We don’t hear quite so much about Afghanistan these days, but it is still a country in crisis.
The gospel of Jesus Christ reached Afghanistan in the second century AD, but today there are no physical Christian church buildings in the country. The last was destroyed in 1973.
There is no Christian literature, no Bibles, and no public Christian meetings.
This ancient Central Asian country is full of cultural, legal and religious opposition to the gospel of Jesus.
The lack of security, with increasing Islamic extremism allied to the loyalty to the family, clan and tribe, including their religion, means that mission work to spread the gospel is almost impossible.
Most Afghans today have never heard the gospel and do not know a Christian.
They have been raised since birth to pursue an unquestioning allegiance to the teachings of Muhammad, and to tolerate no other teachings.
Added to this, and following on from successive military campaigns by western forces, the British, the Russian and lastly the Americans, Christianity is seen by most Afghans as an importation of Western Religious Culture, and is also seen as a threat to the Muslim majority and their way of life.
Anyone found to be even exploring Christianity, say on the internet, is subjected to violent persecution which can lead to death, or in some ways worse, being locked up in mental hospitals.
This has led to some converts often living outwardly as a Muslim, including going to the mosque five times a day while all the time holding Jesus close in their hearts.
This is very wearing. Consequently many converts leave the country seeking a new life elsewhere, or sadly often ending up as refugees.
There are more than 50 unique people groups (tribes) in the country where, in spite of the official opposition and dangers, there has been significant growth in Christian converts. House churches are secretly being formed for fellowship, discipleship and teaching, but they are still very small and it is slow and very dangerous work. However, more people are coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Praise the Lord!
• Give thanks to God for the small number of Christian believers in Afghanistan.
• Pray for fortitude, courage and protection for secret Afghan believers.
• Pray for those attending house groups to know your presence and for safety and protection.
• Pray for change to take place within the country, and that openness to religions outside Islam will be accepted and tolerated.
• Pray that university students and professors will have wisdom and discernment to see through and reject the radical ideologies put forward by the extremist groups as they look for more recruits. • Pray for stability and peace in Afghanistan, and an end to tribal differences and fighting.
• Pray for the many Christians who have left the country and now live in other countries or as refugees seeking a new home.