My name is Fouad Abou-Rizk and I write Humanitarian Prayers to be an advocate & help people care. There are three main ways that people can react when they hear about something terrible that has happened or is happening: with apathy, guilt, or compassion. Here are the definitions according to Merriam-Webster.


Lack of interest or concern or lack of feeling or emotion.


Sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.


Feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy.

I want to promote compassion by sharing my prayer intentions with others. I pray out of compassion, not guilt, and want others to do the same. I was not born with a strong sense of compassion: it developed in me as a result of extremely difficult life experiences.

If I’m talking about Rohingya refugees and you feel bad because you’ve never heard of them or never donated to refugees, I don’t want you to feel that way. You didn’t commit an offense and you don’t deserve blame.

Possibly the worst way to react to bad news coming from distant places is apathy, which is essentially indifference. It can be caused by a feeling that nothing you can do can change the situation, but that is not true.

If you believe in God as a Christian, you know that prayers can make a difference.

If you never give money, your prayers are adequate because they’re making a difference.

I like to think that as a result of my prayers, one Rohingya rape survivor who wanted to get an abortion will decide not to, or one Yemeni civilian who was hurt by an airstrike will survive long enough to get medical care to save their life, or that one child with a potentially deadly disease get the care they need to be saved.

I will never know if that actually results from my prayers, but such possibilities motivate me to pray for those in the bleakest of circumstances.

I pray out of compassion because when I read about what’s happening in the world on my Apple News app’s feed on my iPhone, I become conscious of other’s distress. Knowing the challenges other people face makes me want to do something about it, and gives me “a desire to alleviate it.”