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How to pray for Afghanistan

Please pray for Afghanistan

The speed at which the Taliban have taken over the country was unanticipated even by the most seasoned security analysts (including clearly the US Government). Many thought it would be a long time before Kabul had any chance of falling to the Taliban. Many expats have left and clearly many Afghans seek to do so. You will have seen the desperation.

My friend’s daughter is waiting to see if her university will reopen. Having seen a news report of the Taliban a few weeks ago forcing girls into marriage (though I have to say that is not so common and also it is true that in conservative families generally girls do not have any choice regards who they marry), she announced that if it happened to her, she would kill herself. The current situation has struck terror into the hearts of women, especially young women. The current Taliban’s extremely conciliatory and forgiving approach, which they are sharing with journalists is at odds with their previous behaviour so we are all waiting to see what will happen.

Despite the pictures of complete chaos at the airport, the rest of Kabul has been largely calm apart from some opportunistic criminal activity. There are some reports from Kandahar of house to house searches for former commanders in the Afghan army.

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At the moment, girls continue at School

However also in Kandahar, it has been reported that girls continue to go to school. If so this is a huge difference from the 1990’s though even then the Taliban said they would reopen girls’ schools once an Islamic system was in place and they did pay the female school teachers throughout their time in control. The Taliban will bring many challenges but having lived in Afghanistan in the 1990s I know they may well bring a stability security wise that the country needs.

Girls at school in Afghanistan - pray for Afghanistan

How can I pray for Afghanistan?

Let’s pray the different Taliban groups don’t fall out with each other as the Mujahideen did. We do not want civil war.

Pray for displaced people with no homes and limited or no income. Prices will temporarily go very high for basic foods which will affect the poor. Pray the trade routes re-open with Pakistan and Iran.

Pray for believers – especially if some of the group leaders have fled the country. It is understandable but this may leave the poor and vulnerable and uneducated without leadership. There are some reports by organisations online that the Taliban has a list of Afghan believers they are looking for. If true I wonder how they would compile such a list given that believers are very much secret believers. True or not, Afghan believers will be frightened. Pray God’s peace and protection for them.

Generally the Taliban see all westerners and non-Muslim democratic countries as “Christian”. The risk to expatriates working in the country may increase. It did become particularly bad in 2014 and 15. Really, ever since NATO announced the withdrawal of troops back in 2014 the security situation, and the funding situation has worsened.

Please pray for Afghans who are very fearful, especially women

Also, please pray for expats who have remained in country (either by choice or it was impossible to leave) and for those out who wish to return. People will return. Life will change for everyone. The Taliban may ensure better security but what will be the trade off? I once asked a group of Afghans, “If you had to choose between safety and education what would you choose?’ They hesitated and then all, including the women, said “Security!”

Pray for peace and stability in Afghanistan

As we pray for Afghanistan  – Where is God in all this?

Proverbs 19 verse 21:

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Where is God in all this? “How long O Lord, how long…?” we echo with the words of Psalm 13 or with Habakkuk “How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?” Christians have prayed for Afghanistan for decades. Still there has been so much violence and destruction. We acknowledge that God is sovereign. His ways are above our ways Isaiah says. Let’s see what God will do in the current situation.

These “Covid Days” have given us all a taste of what it feels like to face death as a possibility. Some reading this may have had relatives who have passed away. It has given us feelings of uncertainty on a scale that we are not used to. This kind of uncertainty is what people in Afghanistan live with all the time. They lose hope.

I know families who use all their savings (even selling their property) to send one son to the “west” to see if they can get asylum hoping that eventually other family members can join them, or at the very least that this son will take their hope into the future and build a new life away from the violence.

Thank God he loves the Afghans! Please pray God will raise up more people (expats and locals) who feel God is calling them to model Christ by their lives in a difficult situation and when possible to sensitively share about Jesus. Afghanistan is 2nd on the persecution index for Christians. With Habakkuk we can also say “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy!”

In the midst of all this there is “good news”. Some Afghans continue to have great vision for Afghanistan and work tirelessly for the poor of the country. Afghans continue to decide to follow Jesus (estimates of numbers vary considerably from very low to very high) and now there are Christian families spanning several generations.

A poor believing Afghan friend, despite her inability to find enough work to pay her bills which creates constant worry, continues to follow Jesus. I have seen her heartfelt praise to God for his provision at times of extremity. She is genuine. There are others who have become believers in other countries and return to work in country. Yet more who minister from out of country using the web. The advance of technology and the increasing use of smart phones means people can have the Bible on their phones which is so much safer for them. They can also access so much more information. If you visit Afghanistan you will see no evidence of Christianity externally but God IS at work.

Thank you for praying for the Afghan people.

 

Giovanna

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