Pray for Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan

In Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan it is true that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. The statistics below show just how great the need is for the light of Jesus to penetrate the darkness that veils these nations from the truth. War, terrorism, and governments keep their people from hearing the gospel. And yet, Jesus loves these people dearly and longs for them to come to right relationship with him. It is time for us, as the Church, to partner with Jesus in seeing Iraqis, Iranians and Afghans saved.

Iraq

Total Population: 40,480,000

Population Unreached: 39,245,000 (98%)

Evangelical Population: 0.20%

Iran

Total Population: 83,865,000

Population Unreached: 83,536,000 (99.6%)

Evangelical Population: 1.19%

Afghanistan

Population: 38,740,000

Population Unreached: 38,723,000 (99.9%)

Evangelical Population: 0.02%

 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for believers in these three nations to be bold in their proclamation.
  • Pray for strength and joy as they endure persecution.
  • Pray for Iraqis, Iranians, and Afghans to experience dreams and visions of Jesus.
  • Pray for believers from nearby countries to choose to live in these three nations as missionaries.
  • Pray for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.
  • Pray for a church planting movement to develop in these three countries.
  • Pray for Jesus to be glorified in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.

Pray for the Middle East and North Africa

In the words of Samuel Zwemer, known as the Apostle to Islam, “If you want to do the most difficult task in the world, but the most rewarding, work with Muslims.”

In an area spanning 22 nations from Morocco to Oman lies the home of 407 million people, 95% of whom have never heard about Jesus. Within this region is the birthplace of Islam, making its inhabitants very resistant to the gospel. The desert climates, continual wars, persecution, and other hardships make it all the more difficult for Christian workers to share the truth of Jesus in this area.

And yet, in an area that seems so hostile to the gospel, Muslims are coming to Jesus.  They are having dreams and visions. They are encountering the Word of God through social media and technology. The Lord is truly moving among Arab Muslims like never before, making himself known to a people in desperate need of him.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for more laborers to choose to leave the comforts of home to live among Arab Muslims with to share the truth with those in their new community.
  • Pray for Muslims to have encounters with Jesus through dreams and visions.
  • Pray for whole families to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
  • Pray for strength and joy through persecution.
  • Pray for healthy churches of believers from a Muslim background to be planted throughout the Arab World.
  • Pray that the message of Jesus would be accessible to all Muslims in the Arab World and for Christian workers to be creative and divinely inspired as they use technology to reach those who have never heard.
  • Pray that Jesus would be glorified in the Arab World.

Pray for an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit…. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Joel 2:28-29, 32)

Peter quoted the prophet Joel in Acts 2:17-21 in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. On that day 3,000 people came to faith in Jesus resulting in the start of the Church. May we, as followers of Jesus, look to this story and say, “Do it again, Jesus!” Believing by faith that God can and will pour out his Spirit on the Muslim world around the world resulting in healthy, vibrant, reproducing churches.

Prayer Points: 

  • Pray for the Lord to pour out his Spirit around the Muslim world.
  • Pray for many Muslims to see the outpouring of the Spirit and recognize the power of Jesus and their need of him.
  • Pray for the Lord to plant his church in the Muslim world.
  • Pray for Jesus to be glorified in the Muslim world.

 

Pray for 500 Million Muslims in 3 Countries

Pray for the 500+ Million Muslims – almost one-third of the Muslim World – living in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh

“For there is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.” – 1 Corinthians 16:9

Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are the second, third, and fourth largest Muslim countries in the world. Only about seventy years ago this region used to be one country. It houses the largest population with the highest concentration of Muslims, on the smallest land mass in the world. While many Muslims on the western side speak Urdu—and on the eastern side speak Bengali—there are still 75+ languages that have no scripture. While some local catalysts are sparking a few disciple-making movements, there are still less than 3 field workers per million Muslims working in this region with people groups less than 2% Christian witness.

