As Taliban militants effectively took over control of Afghanistan over the past days, fear and uncertainty gripped Afghans, with many desperate to flee the country.
It is very important to cover the events in Afghanistan in prayer right now. The World Watch List 2021[ii] of Open Doors, naming the countries in the world where persecution is most prevalent, lists Afghanistan as second. Severe persecution of Christians has continued in this nation for decades. What we see happening in the country, could mark the beginning of a new season of increased persecution of Christians in Afghanistan. What happens in this nation may also impact the response of militants in other nations over the next few months.
Matthew 11:12 – And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize–a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].
History recounts many stories of the persecution of Christians. Shortly after the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the New Testament Church believers in the Upper Room, widespread persecution started. It scattered the Believers of the early Church in almost every direction, and they brought the Gospel of the Kingdom literally everywhere they went.
Since Jesus laid down His life, 43 million Christians have become martyrs. Right now 200 million people face persecution for believing in Jesus and 60% of those people are children, according to Christians in Crisis International Ministry, a prayer advocacy ministry for persecuted believers.[i]
How do we pray?
There are many angles from which to approach the current crisis in prayer and the Lord leads every group individually. The guideline is to keep it simple. Pray for the Church/Believers and pray for the salvation of souls.
The Church and Believers
The New Testament shows that the Church faced persecution on a daily basis and is filled with examples of how to pray for them. Especially the book of Ephesians guides us in praying for the Persecuted Church.
- Father, we pray that persecuted believers will know the hope of their calling in Jesus Christ, and not doubt the love of Jesus for them. We pray for them to boldly make known the Gospel of the Kingdom in the face of adversity. (Ephesians 1:18).
- Father, we pray for the power of the Holy Spirit within them to strengthen them. Help them demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit by flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in this season like never before – bringing many to Christ. (Ephesians 3:16).
- Father, we pray that every Christian will have a deep personal experience of Your love for them right now, despite their circumstances – let their mind supernaturally be set on things above and not on the earth. (Ephesians 3:17)
- Father, we pray for them to be strengthened and equipped to speak the Gospel of the Kingdom boldly to those who are also afraid, but not yet believers. Give them supernatural favour to share Jesus’ love and for many to respond favourably. (Ephesians 6:19-20).
- Amidst chaos, we pray that Believers will continue to have access to a physical printed Bible from which they can share the gospel and love of Christ. We pray for the supernatural multiplication of Bibles as it is given to new Believers, that there will never be a shortage of literal physical Bibles.
- Lord, we cry out to You for mercy upon women and children – we pray for their protection from rape and assault – hide them away supernaturally, even in plain sight from any person with evil or harmful intent.
- Father, we pray for Christians in surrounding nations to start boldly sharing the Gospel of God’s Kingdom even now with their fellow countrymen and with refugees from Afghanistan who flee to their countries – and we pray for this persecution not to spill over into their nations.
- We ask for the Church to continue to grow despite the ongoing persecution and killing of Christians.
Salvation of souls
You can use the following guidelines to pray for the salvation of people in Afghanistan in the midst of the chaos, fear and uncertainty.
- Pray for members of the Taliban to experience the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit as they encounter and persecute Christians. Earnestly pray for the salvation of high-ranking leaders within the Taliban.
- Pray for them to experience the love of Christ and their hearts to be moved with compassion upon those they persecute.
- Pray for the salvation of many civilians who themselves are caught in the grip of fear, anxiety and uncertainty about the future in their nation. Ask for them to have dreams and visions of the Lord Jesus visiting them, assuring them of His love for them on the Cross.
- Pray for new Believers to gain access to a Bible and to start reading the Word as they are on foot, fleeing, or hiding for safety.
- Ask for the Holy Spirit to break open for them the deeper meaning of Scriptures that will help them in their dire circumstances, that will lead them in a personal relationship with the Lord, and comfort them in their situation.