MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, August 19th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: praying for Afghanistan.
MONTAGE: There are scenes of panic and pandemonium at Kabul airport today, as desperate people try to flee the country...Pictures from earlier of Taliban fighters behind the desk of the presidential palace...The Taliban fighters carrying guns entered into the branch, women there were forced to quit immediately...I left from the Taliban like 20 years ago. Now we go back to the first step again.
With so much heartbreak unfolding in Afghanistan right now, many Christians around the world are asking the question: “How should we pray?”
WORLD’s Emily Whitten brings this report.
EMILY WHITTEN, REPORTER: It’s not hard to see that Afghanistan needs prayer right now. But it can be hard to know how to pray. Many individual Christians and organizations have stepped in recently to answer that question on social media and other outlets. For instance, more than 7,000 people have already viewed Emma Mae McDaniel’s August 16th youtube video, Pray For Afghanistan.
MCDANIEL: There is encouragement knowing that even whenever you’re not in a physical place where danger and chaos is happening, you can still have spiritual impact and bring help where it is needed even when you’re millions of miles away because of the power of prayer.
On Twitter recently, I especially appreciated a thread by K.A. Ellis, the Director of the Center for the Study of the Bible and Ethnicity. She tweeted, “Pray for the preservation of fragile lives, and for the softening of hardened hearts. Pray that seeing eyes would be struck blind, and the innocent would be hidden from their pursuers.”
Those are all good suggestions.
For my report, I managed to track down someone else with an ear to the ground of the persecuted church: David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA.
CURRY: What we are encouraging people to do is to pray for Afghanistan. We're asking them first to pray for an end of the violence and for God to give wisdom to leaders in the midst of this. I think, also, we have to be honest, we got to pray for the Taliban, we got to pray, both for their salvation, but also that God would intervene in the midst of the situation.
Beyond political peace and security, Curry says there’s a critical need for basic necessities.
CURRY: I pray for for those that are hungry, because food is going to be an issue, infrastructure issues are going to be an issue and getting people the care that they need. [cut words] I mentioned COVID because the medical situation is is you know, going to be is severe.
Afghanistan is number two on Open Doors’ World Watch List. Next to North Korea, it’s the most difficult country to be a Christian. That means the country definitely needs prayer for Christian revival.
So, what do believers need to grow, even under persecution?
CURRY: The ability to meet, to share, to learn from each other, to commune together, to learn based on scripture, I think these are critical elements.
To help believers pray more consistently, Open Doors offers many helpful resources on the org website and prayer app. But they aren’t the only ones helping Christians step up their game. A number of organizations, missionaries and churches offer resources like email newsletters, podcasts and vlogs to encourage and equip prayer.
When my kids were young, we used a map from Voice of the Martyrs to guide our daily prayers. All of these resources can make it easier to pray for your suffering brothers and sisters in Christ.
For his part, Curry says he often sees prayer have a huge impact.
CURRY: We had one story about a pastor in rural Vietnam, was totally overwhelmed, had been imprisoned. And we posted his prayer requests on our app. Meanwhile, we had a team member in Vietnam, who happened to be meeting with him. And right in the midst of that, this team member was able to pull up and see all of the prayer requests that were coming from around the US for that individual person.
Prayer encouraged the pastor to keep going. Soon after, things turned around for him.
CURRY: I can tell story after story after story, how prayer changes things. These are situations, whether it be North Korea or anywhere else that they seem intractable, but things do move.
To close today, I wanted to go beyond talking about prayer. I asked David Curry to offer a prayer so we could pray along with him.
CURRY: Father, we pray for those people right now in Afghanistan, who are hungry, who were sick, who are now displaced, who are suffering. And we pray for the future. We pray for the leaders there, we pray for those, even those people who seize control who have evil intent, we pray, God, that you would intercede miraculously in their hearts, their mind. We pray that you would frustrate those who seek to do wrong and to hurt, that you would make their way so difficult. God, we want everybody to know Jesus, but we pray for protection, peace. We know the pain, we know the brutality, we know the history, but yet we are going to speak hope into the midst of darkness, as dark as it gets, then that means our little light is going to be seen all the better. And Lord, that's what we pray for this situation and for persecuted believers everywhere, those who are hurting and in prison, hungry because they've decided to call themselves by your name. Be with them today. Miraculously, your presence be with them. May they know others are praying for them. And I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Emily Whitten.
For more on prayer for Aghanistan, see “Afghanistan: One thing to do now,” by David George Moore
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.