Quick Facts

  • Muslim Population of Pakistan ~195 million
  • Muslim Population of India ~190 million
  • Muslim Population of Bangladesh ~150 million
  • Percentage of All Muslims ~ 28%
  • Muslim Unreached People Groups ~800

*derived from: www.worldodemeters.info; www.pbs.gov.pk; www.census2011.co.in; www.joshuaproject.net

Life in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh

From the snow-laden mountaintops of the Himalayas in Pakistan, reaching into India—to the rural villages, crowded cities, beaches and jungles of India—to the rural farms and rivers of Bangladesh, the diversity in these three countries are apparent. But all three countries are rich in the valuable resources of fertile land, populous labor, and a long history. In many places, the countries still deal with undercurrents of cultural tension between Muslims and Hindu’s—and each country struggles to economically sustain a massive population on a small land mass. Also, with a sliver of witness for Jesus Christ in all Muslim people groups, Judeo-Christian ethics and Biblical values have not permeated their worldview.

Opportunities

Christians represent a tiny percentage of the population. But because of the country’s large population, a sizable number of Christians exist that could be mobilized to reach out to nearby Muslim people groups. All three countries can offer business visas to entrepreneurial foreigners. Believing, intentional outsiders can bless the communities in which they live while working towards a disciple-making movement. Language schools, vocational training, and other service-based businesses may do well. In Pakistan, foreigners with degrees might teach in universities. India tends to favor businesses that hire locals. Bangladesh could also benefit from agricultural or community development specialists.

“I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19

Pray for…

  • 50 million Muslims to come to faith in Jesus Christ in the next ten years in this region.
  • Spiritually mature local believers to commit to authentic, reproducible discipleship among Muslims in these countries.
  • Strongholds of Islamic extremism to be rendered ineffective in Pakistan.
  • Young people to navigate the tension between innovation and tradition, choosing Jesus with their families, in India.
  • For long-term transformation in the battle against extreme poverty in Bangladesh.

Pray for Dreams and Visions

“About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, ‘Cornelius!’” (Acts 10:3).

Zira was born into a very devout Muslim family. Her mother taught her to pray toward Mecca five times each day. She learned to submit to her father and brothers, knowing that by doing so she was honoring her family. When she was of age, she began covering her hair with a hijab, believing that modesty brought honor to her and her family. She fasted during Ramadan. She gave alms. By all accounts she was a good Muslim.

But she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more. With every bow of her head to the ground, she questioned if this was what God truly wanted. She watched her family as they worked hard to fulfill the requirements set by their religion. She wondered why it was so important to please this God who seemingly didn’t want to know her. She continued in her piety but silently questioned the emptiness in her heart.

Those questions continued to plague her heart until one night she was wakened by someone saying her name. It wasn’t a voice she recognized. From the safety of her bed, she frantically searched for the source of the voice. Her eyes settled on a man standing at the foot of her bed. Startled, she froze knowing that if her family found this man in her room she would be punished. As she summoned her courage to look at the man who had entered her room, she first noticed that light seemed to emanate from within him. As he said her name again, she was overcome with a depth of love she had never known before. When this man revealed himself to be Jesus, she knew she would never be the same. She knew she would do anything to continue following him.

Every day Muslims around the world are experiencing visions and dreams. Jesus is calling Muslims to himself. Let us pray that the hearts of Muslims are open to the truth in these dreams and visions.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for Jesus to reveal himself to Muslims through dreams and visions.
  • Pray that Muslims will be open to receiving the message of Jesus through dreams and visions.
  • Pray for Christian workers to be in the lives of those experiencing dreams and visions to share the gospel with them.
  • Pray for Jesus to be glorified among Muslims.

Next Steps after 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

This October, with praise and thanksgiving, we recall past counsel and inquire of the Lord about next steps

40 Days of prayer and fasting was a wonderful time to slow down, rest, listen and lean into our conversation with God. During this time many were reminded of God’s biblical promises and his specific guidance for our lives. Many were refreshed in the sweetness of God’s presence and how being with him must remain our core focus.

