22 Aug 2021
Dear family in Christ
Many of us have been gripped by recent developments at Afghanistan and were moved to prayer. I had received a well-written article and would like to share it with you for your fervent prayers.
“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” 1 Peter 4:16
‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, in Afghanistan’
(17 August 2021)
I struggle to put these swirling thoughts into writing, but this I must do.
Today is one full day after the complete fall of Kabul, and thereby Afghanistan, to the Talibans. There are countless views expressed in both legacy and social media, ranging from disparaging remarks about the Americans to a deep sense of sorrow, sympathy and pain for the ordinary Afghans who now face an uncertain future. Video clips via social media showed thousands of desperate and frightened Afghans converging into the Hamid Karzai International Airport, adding to the many foreigners already there, trying to flee the country, will forever be seared into the mind.
My thoughts go to Messianic Afghans, virtually all of them recently minted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of them, our brethren, will almost certainly face a hostile future, as the Talibans have demonstrated a clear hatred for anything Christian. From the numerous postings that I saw, many Afghan pastors or church leaders, have simply come to grips with what is facing them.
(The exact number of Messianic Afghans is of course unknown, with estimates ranging from 500 to 8000 – with many more who are living outside the country. There are no church buildings in Afghanistan.)
Under such circumstances, how do we pray?
Unpopular as the idea goes, we must accept suffering and persecution as part and parcel of the Christian life, especially so as a consequence of living out a God-honouring life, recalling the words of Paul in 3 Tim 3:12. An equally unpopular idea is to think of the Talibans as part of God’s divine plan for the salvation of the Afghans – with all their myriads of tribal groups and subgroups. Dare we think of God calling the Talibans as ‘my servants’ as he did so with Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:6 and 43:10)?
Without the fall of China to the communists in October 1949, the poster boy being Mao Tse-Tung, the hyper exponential growth of the Church in China over the past 70 years would not have happened! The same may be said about the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in April 1979, the poster boy being Ayatollah Khomeini. Today, the world’s fastest growing church is found in Iran, with an estimated annual growth of 19.6 percent! Both Mao Tse-Tung and Ayatollah Khomeini were vehemently anti-Christian, and yet, they were God’s servants in the unstoppable advance of the Kingdom of God.
We recall these blessed words of Jesus the Messiah, ‘… I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ (Matthew 16:18) as we pray:
“Abba Father, we thank You that you love the Afghans and that Your Son Jesus Christ died for their sins too; and that You desire that they should be reconciled back to You, God Almighty. We praise You that we will see Afghans in all their various tribes and sub-tribes around Your eternal throne.
We come to You to pray for our Afghan brothers and sisters in this present time of crisis and pain. We pray that in the midst of the political and social darkness that is descending upon the Afghans, the light of the Gospel of the Kingdom will shine forth even more brightly; that in the midst of hopelessness, the ‘blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ’ will sustain them. Deliver them, Lord God, from the evil one.
Father in heaven, may Your Kingdom come and Your will be done. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”