdom of God and be comforted by Jesus, the only true Savior of the whole world. Now is the time to go out to them and proclaim the only truth that can raise them to life and revive them, the gospel of Jesus Christ. May a time of revival come through the good news of our Lord!
This winter, in a refugee camp in Lebanon, a Christian brother met a man who couldn’t walk without crutches, because a wall had collapsed on him and destroyed his back and legs during the war six years ago. He was in agony and felt guilty because his wife and children almost had an opportunity to go to Canada, but because he can’t walk, his family couldn’t go. When the brother laid his hands on him and prayed in tears for him, he could feel the Holy Spirit comforting him as he saw him crying out in tears. We believe that Jesus will raise this man up and show him the power of the living God!
And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So, he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.
(I Samuel 22:2, NKJV)
God’s army is not an army of capable bodies, but an army of those who are poor in spirit and discontent and have nothing to show. But, when the Lord becomes their captain, they are victorious together. Due to COVID-19, many churches closed their doors, and some continued to worship online. But, the young generation of Lebanon still tried hard to meet together and worship with boldness. During their prayer and worship gatherings, they lifted up the nations, and many young people continued to join and worship passionately together. Some young people were so challenged that they began to evangelize and preach the gospel in public too. For some of them, it was their first time ever preaching the gospel. Let us pray this movement will bring a heavenly revival that will advance the gospel throughout Lebanon!
17 Is it not yet a very little while
Till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest?
18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book,
And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
19 The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord,
And the poor among men shall rejoice
In the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the terrible one is brought to nothing,
The scornful one is consumed,
And all who watch for iniquity are cut off—
(Isaiah 29:17-20, NKJV)
In Lebanon, the economic situation seems to be getting worse, and there appears to be no hope. But we believe that the Lord has mercy on this land and will deliver it from all of its pain and suffering! The people of Lebanon and Syria shall increase in joy when they turn to the living God. God, as all who believe in the Lord Jesus have received the right to become Your children, we ask that You also please call all Your children from Lebanon, that they may trust in You and follow You with all their lives!
The Lord is already raising many young people in this time! As they cry out, may more Lebanese and Syrian young people rise above their situation and turn to You, Lord, dedicating themselves to bringing gospel revival to the Arab world! Lord, raise up Your army of 300,000 that will live only for the kingdom and glory of God!
1. Lord God, we know You are listening to the Lebanese people’s cries of affliction as their economy collapses. The Lebanese government has failed, and the people have lost hope in the systems of this world. Only You can comfort them now. Lord, please visit them and cover them in Your love. Please help guide them, in their brokenness, to You. Please pour out a thirst for the truth through these difficult times, that the Lebanese people can find their way to You, repent, and be set free from sin and death.
2. The lives of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon have become even more challenging due to the past year’s crises. Thank You, Lord, that more of them are responding to the gospel, and that there is a church being established among them. Now is the time for the revival of the Syrian people! God, pour out the faith that overcomes the world upon Your Syrian refugees. May they no longer identify as victims, but rise up as high priests of the Arab world, with no land of their own, yet leading all nations to the Lord!
3. Thank You, Lord, for raising up the Lebanese young people and uniting them through a zeal for evangelism! As they become one in the name of Jesus Christ and preach the gospel boldly, may the good news of Your death and resurrection spread throughout this land. May the power of the gospel empower the church of Lebanon. May Your love be their foundation. May the Lebanese church challenge themselves to rise up together as the heavenly key for the revival of the Arab world! Amen!