My heart is heavy for the people of Afghanistan today. Chances are good that if you’ve been hearing the same reports that I have, yours is as well. For those who don’t yet know, a terrorist organization took over the country earlier this week, and they have been torturing and killing people and specifically targeting Christians. The details are harrowing. The news is grim at best, and it’s difficult to know what to do or how to respond. For those of us living half a world away, how are we to help in a meaningful way?
As believers, though, we are not without hope! We simply need to turn to Scripture and rest our hearts on the beautiful promises He has given us through His Word. As I’ve prayed through this situation and sought counsel from other believers, the Lord has truly comforted my soul through verses from the Bible.
Above all else, He has laid on my heart the importance of prayer. In fact, there are at least 7 ways we can pray for this desperate situation.
Pray for God’s will to be done
No matter what situation we’re facing, when words seem at a loss, we can always, always pray for God’s will to be accomplished. In fact, this is exactly what Jesus taught His disciples to pray for in Matthew 6:10.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Whether or not it seems like it, God is in complete control. These tragic events have not escaped His notice. He can still bring about good from something so terrible. And so we can ask Him to accomplish His good and perfect will.
Pray for salvation of the lost
As backward as it might seem, persecution almost always results in the spread of the Gospel. One way that God is glorified in situations like this is that undoubtedly, people will be drawn to Himself. We need to be in fervent prayer that in their time of desperation, people will call on the name of the Lord and be saved. There is no greater joy than to hear that someone has accepted Christ as his Savior!
Pray for boldness for the Afghani believers
Right now, we’re told that the Afghani believers especially are being targeted. Many have already lost their lives for their faith, and many more are slated to be killed in the coming days. Persecution of Christians is at an extreme high right now. For more information, you can follow the International Prayer Connect’s updates on Afghanistan.
These are our precious brothers and sisters in Christ. While we cannot be with them in person, we can uphold them in prayer. Will you join me in praying that they would be bold in their witness and that the persecution would cause them to grow in their faith? We can pray also that they would not grow weary and would not lose heart, and that the testing of their faith would produce patience (James 1:2-4). We need to pray that the Lord would comfort their hearts as only He can.
Pray for God’s protection
We can also pray for God’s protection of the Afghani people, saved and unsaved. They are facing incredible hardship and persecution. We need to ask the Lord for physical protection from those who are seeking to take their lives. They need prayer for strength, courage, and wisdom to know how to handle this situation.
Additionally, there are international organizations in the area who have either opted to stay and provide assistance or who were not able to leave before the terrorists took over. They, too, need the Lord’s protection from the evil that they are facing.
Pray for evil to be thwarted
In Genesis 50:20, we read these amazing words from Joseph to his brothers after his brothers tried to take his life:
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this pleasant result, to keep many people alive.”
We can pray and ask God to do the same in this situation in Afghanistan. God is sovereign and can use anything for His glory and our good. Let’s ask Him to work miraculously and thwart the evil plans of the terrorists and prevent them from doing further harm. Pray that God will bring about a “pleasant result.”
Did you know that in Luke 23:46, where Jesus said, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit,” He was actually praying Scripture? I only recently learned that He was quoting Psalm 31:5.
We can follow Jesus’ example and pray Scripture, too. Praying Scripture not only helps us to keep our eyes on Jesus and off of the trials at hand, but it also steadies our hearts on God’s promises to us and reminds us of His faithfulness.
Here are a few verses we can pray through right now:
- Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
- Revelation 6:11: “And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told that they were to rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, was completed also.”
- Revelation 22:2: “On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (emphasis added).
- 1 Peter 1:6-7: “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Pray for Jesus to come quickly
As we watch the situation unfold in the Middle East and wonder what the Lord is bringing about, we can all pray together that the Lord would not tarry in His return. The true answer to the conflict in Afghanistan is the second coming of Christ.
John wrote it perfectly in Revelation 22:20: “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (emphasis added).
Our hearts are broken for the nation of Afghanistan right now, but there is much that we can be praying for. The Lord has not left us without hope, and we can trust that He is working through this terrible situation.
Additionally, I would urge you to consider fasting for an afternoon, reading through Revelation, or organizing a prayer meeting at your church. Despite all that’s going on, we can rest our weary souls in Jesus and in His Word. He truly is our Firm Foundation when everything else feels like sinking sand.
Julie Varner is wife to Jon and mama to their five spark plugs, the oldest of whom has Type 1 Diabetes. When not homeschooling the kids, she blogs at The Hallway Initiative, where she seeks to offer Biblical encouragement to Christian women in seasons of struggle.