Prayers for Our Immigrant Neighbors

June 30, 2017

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:34

According to The Newest New Yorkers, a report by the Department of City Planning, New York’s foreign-born population has more than doubled, to 3 million people, since the 1965 passage of the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments.

The report continues, "The immigrant share of the population has also doubled since 1965, to 37 percent. With foreign-born mothers accounting for 51 percent of all births, approximately 6-in-10 New Yorkers are either immigrants or the children of immigrants."

New York City’s immigrant population faces many obstacles and that is exacerbated for those who are undocumented. Undocumented immigrants struggle with finishing high school, with a dropout rate of about 50 percent.

While the city has taken steps to help undocumented youth get jobs and pursue higher education, New York City’s aging immigrant population is slipping into poverty. Just below half of the city’s population over age 65 is foreign-born, but two-thirds of elderly people living in poverty are immigrants.

As Christians, we are called to treat the stranger who sojourns with us as the native among us. To cultivate a heart posture that leads us to compassionate action toward all of our neighbors, join us in praying for the immigrants in our city:

  • Pray for strength as immigrants to New York City transition into a new culture and way of life. Pray they would be surrounded by encouraging neighbors and find jobs to support their families.
    Lord, we celebrate the beautiful, diverse cultural expressions that immigrants bring to this city, and we pray New York would be welcoming to all in search of home. Would You bring caring people and rich opportunities in the lives of immigrants to this city that they might thrive.
  • Pray for the children of immigrants, that they would be protected and well cared for as their parents start new jobs and they attend new schools.
    Father, we’re encouraged by the truth that You watch over the sojourner. We pray for Your hedge of protection around children of immigrants in our city. May they experience joy and growth and deep friendship in new schools, knowing that Your presence is with them.
  • Pray that immigrants in our city would be connected with Gospel-driven churches that would support them as they adjust to a new place. Pray for our government and for fair treatment of immigrants in the legal system.
    God, we ask that You would ignite your people—your Body—to care for and come alongside immigrants, to support them and encourage them and fellowship with them. Would people in positions of power protect immigrant New Yorkers and treat them as the image bearers they are.
  • Pray that organizations serving our immigrant neighbors, such as the Brooklyn Arab American Friendship Center, The Open Door, The Father’s Heart, and Living Waters Fellowship would encourage unique cultures of our city’s immigrants to flourish, while also supporting their successful transition here.
    Lord, we thank You for the people across our city who’ve committed to supporting our city’s immigrants, encouraging them to celebrate their unique cultures while helping them adjust to a new home. We pray You would encourage and resource them mightily in their important work.