Quarantined workers queueing up for meals at S11 dormitory. “There is a pressing need to maintain worker morale and assure them that they will be looked after,” said Dr Jeremy Lim from HealthServe. Photo from MOM's press release.
Recently, the Bible Society of Singapore published an article. It’s to highlight for us some of the verses that show us that God talks about caring for the foreigners around us.
In fact, on the very onset of the article, it makes this statement: “God makes it absolutely clear in the Bible that we are to care for the ‘foreigners’ or ‘strangers’ in our midst.
Jesus Himself experienced life in a foreign land in his early days, early years, and always preached about the importance of showing love to the most vulnerable in our society.
With that (The Bible Society) highlighted 10 verses. I just want to make reference to three of them as we prepare our hearts to pray.
Our forefathers were foreigners
First was taken from Leviticus 19:33-34: “Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land. Treat them as you would an Israelite.”
In our context, treat them as we would a Singaporean. And love them as you love yourselves. “Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
Now this is so true for us. Because our forefathers were foreigners in this land we call home today.
He loves the foreigners
The second reference is taken from Deuteronomy 10:18-19.
“He makes sure that orphans and widows are treated fairly; He loves the foreigners who live with our people, and gives them food and clothes. So then, show love for these foreigners because you were once foreigners in Egypt.”
Again another reminder to show love to the foreigners among us.
Show kindness and mercy
The third reference is taken from Zechariah 7:9.
“Long ago I gave these commands to my people, ‘You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans or foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need.'”
“It took this crisis to bring to surface the oppression upon the foreigners in our land.”
Now the Lord reminded us not to oppress people. Unfortunately in the recent newspaper reports, we discover for ourselves that some Singaporeans have been oppressing the foreign workers in our midst.
It took this crisis to bring to surface what is happening, and it’s been happening for a while – the oppression upon the foreigners in our land.
Unfortunately, this is being made known at a high cost. As of now, close to 3,000 of them have been affected by this virus.
The Church in Singapore has been active in helping these migrant workers. Many of us have contributed money, food, resources and even time to help them.
And there are many Christian ministries right now coming alongside our government to support them during this time.
Recently, someone asked me if we can do more for these foreign workers. My answer is: “Certainly we should do more.” But before we carry on, before we do more, I want to encourage us to take some time to pray for the foreign workers.
I just want to remind us to press on in our prayers. In fact I want to lead us in praying for the foreign workers in our midst:
Lord, grip our hearts
“Lord I want to ask of You right now: Teach us how to pray. Lord, come and stir our hearts. Stir our hearts to pray, Lord. Let us not be indifferent to this situation.
“Don’t let us be distracted by the many voices around us. But Lord, this very moment, Lord, help us to hear Your call to pray even now.
“Lord stir our hearts, cause us to feel the way You feel for the foreign workers in our midst. Oh Lord, we pray this very moment – Lord, grip our hearts, Lord. Teach us to lay hold of Your unction as we learn to lay hold of You.
“Forgive us for for our lack of passion, for our lack of love for the migrant workers.”
“Holy Spirit we ask of you, pour forth your spirit upon all your people this day. Oh, Holy Spirit, move us to pray like never before. Move us to align our hearts with your heart even as we pray for the foreign workers right now.
“Lord we want to lift up all the foreign workers before You. Lord we want to pray especially for those who are sick, who have fallen ill because of this COVID-19. We pray even now, Lord may You touch them where they are. May You release Your healing grace upon their lives.
“And for those foreign workers who are filled with anxiety, worried about their lives, Lord we pray may Your shalom. May Your peace come upon their hearts, Lord.
“Oh Lord, we pray for an open heaven, that, Lord, as they cry out to a higher being, Lord may You touch them, may You show Yourself strong to them. So that, through this crisis, many of them will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus.
“And Lord we pray, we claim Your Word. Lord we come before You, we humble ourselves before you. We repent on behalf of our country. We repent on behalf of our fellow Singaporeans who have oppressed the foreigners in our midst, who have oppressed the migrant workers in our midst. Lord, we ask of you – forgive us, forgive us, Lord.
“And Lord we want to claim Your Word, that You will hear from heaven, and You will forgive our sin, and You will heal our land.
“And so we ask of You, Lord, hear us. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive us for for our lack of passion, for our lack of love for the migrant workers. Lord, forgive us and Lord as you forgive us, heal our land, heal this land of Singapore.
“Oh Lord bring forth Your healing upon Singapore, Lord, turn our hearts back to you.
“Lord, for those of us whose heart may have strayed, Lord, bring us back to Yourself. So that, Lord, through this crisis, You’ll call many of your sons and daughters back to Yourself as we all learn to pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
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