This month, please pray with us for Christian leaders from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Religion, especially Islam, uniquely characterizes this region. According to Pew, more than half of the 20 MENA countries have populations that are at least 95% Muslim. Despite their ancient heritage, Christians remain vulnerable and relatively few (15 million), persevering as a faithful remnant amid adversity and, in some places, violent persecution. Learn about ScholarLeaders’ work with Christian leaders and schools in MENA by visiting our Prayer Community page.
This week, let us intercede for Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen from Palestine.
Established in 1988, the State of Palestine is recognized by 138 United Nations member states. Though its designated capital is Jerusalem, it currently operates out of Ramallah. Most of the land claimed by Palestine has remained under Israeli control since the Six-Day War in 1967. Approximately 5.2 million people live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 79% are Palestinian Arabs and 22% are Israeli Jews. Around 93% of Palestinians are Muslims (mostly Sunni), while Palestinian Christians represent 6% of the population, followed by smaller Druze and Samaritan minorities. Amid resurgent violence, please pray for the peace of Christ to reign in the Holy Land.
Grace is pursuing a PhD in Theological Education at the London School of Theology (UK). A native of Bethlehem, Grace understands the challenges that Palestinian Christians face as ethnic and religious minorities. Few Palestinians have access to theological education, and Palestinian women encounter even greater obstacles. Familiar with these barriers, Grace seeks to design culturally adept educational systems to support women biblical scholars and theologians throughout the Middle East. Her dissertation focuses on how Arab Protestant women influence theological education.
Check out Grace’s 2021 Global Insights, “Why Should Theological Education Include Women?” For a more extended theological treatment of this topic, see her 2019 article in the InSights Journal, “Theological Perspectives on the Theological Education of Women in the Middle East and North Africa.”
Grace has taught and led the Biblical Studies Department at Bethlehem Bible College, where her husband Michael also served as a chaplain. In addition, she has taught at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, a client of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative, in Lebanon. ScholarLeaders supports Grace’s doctoral research through the Persevere Scholarship.
Grace shares the following message:
The political context has been quite unsettling in Palestine, recently. There has been so much rising violence. We have witnessed heartbreaking bloodshed and turmoil.
Yet, amid a vicious, seemingly endless cycle of violence, a candle of hope remains lit. It is shining in the hearts of those who know the Lord, those who have seen Him in their difficult and challenging circumstances, those who cling to Him in faith for peace.
As a Palestinian native, I long to see peace in the land where the Lord of Light Himself was incarnated. He was born to overcome the darkness. He was born to give us hope when no hope could be found. The flame is still burning in our hearts thousands of years after the Lord appeared in our own little town.
God calls us as believers to walk in His ways, to put our faith into action and not to rely solely on doctrinal accuracy. He called us to be His witnesses, to be lights, and to help others see the “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
As I pray for my nation, I am reminded of the psalmist’s words in Psalm 13:
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day? […]
5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
How long must we endure conflict? How long must hatred rule? How long must we weep? Surely, joy comes in the morning.
In a broken land, we turn our hearts to God. Heal us, restore us, O Lord.
Please pray for peace to reign in our land. Please pray that people’s hearts would be turned to Jesus.
Pray for strength and perseverance as I seek to complete my doctoral work in these final months. I thank the Lord for His faithfulness throughout this journey.
Please pray for further fruitfulness as I desire to see God’s work flourish in the Middle East through my involvement in theological education in my beloved region.
Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen