First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling…1 Timothy 2:1-8
Afghanistan is in chaos, just as Satan wants it to be. Fear is everywhere. Confusion is reigning. The American government doesn’t seem to know what is going on since one department gives a press release and says one thing, then another department speaks and contradicts what the other has said.
Afghan believers are running and hiding, moving from place to place to avoid detection. Some are heading for the hills, literally, in hopes of a place of safety. The Taliban and Isis have lists of names and are on the hunt with death in their eyes. Many believers have already been killed. Young girls are being taken captive and given to Taliban warriors to be raped…some to become child brides, trophies of the Taliban victory over the United States. Since President Biden has no stomach for flexing American military might and regaining lost territory, what is one to do? Has Satan won the day? Is there anything we can do?
The most powerful act we can do is to call on the creator of all things, the one who holds all things together by the word of his power, the one who raises kingdoms and puts them down again—the one who is the King of kings and Lord of warlords.
Too often, we think of prayer as a last resort, something we do when all else has failed. If we practiced prayer in the way Scripture teaches us to do, we wouldn’t need many of the human efforts we expend. I am as guilty as anyone else in this failure to believe that God will answer big, really big, prayers. The kind that changes nations and wins wars. God has done it before many times. The really big problem isn’t that we can’t pray; it’s that we don’t believe how big our God is and how much he cares and wants to respond to our prayers.
Paul wrote the first letter to Timothy at Ephesus in 62 AD, Nero was Caesar, and the followers of Jesus lived without the favor of the government. Paul wrote to encourage prayer as the “first thing” believers should do. It is the priority. We are used to being able to try to change government via the political process, including elections. That was not an option in Roman society, but that did not mean the believers had no alternative. Not only did they have an alternative, but they had something more valuable than the ballot box.
Here is Paul’s solution and his priority instruction to Timothy.
Pray for all people, particularly for kings and all who are in high positions. What is the goal of these prayers? Peace. The ability in a society to live a peaceable and quiet life. Based on God’s word written by the Apostle Paul, the most important thing we can do for our Christian brothers and sisters in Afghanistan right now is to pray for the leaders in Afghanistan that our brethren can lead a quiet and peaceable life.
The goal of that peaceable and quiet life is the proclamation of the gospel. Jesus wants to save Muslims, the Taliban, Al-Queda, and Isis, and we are to pray really big prayers for God to contain the savagery, hatred, and evil rampant among these demonically driven religious zealots. According to Paul, prayer is our most important and effective weapon.
Until God subdues the hearts of the Muslim zealots, what is the hope of Afghan believers?
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”Revelation 14:12-13
Biblical history has always shown that some of God’s people are delivered from persecution and death, and others are granted grace to endure and remain faithful.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 11:32-12:2
One day, I believe, we will be allowed to hear the wonderful stories of victorious faith of the Afghans who walked with Jesus to their death, and they loved not their lives unto death. The cloud of witnesses is still being populated. I recently viewed the testimony of a couple of Iranian ladies who had become followers of Jesus. They were captured and prodded to renounce their faith in Jesus. When asked why they wouldn’t just turn from Jesus, their answer was, “I love Jesus.” You don’t deny the one whom you love.
Here are prayer points coming straight out of Afghanistan.
For Afghanis in general:
• Pray for visions and dreams of Jesus among men, women, and children.
• Pray against the oppression of women and for the joy of the Lord to fill their spirit.
• Pray for the Muslim background believer. Those who are now Christian but keep their faith secret from Muslim family members.
• For the eyes of disciple-makers to not get distracted with the “wind and waves” and for fear to not grip their heart.
• Spiritual ears and eyes to move forward, and quick obedience without question.
• Guidance, wisdom, and discernment
I desire then that the men should pray in every place, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.