After Withdrawal, Afghan Christians Still Need Your Prayers
In the aftermath of the United States’ withdrawal, brothers and sisters from Afghanistan continue to reach out with requests for prayer. How can you pray for them?
1. Pray for physical protection.
Right now, a number of brothers and sisters in the Lord are in hiding in Afghanistan. If they aren’t able to leave, they don’t know what the next days—much less months—will hold. A few days ago, as it became clear they wouldn’t be able to fly out of the country, one brother told me, “I love Jesus, and I trust him. Even if it comes to the end, I will praise his name.” I wept. I told them what amazing husbands, fathers, and brothers in the Lord they’ve been these past few weeks. They’ve cared for their families valiantly. They’ve endured more suffering than most of us have ever seen. They continue to risk their safety for Christ’s name.
I know what the author of Hebrews means when he speaks of “those of whom this world is not worthy” (Heb. 11:38). In these days, pray for the physical protection of all those who fear bodily harm. Ask our sovereign God to restrain evil, to thwart evildoers, and to confuse those who make wicked plans against his children.
2. Pray for spiritual provision
It’s not surprising that our Afghan brothers and sisters have struggled in their own faith during the recent confusion, turmoil, and danger. Right now, they bear grief and wounds that are hard to imagine and even harder to understand. And yet, at the same time, I’ve received encouraging messages. One brother texted me, “I cannot stop my tears, the good thing is it is because of Christ we are suffering.”
What a vivid, living example of Romans 5: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” These brothers have a hopeful faith. The fire of suffering fuels it.
Pray that the Lord keeps vindicating the confidence of these believers. Pray that our he will continue to sustain and increase their faith.
3. Pray for God’s name to be glorified.
Stable, just government is God’s gift, even to people who don’t recognize it. The recent chaos in Afghanistan has separated and scattered the church. From a human perspective, the Lord’s work to build and grow the church in Afghanistan over the last decades is crumbling. But surely, the church felt the same in its earliest days when “there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered.”
While a great systematic persecution has not yet arisen in Afghanistan, the church is certainly in fear. Threats have begun. Persecution is expected. Pray that, just as in the days of the early church, believers who have been dispersed would go about preaching the Word (Acts 8:4) with the result that there would be “much joy” in the cities (Acts 8:8). Brothers I know in Afghanistan have asked specifically that the global church would pray that “God would remove the fear of man from the church.” They want us to pray that their faith and witness might be strong. And from what I have seen, it is.
In God’s providence, Kabul’s fall has raised the awareness in the global church of what our God is doing in Afghanistan. The new reality on the ground has brought these brothers new fears. The threat is close to them, and they know it. Every Afghan Christian I’ve talked to wants to live, and every Afghan Christian I’ve talked to is prepared to die.
Their trust in the risen Christ is firm. They’re holding fast in faith in our all-wise, sovereign, and kind God. As I was interacting with a few brothers and their wives over the last days and weeks, I sent them these lyrics from “He Will Hold Me Fast”:
Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight, He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast
Knowing and sharing fellowship with Afghan believers is a privilege I don’t deserve. Oh, what the church in the West could learn from them! In these days, your prayers for them and their faith are critical. Pray that the Lord would hold them fast and—through them—give faith to many others.