The withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan and the subsequent takeover by Taliban forces has plunged the nation into a crisis. The ripple effects of this crisis are being felt worldwide. Prayer and intercession for the Nation of Afghanistan is needed now more than ever. In this Discerning the times, we shall briefly consider some of the areas which need covering in prayer.
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The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan is undermining the work done over the past 20 years. The United States and the United Kingdom became militarily involved in Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. They defeated the Taliban, which had been a center for the jihadist terrorist training which resulted in the terrorist attacks on the US and western countries and sought to bring stability and democracy to the nation of Afghanistan.
For the last 20 years, the US has invested in the training and equipping of the Afghan National Security Forces and providing education and assistance to a generation that has grown up without Taliban rule. The resurgence of Taliban rule is destroying all the work that has been done in the past 20 years. It is a military, political, and humanitarian disaster.
Spiritually, what is happening indicates the enemy’s work—an enemy who wants to destroy life and create misery. Intercessors need to step into the gap to constrain the evil schemes that are being unleashed. It is time to step into the gap, pray and intercede.
A Revelatory Event
It is essential to recognize that this is a revelatory event, through which we, directed by the Holy Spirit, can glimpse an insight into the incredibly evil schemes that the enemy is seeking to unleash. While we see the evil taking place, it is necessary to look beyond what the enemy is doing to what the Lord is doing. Satan reacts to moves of the Holy Spirit by stirring up evil. God has been working in the nation of Afghanistan to grow the church there.
“According to the research organization Operation World, Iran has the fastest-growing evangelical movement in the world. The second-fastest-growing church is in Afghanistan—where Afghans are being reached in large part by Iranians.” 1
The swiftness of the Taliban’s move to take over Afghanistan has been unexpected and alarming. But it is not altogether surprising. While the church has been growing during the last 20 years, it has not received support from political and military establishments. The United States military burned a set of bibles sent from a church to an individual serviceman because the distribution of Bibles by the military would be seen as proselytization, which could have led to violent reprisals from Muslim groups.2 At the same time the Afghan government has during recent years arrested and persecuted Christians.3
The message of the gospel, which can bring true transformation, has been consistently hindered. At the same time, the hard work of the military, educators, politicians, and diplomats has been extensive. It is only the gospel that can truly bring change to a nation. The active resistance to the gospel has hindered the transformation at a political and social level.
As Dr. Eugene Bach notes, “The return of the Taliban was inevitable, because the Afghan interim government that was supported by the west ultimately believed in the same ideas taught in the Koran – ideas that restrict freedom of religion, persecutes Christians, and openly attacks those who follow Jesus.”4
While human endeavors have attempted to block the Gospel, God has continued to reach out to the Afghan people, and the church has been growing. So, it is not surprising to see a backlash with this resurgence of the radical Islamic stronghold expressed through the Taliban.
The Spiritual Battle
There is a battle that is taking place in Afghanistan which is beyond military force. It is a spiritual battle. Unfortunately, most people, especially in the West, have been blinded to the spiritual reality, which is foundational to understanding what is happening. Many people view what is happening as merely the result of ideological differences between the Taliban and the western world. They fail to see the Taliban as Islamic Jihadists motivated by Islam who want to see Sharia law completely instituted in the land.
There is a western blindness to recognizing this alternative world view, which rejects democracy and Christianity.
In an interview on Sky News, General Sir Nick Carter, the United Kingdom’s chief of the defense staff, describes the Taliban as “country boys” who have a code of honor and standards. They dislike corrupt governments and self-serving governance, and instead, they want an Afghanistan which is inclusive for all. He goes on to state that he believes the Taliban has changed.
Watch General Sir Nick Carter here.
What is missing is an understanding of the spiritual roots and foundation of everything that is happening. Demonic cloaking is preventing reality from being seen. It is hiding the re-establishment of the demonic stronghold of radical Islam, whose purpose is to attempt to block the advancement of the gospel and God’s kingdom on the earth.
The majority of the world’s media is focused upon the humanitarian disaster that is taking place. The focus is upon refugees, women’s rights as well as rights of the LGBTQ community. While all of this is important, there’s been little mention of the persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Increasingly reports from Christian agencies working in Afghanistan are saying the Taliban is actively seeking out believers to kill after possible torture to get information on other believers. 5
The Taliban is a movement within radical Islam, which intends to create a nation that Islam rules through Sharia law. Freedom of religion will not exist. Persecution and death will face Christians and anyone who converts to Christianity. Women’s rights will be severely restricted. And corporal punishment will become the norm.
Intercessors must hold this nation, especially the believers in this nation, up in prayer and intercession.
There are broader international political implications to what is happening. The removal of UK and US troops can be viewed as an abandonment of the nation, and both governments have come under severe criticism for their actions, but the ripple effects are more serious.