After this intense time of attending to God, a question often rises up – “What next?” This month we will together remember what God’s done in this season of prayer and fasting. We will lean into what he’s shown and continue to ask for his direction. How do we keep abiding a core part of our lives? How can we walk out abiding in community? How can our good works flow from this peaceful place of God’s presence? How can we disciple our families and new believers in knowing God experienctially? Does God want to teach us further about how to pray for 10% of Muslims to be saved?

Today, ask God to focus you on one or two key things. What has he shown you or reminded you of that is important for the next season of life? This may be as simple as cultivating praise. He may invite you to stay in a place of rest. It may be a point of spiritual development. It may be the gift of releasing a people group burden from your shoulders and handing it back to God. It may be practicing the presence of God in some way. It may be direction for a life transition. Hold these few things in your mind an heart and ask God to continue showing you how you can engage these things in the coming months.

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting Focused on Abiding

This month we enter into 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Pray for the body of Christ to walk in unity and love as they consider the invitation to take pause.

40 Days 2020 is a global prayer event inviting all laborers to cease striving, rest, and enjoy the Lord’s presence. During that rest, we quietly lay before the Lord our petition to save 10% of the Muslim world. The event runs from August 24th to October 4th, 2020. This includes 40 days of fasting and two days of celebration.

 

The 40 Days ethos is captured in these points:

 

1. We lay down our own plans and agendas and strategies and simply listen to the Lord praying:

Father, Missions is your concern…

How can we better focus on You in it?

Here we are, available… use us as You see fit

2. We pray daily “Jesus, Fill us anew and afresh with the Holy Spirit.”

3. We pray that 10% of our UPG/people/city/country will be saved by 2028.

4. We take advantage (as we choose) of the daily prayer ideas offered on the 10/10 prayer app and/or any prayer points our organization makes available.

5. We fast in whatever way the Lord leads us for whatever portion of the 40 days.

 

Together we withdraw from our work as much as the present season allows. We embrace fasting and enter into interior sacrifices of love for our Lord. In an age of self and busyness and noise, we stop ourselves and focus our heart, soul, strength and mind on embracing God’s presence. Through our silence and ceasing, we send a quiet longing to heaven. As we abide and wait, one of the great cries of our time will resound in heaven’s ears. What is quiet here will reverberate before his throne. He promised us he will incline his hear when we wait upon him. So, we will lean into his promise and trust him to be faithful in meeting us in our need.

 

 

Preparation for 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

This month we focus on prayerful preparations for 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Pray for the body of Christ to walk in unity and love as they consider the invitation to take pause.

40 Days 2020 is a global prayer event inviting all laborers to cease striving, rest, and enjoy the Lord’s presence. During that rest, we quietly lay before the Lord our petition to save 10% of the Muslim world. The event runs from August 24th to October 4th, 2020. This includes 40 days of fasting and two days of celebration.

The 40 Days ethos is captured in these points:

1. We lay down our own plans and agendas and strategies and simply listen to the Lord praying:

Father, Missions is your concern…

How can we better focus on You in it?

Here we are, available… use us as You see fit

2. We pray daily “Jesus, Fill us anew and afresh with the Holy Spirit.”

3. We pray that 10% of our UPG/people/city/country will be saved by 2028.       

4. We take advantage (as we choose) of the daily prayer ideas offered on the 10/10 prayer app and/or any prayer points our organization makes available.

5. We fast in whatever way the Lord leads us for whatever portion of the 40 days.

Together we withdraw from our work as much as the present season allows. We embrace fasting and enter into interior sacrifices of love for our Lord. In an age of self and busyness and noise, we stop ourselves and focus our heart, soul, strength and mind on embracing God’s presence. Through our silence and ceasing, we send a quiet longing to heaven. As we abide and wait, one of the great cries of our time will resound in heaven’s ears. What is quiet here will reverberate before his throne. He promised us he will incline his hear when we wait upon him. So, we will lean into his promise and trust him to be faithful in meeting us in our need.

