With the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan, our sources in the region told us that in the capital Kabul, Taliban fighters went from house to house looking for anyone they considered a threat to their hardline Islamic regime: anyone who cooperated with the West during the Afghan occupation (especially Teachers), LBGTQ+ community and non-Muslims. Since Afghanistan is constitutionally an Islamic country, other religions such as Christianity are regarded as foreign religions.
Open Doors Asia Communications Director Jan Vermeer said: “The situation of Christians is extremely dangerous. Anyone exposed will be severely punished.”
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There are more than 36 million Muslims in Afghanistan and only a few thousand Christians. Believers are facing persecution from the new government and tribal society.
Afghan Christians ask us to stand with them in prayer. Our source said:
Every believer I talked to asked for only one thing: prayer. All the protection on the ground was taken away from them. Only Immanuel is left: Jesus is with us. “
The following 15 prayer points will specifically help you pray.
1. As Christians in Afghanistan wait for the sound of a knock on the door in fear, may they feel God’s embrace.
2. Pray for all believers who lost their loved ones in the attack (whether it was the recent Islamic State bombing or other attacks in the past decade). Father, we pray that your Holy Spirit will comfort them in their grief and heal those injured in these attacks. Our source said: “For us, such attacks have always existed. It is not a question of whether there will be, but a question of when it will come. We are almost never prepared to contend with everything in front of us. We are afraid, but only With God’s grace and mercy, we can move on.”
3. Pray for those believers who want to flee or have left. Pray that they will be safe along the way and get the support and supplies they need when they become refugees on another land. Many people have almost nothing when they seek safety in other countries.
4. Pray for those who stay in place voluntarily or involuntarily. Vermeer said: “Everyone is afraid, and Christians respond differently. Some people are trying to flee the country (or have already fled) while others decide to stay and remain secret believers. Some want to escape. Can’t escape. Some people don’t know what to do.” Pray that God will give believers peace, courage, comfort, and hope that are unexpected. Lord, hide them under your wings. Father, may your children in Afghanistan live in you.
5. The Taliban have made it clear that they will only rule in accordance with Sharia law. During their rule in the 1990s, the Taliban ruled with extreme interpretations of Sharia law, imposed cruel rules on women, and imposed violent punishment on infidels, including Christians who left the Muslim faith to follow Jesus. Pray for God to intervene so that Christians and other religious minorities will not be persecuted.
6. Pray for God to crush the evil plans of extremist organizations such as the Islamic State, ISIS-K, and the Taliban. Pray for the safety of Christians and have the strength to remain faithful in the present and future persecution.
7. Pray for a change in the lives of extremists (like the change from “Saul to Paul”). Pray that God will show Himself to the persecutors in visions and dreams, and see the power and love of Christ like Paul.
8. Pray for sisters who live in fear of kidnapping, rape and forced marriage. As the Taliban begin to weaken the rights of women across the country, Christian girls and women are more likely to be persecuted because of their gender and beliefs. Pray that Afghan women will be protected and respected.
9. Pray for the drought and the new crown epidemic that continue to ravage the country and make the lives of Afghans more and more difficult. Some believers could not get help from their families and tribes because they left Islam to follow Jesus, so I beg the Lord to provide them with medicine and assistance.
10. There are no church buildings in Afghanistan, and many Christians are cut off from the underground network of believers. They feel isolated and helpless, unsure of whom to trust. Pray that the number of secret churches there will increase and become more united.
11. Pray for those Christians who avoid their families and fear being betrayed and handed over to the Taliban. In order to save the honor of the family, the Islamic families in Afghanistan do not hesitate to force their believers to return to Islam. If unsuccessful, Christians may be severed, expelled, tortured, kidnapped or even killed.
12. Afghanistan is one of the largest drug exporters. Pray that under the rule of the Taliban, the drug trade will not deteriorate. Through the power of the Lord to break the power of corruption and drugs; the life character of Afghan Christians will become a beacon of hope.
13. Thank God for Afghans who listen to Christian radio stations or download Christian materials from the Internet. Pray that God will use these media to spread and use His holy words to change and strengthen people’s lives.
14. Pray that God will raise up servant leaders among local believers to serve the kingdom of Christ through prayer, preaching, and making disciples. Pray for their protection and a chance to find fellow Christians.
15. Pray that God will strengthen the power of the universal church and pray together with the secret church in Afghanistan. Pray that God will continue to bring the Afghan family into our hearts and minds in the coming weeks, months and years. Heavenly Father, may the brothers and sisters in Afghanistan receive encouragement in our prayers, let them know that they are supported by the universal body of Christ and they are not alone.
Brother Sam*, Director of Open Doors Asia, said: “For Christians in Afghanistan, this is an uncertain time. This is absolutely dangerous. We don’t know how the Islamic Sharia law will be implemented in the next few months. How will it develop. But we continue to ask you to pray for our brothers and sisters. They are facing an insurmountable predicament. We must keep praying.”
Partners in the region sent this prayer (according to Psalm 57:1-5) to help us cry out before God:
God, have mercy on them, have mercy on them! Because their hearts take refuge in You. They will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster is over. We are to cry out to the Most High God, to the God who argues for us. You sent salvation from heaven and rebuked those who were chasing after. God will save us from heaven, and will also show us his love and honesty. Your children in Afghanistan are among the lions and are forced to live among the greedy beasts; their teeth are guns and arrows, and their tongues are swords. God, may you be exalted above the heavens; may your glory fill the earth. Amen.
(Reference picture: IMB.org)
* Use a pseudonym for security reasons
Stand with secret believers in Afghanistan
Now more than ever, our brothers and sisters need our faithful prayers.
You can organize a prayer time in your own bible study/discipleship groups, churches, and gatherings. We've prepared some materials that may help you.