For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church and I invite you to join me.
Afghanistan has been plagued by war and instability for thirty years. It has an extremist, corrupt government, factional violence, and half the nation’s economy is based on growing opium. Life in Afghanistan is difficult for everyone, but it is especially hard for the all but invisible Church. Fifth on Open Doors World Watch List, there are only a few thousand Christians in Afghanistan out of a population of 32 million. There are no public churches in Afghanistan, and it is a capital crime to convert to Christianity.
Afghan Christians cannot worship openly, and many have been forced to conceal their faith, because Christians face intense persecution from family members and neighbors. Apostasy and conversion are punishable by death, and Sharia law is enforced. No one has been executed for apostasy yet, but Christian converts occasionally face charges. Many who have converted have done so while in other countries. In September 2013, a member of Afghanistan’s parliament stated that, according to the Quran, anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity needs to be executed. The Taliban also remain a threat to anyone who does not follow their interpretation of Islam and they have specifically targeted those who have converted to Christianity in the past.
Despite this, these extreme situations is a church in Afghanistan, and our brothers and sisters need our prayers and support.
Open Doors suggests these prayers points:
- That the Afghan government will give freedom to worship to Christians and protect them from the Taliban
- That the small group of Christians will stand strong in their faith and not return to Islam under pressure
- That the constant instability and cycle of war over the last 30 years will end
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