These past few days have certainly shaken the church worldwide as we worry for those who are in Afghanistan as the Taliban have seized control of the country. So for now, we pray that God will be with the families, missionaries, and soldiers who are currently in Afghanistan.
But as many of us are at a loss for words, we may not know how to begin to start to pray for the country and those found within it. Many of us may know someone who is in the country or know of missionary families, military, or others. For those of us who may not know someone personally, it still breaks our hearts to hear that so many vulnerable women, children, Christians, military members, and others are in a dangerous situation right now.
Below are some ways that we can pray, even when the right words won’t come. We’ve also included some excerpts of other prayers for a place to get started if you aren’t sure where to begin.
What Is Happening in Afghanistan?
According to Christian Headlines, “The Taliban – a repressive Islamic regime – took over the Afghanistan capital of Kabul on Sunday as the United States military continued its withdrawal from Afghanistan. President Biden had ordered all troops pulled from the country by September.”
Although many of the troops have evacuated the country, as well as many of the country’s inhabitants, many are left behind. This may include the numbers estimated by Christian Headlines between 10,000 to 12,000 Christians. Because many of those Christians had converted from Islam, this puts them in a highly precarious position with the Taliban, whose punishment for such a conversion would result in death.
Believers have faced great persecution in Afghanistan before the Taliban took over on Sunday, but with the events that took place over this past weekend, many Christians have faced threats of death. “World Magazine’s Mindy Belz reported that house church network leaders in Afghanistan “received letters” from the Taliban “warning them that they know where they are and what they are doing” according to Christian Headlines.
Christians around the world have been encouraged to pray that their brothers and sisters in Afghanistan may experience peace, strength, and courage in the coming days.
Why Should We Pray for Afghanistan?
It may seem like a silly question because we should pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world at all times. But in the face of this stark reality, many of us may experience despair or great sadness in the face of this. We mourn for our brothers and sisters overseas and may not pray because we don’t know the best words to say. We may feel helpless in this situation and aren’t sure where to start.
But the Bible encourages us to pray in all circumstances, even in the direst of them (Ephesians 6:18). God treasures our prayers, even if we don’t know the right words to say at the moment or are worried that our prayers are fruitless against terrorist organizations such as the Taliban. We need to understand that God is continually working, even in the scariest of circumstances. He is far stronger than any enemy, and he will be with his people to grant them peace, courage, and strength.
The Bible says that Christians will endure hardships and persecution (James 1:2-4). But that doesn’t mean we should stop praying. If anything, we should pray even more so.
How Do I Pray for Afghanistan?
There isn’t a right formula for prayer. Prayers can be spontaneous. They can be cries of confusion and hurt. They can even be something as simple as, “Jesus, help.”
When it comes to the situation in Afghanistan one of the best ways we can pray is for the people. Below are some major groups affected by the Taliban occupation in Afghanistan, and some ways to pray for these people.
Christians in Afghanistan
As mentioned above, many of those who are Afghans converted from Islam. The extremist Taliban group has made it clear that the penalty for conversion to Christianity from Islam is death. For our brothers and sisters, we should pray that God may grant them peace and courage.
Missionaries in Afghanistan
Similar to our Afghan brothers and sisters, missionaries in Afghanistan are facing the penalty of death with Taliban groups. These men and women have bravely set their lives on the line to fulfill the Great Commission. Pray that God be with them as they await the next few days as events unfold.
Military and Loved Ones
Not all troops have evacuated Afghanistan in the past few days. Pray for the safe travels of those who are traveling back home, through war-torn countries. Lift also those up who remain in Afghanistan that God may protect them and keep them safe.
Pray that our world leaders remember Afghanistan and concert their efforts and energies toward making sure as many people are safe and taken care of. Pray that they may make decisions that can preserve lives and that God may help them to make the best decisions possible, done so in humility and diplomacy.
The People of Afghanistan
Many people remain in the country and await what will happen over the next few days. Many of these people are vulnerable groups such as women and children. Pray that God places a hedge of protection around these people and that they may be able to remain safe.
It may seem difficult to pray that God may soften the hearts of the enemies of his people. Knowing the atrocities the Taliban has committed may make it hard to pray for them. But a sample prayer from Crosswalk.com may offer a helpful way to do so:
“Lord, even when it doesn’t make sense to our earthly selves, you call us to pray for those who persecute (Matthew 5:44). We lift up the Taliban to you today. We pray that your Holy Spirit would work in them and soften their hearts.
Only you truly know their hearts, Lord. Just as we are your children, help us to remember that they are your children as well and you love them deeply. Help us to desire the restoration of their hearts and welcome them with open arms into the family of Christ when their hearts are changed. You alone can work in their hearts and minds, and we pray that through this process we see a transformation and revival. Let us continue to lift them up to you in love, knowing that you came to save each and every one of us.
We know that ultimately, God is sovereign over all things. No matter what wars are being waged, won, or lost here on earth, God will have the victory in the end. It’s so hard for us to see this reality while we live through fearful and uncertain events. But by turning our eyes to God and lifting up our fears and desires to him, we can truly know that he is in control.”
Our prayers matter, and now, more than ever, we need to lift up Afghanistan to our all-powerful God, who has the power to protect, transform hearts, and enact his plans that no man can hinder.
Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Amaury Gutierrez
This article is from our Prayers for the Christian Faith to help you in finding powerful prayers of popular topics. Here are some of our most popular prayers for encouragement in your walk of faith, love for others, and praising God: