Call for Prayer for the People of Peshawar, Pakistan
Invitation from Thomas Kemper, General Secretary
General Board of Global Ministries
Our thoughts and prayers are again with the people of Peshawar, Pakistan, in the wake of a December 16 terrorist attack on a school, which has left more than 145 school children and teachers dead and many others injured.
We join with the Church of Pakistan, our mission partner, in praying for all those who have been affected by this latest attack and for a future of peace and security in the region.
It is not the first occurrence of this type. On September 22, 2013, some 90 people were killed and dozens injured in Peshawar when two suicide bombers attacked All Saints Church on a Sunday morning as worship concluded. Peshawar is located in the far northwest of Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan.
Our friend Insar, who lost two children and other relatives in the church bombing, informs us by email that Peshawar is “very tense” after the attack on the school. Insar is the youth coordinator of the Diocese of Peshawar of the Church of Pakistan, a union of Protestants in the country. Pakistan and the Peshawar region are predominantly Muslim.
According to the preliminary international press reports, the attack on December 16 was carried out by the Taliban against the Army Public School and Degree College, a government institution with an enrollment of 2,500 boys and girls. The New York Times reported that the Taliban claimed responsibility for the bloodshed as retaliation for government offenses against militants in the tribal district of North Warziristan, west and southwest of Peshawar.
“The parents of the children are in deep grief, and the whole of the environment in Peshawar is under terror and under grief,” Insar writes. “Please pray for all [affected by] this situation, [for] protection of our city and for peace in our region.”
Nothing justifies the killing of children and we urge all to put the well-being of children first. Special prayers for Peshawar and the families impacted by the school bombing will be said at the weekly staff prayer meeting at Global Ministries on December 17. All United Methodists are invited to pause for prayer at 11 a.m. EST that day.
There is a deep spiritual bond between the Diocese of Peshawar and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Insar and his wife Uzma recounted their experience of the 2013 bombing of All Saint’s Church to directors of the mission agency in April 2014. The couple was in the United States for a period of renewal following the harrowing incident. Global Ministries is an advocate for religious liberty and positive interfaith relations in the area, efforts in which Insar and Uzma actively engage.