The following is excerpted from a pastoral prayer led by John Rogers on August 22, 2021.
Father, we pray for Afghanistan and their 40 million people. One of the least reached nations on earth, Afghanistan is 99.9% Muslim with 72 unreached people groups. With only 0.1% Christian, they are in dire need of Your saving grace, Your hope, Your mercy.
The upheaval of the last 40 years has reduced the country to ruin and destitution. War has led to over 1 million deaths, up to 4 million orphans, and approximately 2.5 million refugees. It has one of the world’s lowest standards of living where most people live in poverty with little employment opportunity. Over half their people lack access to clean water. With a life expectancy of only fifth years, 60% of Afghans are under age 20 and have only known life with war. Corruption remains rampant and internal strife continues to destabilize the nation. So we see again their need for You.
The status of women deserves special prayer. The Taliban largely banned them from public life. Numerous women die in childbirth in Afghanistan because many cannot receive healthcare from male doctors. Female literacy is under 30%, and one-third of women suffer from violence. Widows face very difficult circumstances, and suicide is common. So we pray for protection, freedom, and opportunity for the women.
And this was the status before the recent takeover by the Taliban. So, Father we pray for the Afghan pastors and church leaders who in July made the difficult decision to formally register their faith with the Afghan government. They did this fully recognizing the potential consequences for themselves, but they did it for the sake of future generations. Since then, some have already received letters from the Taliban stating “We know who you are, what you do, and where to find you.”
We pray for the US citizens and the Afghans who have helped the US in this 20-year war. We pray for their safety and speedy evacuation from the country.
Earlier this week, it was learned that young Christian girls are being pursued by the Taliban. We pray for this vulnerable population – that You will protect them for the suffering and persecution that is to come.
We pray for those that are sick – that they would receive the medical care they need in the midst of the turmoil and uncertainty in government leadership.Father, we are reminded that we need to pray for the Taliban. In Matthew 5:43-44 you say “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’” Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven”. We realize we cannot change hearts, but you can. We pray that You will change the hearts of the Taliban.
And Father the following are specific prayer requests from Afghan Pastors:
We pray for physical protection and provision for them. We pray that You would restrain evil and confuse the plans of evildoers. We pray that you would meet their financial needs with no one able to take out money from the bank and the ATMs are empty. We also ask that You would help them obtain visas to be able to leave the country.
We ask that You would strengthen them in their faith and that they would remain strong in You.
We ask for a revival in this country; that their hope would not be in politics, but in Jesus. While these are dark and tragic times, help us and the Afghan people, to remember that You sit on Your throne in the heavens and You hold the rulers of this world accountable for their actions.