When a person in modern culture, especially in the western hemisphere, thinks of Afghanistan, what normally comes to mind is pain and suffering. Perhaps, rightly so. If you are old enough to remember that tragic day on Sept. 11, 2001 when Afghan terrorist, in a massive blow to the mental and geopolitical security of the U.S, upended all we thought we knew about our own security – this is what informs our minds, our hearts, and our emotions when we consider Afghanistan. Even after 20 years of toil and sacrifice of blood and treasure, it is hard not to let our minds go to that fateful day.
As Christians, we must fight the urge to simplify our response to that day. Instead we must pray.
God must have loved the Afghans, because he made them so beautiful.Alexander the Great
We must pray, first and foremost, because we are called to do so. God asks us to love our enemies and friends. And dare I say, the Afghan people are no enemies of mine or our country. They are a beautiful people filled with hospitable culture and reasonableness. The average citizen of Afghanistan loves their country and heritage much like I love mine living in the United States. They want their children to grow up in safety, with a bustling economy, filled with friends, food, and honorable work.
We should want this for them as much as they want it for themselves.
In these last several days as the United States has withdrawn from a score of armed conflict, standing alongside the Afghan people against Al Qaida and the Taliban, we should remember, God rules and over rules in the hearts of men. We, as believers and followers of the great Elohim, should hold up the people to heaven and stand in the gap for their suffering.
I was sent a link to an article outlining specific ways to pray for the people of Afghanistan. I place a few here for your consideration as I see no reason to try and improve upon that which was so well said:
- Physical Protection and Provision – “I asked one brother if he was presently in physical danger. He replied, ‘Not only me but my family too…because of me.'” This unfortunately is the reality for many who are living in Afghanistan and following Jesus.
- Pray for physical protection for all who are in harm’s way. Pray that God intervenes and confuses the plans of the wicked and makes way for His plan to move forward.
- Pray for families that are being separated
- Pray the Lord intervenes in the day-to-day interaction between the Taliban and citizenry
- Pray for supernatural protection for those Jesus-followers who continue to serve him during these days.
- Pray that God opens avenues of escape for those most in need.
- Spiritual Protection – “Every church leader who has emailed or texted me has asked that we would pray for the Lord to strengthen them in their faith—that they would “stay strong in the Lord, who is the Sovereign King,” as one put it.” We have the honor and purpose to stand in the gap for those who have no other option but to be in Afghanistan. It is their home.
- Pray that God continues to lift their spirits and fills their hearts with peace
- Pray that workers and nationals fix their gaze on the king of the universe
- Pray the prayer of the Afghan brother quoted above that they “stay strong in the Lord, who is the Sovereign King”
- Gospel Advance – There are reports of believers asking not only for prayer, but for “revival”, as one brother put it. Facing persecution, torture, and possible death, they are asking God for REVIVAL. This is the faith that only comes from right hearts and right minds. “While our Afghan brothers and sisters face terrible uncertainty, we should be like the believers in Acts 12 who themselves faced serious threats and persecution but, without ceasing, offered up earnest prayers to God.”
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men.” (2 Thes 3:1-2)
Brothers and sisters this is not a time to sit on our spiritual hands and chalk it up to a political issue on which we can take sides. Do we not believe in the might and faithfulness of King Jesus more than politics? Let us take a stand together, not where others will look upon our good works and quote us on social media, but in the quiet, nondescript places of our prayer closets where we meet with God.
Pray boldly. Pray earnestly. God loves the people of Afghanistan – we should too.