The United States has, up to this point, has functioned as a military deterrent in our world to nations who would seek to invade or negatively influence other countries. As a result of these current actions, those deterrents have been removed. The current US administration could be perceived to be weak. A real potential outcome will be that other nations take action, confident that the United States will not oppose them.
Zhu Yongbiao, a Chinese government advisor on central Asia, is quoted in the Financial Times
“China has benefited from the irresponsible behavior of [the US], which has deeply undermined the international image of the US and the relationship between Washington and its allies.” 6
Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who sent UK troops into Afghanistan 20 years ago, stated:
“Russia, China and Iran will take advantage, he said, adding: “Anyone given commitments by Western leaders will understandably regard them as unstable currency.” 7
This could have disastrous consequences for Taiwan, which is continually under threat from China. But also for Israel, which has relied upon US support as it deals with hostile nations surrounding it. China’s influence in the current situation in Afghanistan is concerning and needs to be an ongoing prayer concern.
How do we Pray?
1. Ask the Lord, “Is this my assignment?”
Many things are going on in our world, and we need to be listening to the Holy Spirit as he directs and guides us as to what He wants us to pray for.
2. If so, ask the Lord, “what do you want me to focus my prayers on?”
There are many different aspects of this situation that the Lord may call you to pray for. It’s helpful to remember that you do not have to pray for everything. Instead, you need to let the Holy Spirit guide you and show you what area He wants you to focus upon. The Lord is orchestrating the work of prayer that is taking place and will show you where he wants you to be focused.
Here are some suggestions of ways to pray in some of the different areas. This is not an exhaustive list. Let the Holy Spirit guide you as you pray. If you include the following, that’s great. If the Spirit leads you to pray for something else, then please follow His lead.
Prayers for Compassion
The Lord is a God of compassion. He loves the world, and he loves the Afghan people.
- Pray for the nation of Afghanistan and for the Lord’s will to be done within that country.
- Pray for courage for the Afghan believers who remain in the country. Pray that the Lord would increase their faith in the face of persecution and give them wisdom about how to live.
- Pray for wisdom for believers looking to leave the country. Pray for the wisdom to know how and when to do that.
- Pray for the officials who are working to get people out of the country. With the deadline approaching, pray that hostilities will hold off so that as many people can be evacuated from the country as possible.
- Pray for God’s blessing upon the Afghani people who have been able to leave the country but who have left family behind and are now fearful for their survival. Pray for God’s protection for those family members and for God’s grace and peace for those who have left the country.
- Pray for the refugees who are now looking to rebuild their lives in a new country. Pray that the church would be ready to help provide support for these Afghan refugees.
- Pray for compassion for government officials who are involved in the resettlement programs.
Pray for the Spiritual aspects that are taking place
- Pray that as evil tightens its grip upon the nation that the light and hope of the gospel will begin to shine brighter. Pray that the Lord would pour out his mercy upon the Afghan people through dreams and visions of Jesus, which would draw people to faith.
- Pray that the Lord would have mercy upon the Taliban leaders and members and that he would reveal himself to them, even leading them to have a great fear of the Lord.
- Pray that the demonic cloaking would be pierced so that the world may see what is taking place and the broader political implications.
- Pray that evil would be constrained.
- Pray for the future of Afghanistan and that the lawlessness espoused by the Taliban will eventually collapse.
- Pray that the stronghold would not be re-established and that the Lord would frustrate Satan’s plans and purposes.
- Pray that any evil alliances seeking to be established between nations or organizations would be exposed and neutralized.
- Pray that any negative influences by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would also be exposed and neutralized.
- Pray for political leaders around the world to respond with wisdom to the current situation.
This article from www.9Marks.org also gives good directions for prayer. Afghan Pastors ask for Prayer.
Let the Holy Spirit lead you as you pray.
Add your own prayer in the comments below. If the Lord gives you discernment and guidance that may be helpful, please share it with us.
Share With Your Friends
- The incident was covered by CNN https://youtu.be/QL0XgbSUubI
- Dr. Eugene Bach, in an article written for the Back to Jerusalem movement, articulates some of the reasons why the Taliban has been able to return to power in Afghanistan and how the gospel was blocked by both military and political leaders. “The REAL Reason the Taliban Is Back In Power That No One Is Talking About,”
- The REAL Reason the Taliban Is Back In Power That No One Is Talking About,”
- Dutch Sheets shares reports from ministry leaders in Afghanistan who are saying martyrdom is already occurring https://www.givehim15.com/post/august-20-2021
- https://www.ft.com/content/7ceb9e3b-bd6e-43fe-bb86-80353249e6ac (Quoted in Dutch Sheets Give Him 15 https://www.givehim15.com/post/august-20-2021)