Pastors across Afghanistan are asking for urgent prayers after they spent two weeks watching the country fall into the hands of Islamist terrorists.
Josh Manley, a pastor of RAK Evangelical Church in the United Arab Emirates, said numerous church leaders across the country have reached out to him in recent days. He released an urgent call for prayer Monday in a blog post for the Christian ministry group 9Marks.
“As Taliban forces have swallowed up Afghanistan and even now the capital city of Kabul, pastors in the country have been emailing and messaging me over the last few days, even hours, anxious for prayer,” Manley wrote.
“Pastoring just a short flight away in the United Arab Emirates, I’ve had the opportunity to build partnerships with these men over the last decade. One house church leader sent me a picture of the small room he was hiding in with his family.”
Manley said the Afghan pastor he was in contact with wrote to him, “This is where I am living. We are hidden right now in different areas.”
The situation is dire for Christians across the country after several officials and veterans have asserted the Biden administration botched the exit from Afghanistan this month after 20 years of U.S. combat operations and occupation.
“We can’t go out like normal. It’s dangerous. We moved to one of my friend’s houses, but it’s not safe at all,” one pastor wrote. Manley noted that several pastors have said the Taliban has already contacted them and warned it will come for them.
Christians preaching God’s word across the country also shared their circumstances with Manley, who asked for prayers for them.
“We need to pray that our sovereign God would physically protect our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. Boldly go to the throne of the universe and plead with our God to restrain evil and confuse the plans of evildoers,” Manley wrote. “Pray also for physical provision.”
One person preaching the gospel in Afghanistan asked Manley to relay a request for prayer “for financial issues because no one can take out money from the bank and ATM’s are empty.”
“Pray for me to be strong in my faith. It is really hard to stay here,” another church leader wrote to him.
Mindy Belz at WORLD Magazine shared on Twitter over the weekend what she has heard from those who are certain to face the wrath of the Taliban.
“A person who works with house church networks in Afghanistan reports its leaders received letters last night from the #Taliban warning them that they know where they are and what they are doing. The leaders say they aren’t going anywhere. So it begins,” Belz tweeted.
A person who works with house church networks in Afghanistan reports its leaders received letters last night from the #Taliban warning them that they know where they are and what they are doing. The leaders say they aren’t going anywhere. So it begins.
— Mindy Belz (@MindyBelz) August 13, 2021
After one pastor said he would bring up the issue to his congregation, and asked for specific quotes from letters, Belz replied, “One letter I’ve confirmed, to a leader now in hiding. ‘We know where you are and what you are doing’ is a rough translation & threatened to come after him.”
One letter I’ve confirmed, to a leader now in hiding. “We know where you are and what you are doing” is a rough translation & threatened to come after him.
— Mindy Belz (@MindyBelz) August 14, 2021
Conservative commentator Benny Johnson shared a video on Sunday of a tearful missionary who explained the perils Afghanistan’s Christians now face.
Christian pastor who built churches in Afghanistan in tears, says the Taliban are going to “exterminate” the Christian church there:
“Pray for the believers there… President Biden has thrown them to the wolves… Pray that they be strong.” pic.twitter.com/kG4Wkt9Ug0
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 15, 2021
Manley asked for prayers for those whose mission has called them to stay in the war-torn country, as well as for those who cannot leave as the Taliban prepares to institute brutal Sharia law.
“A number have specifically asked that we would pray for visas to get out of the country. So let me throw in an additional request to you, dear reader: Is helping secure a visa something that you or someone you know are in a position to help with? If so, do what you can,” Manley wrote.
“Over the past weeks, U. S. missions agencies have pulled out their workers. I have had the great privilege to minister the Word to some of them as they have processed their own grief and confusion,” the pastor continued. “I’m grateful they could get out. Pray for them as well as for any who chose to stay.”
“But pray especially for the Afghans who have no choice but to stay, such as one brother who has already spent time imprisoned for his faith in Afghanistan,” Manley stated.
“He has assured me again and again, ‘We can trust that our Lord is mighty and will care for his children.’ And: ‘Our hope is not in politics but in Jesus who is the King.’”
Manley invoked Hebrews 13:3: “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”
Images in recent days have shown the desperation of locals to leave Afghanistan before Kabul fell. Little media attention, though, has gone toward Christians who face persecution and death as the Taliban regime takes over. Without any state or international bodies committed to protecting persecuted Christians in Afghanistan, they’re asking for prayers.
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