Pray for Fundamentalist Muslim Groups

Fundamentalist Muslim groups plague the earth. Even so, Jesus loves them.

“And Saul approved of his [Stephen’s] execution” (Acts 8:1 ESV).

Saul/Paul was a notorious persecutor of Christians. So much so that Ananias, when he was asked by the Lord to go to Saul answered, “Lord I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13 ESV). Ananias was frightened of this fundamentalist.

And yet, the Lord met Saul where he was and changed him into the person who would write more of the New Testament than any other person, the passionate follower of Christ who planted churches and gave us deep theology of redemption. This assassin turned into a martyr.

Today, fundamentalist Muslim groups plague the earth. They kidnap little girls, they hunt down believers, they burn down churches. They murder, torment, and cause terror around the world. They are called our enemies.

And yet, Jesus loves them deeply. He longs for a relationship with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, and with Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram. Yes, these men, and those they lead, have committed horrible acts. And Jesus can still redeem them.

What better way is there to fight terrorism than with the redeeming love of Christ? Terrorists are not beyond the saving grace of Jesus Christ. A friend of a middle east worker had a life goal of becoming a suicide bomber. He was full of anger and hatred. Over the course of time, he discovered the Bible and read the words of Jesus. Those words brought healing and life to his broken heart, changing the course of his life forever. Can we believe the same for all fundamentalist Muslims around the world?

Prayer Points:

  • Pray that Jesus would reveal himself to members of fundamentalist Muslim groups.
  • Pray for followers of Jesus to be like Ananias: brave in the face of potential harm knowing that Jesus has called them to the difficult places.
  • Pray for the Word of God to flood fundamentalist group camps and for those who read and hear the words of God to have open eyes and ears to the truth of Jesus.
  • Pray for Jesus to be glorified among those who have committed themselves to fundamentalist Muslim groups.

Pray for Central Asia

The breakup of the Soviet Union flung the doors open to the lands of 50 million Muslims. Workers flooded into Soviet Central Asia in the nineties, eager to engage those who had been isolated so long from the Good News.

Their initiative was rewarded.  By the early 2000s, thousands of Central Asian Muslims had become followers of Jesus in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. One Kazakh pastor remembered, “In those days, we’d get together Saturday evening to pray and prepare Bible studies. The next day, anywhere from three to 20 Muslims would repent from their sins and become saved.  This happened every week – month after month!  We just thought it was normal.” Dreams, healings and miracles occurred regularly.

In other Central Asian countries, China included, the breakthroughs among Muslims were just as real, even if the numbers were less dramatic than in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

But leaner times followed.  Persecution, materialism, and disillusionment thinned the ranks by as much as 50% in some countries.  Though all of the major Central Asian Muslim people groups – Uighurs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Turkmen – experienced breakthroughs, on average less that one half of one percent of the populations are Christ followers.

With the mass exodus of foreign workers, local leaders have been challenged to take initiative and ownership of God’s work in Central Asia.  Growth has been slow and incremental, but encouraging.  Additionally, fledgling initiatives have sprung up to take the Good News to Muslims further afield with remarkable early success.

Pray For:

  • Boldness for Central Asian believers to share their faith.  New religious laws and persecution have caused many to succumb to fear.
  • Encouragement and spiritual vitality for Christian leaders, personally, in their families and in their communities
  • Holy Spirit inspired faith and creativity for followers of Jesus to see their financial needs met.  Most of the early work was driven by foreign funds that have since dried up.
  • Divine blessing on the mission initiatives coming out of China and Soviet Central Asia. These sending efforts have the potential to advance the Gospel in the remaining task in unprecedented ways.