With the situation in Afghanistan deteriorating by the day, violent persecution creeps closer to the Christian minority in the war-torn nation, threatening their religious practices and their lives. Like a tidal wave inching closer to the shore, the rapidly ascending Taliban will eventually collide with the Christian minority in the territories they control—with catastrophic consequences. Afghan Christians know it’s coming. You can imagine the overwhelming sense of helplessness they must feel at times, seeing the inevitability of persecution. They need relief. They need rescue. They need strength. They need peace.
They need prayer. Lots of prayer. As powerful as the Taliban is in Afghanistan, our God is stronger. God can provide release and healing, and he can provide a supernatural steadfastness in the face of persecution. He can rescue Afghan Christians from the clutches of the Taliban, and he can rescue their faith from the onslaught of tribulations. Prayer isn’t something we engage in as a last resort, when we’re incapable of doing anything else; prayer is the most powerful tool in a Christian’s arsenal. While it should be accompanied by supporting actions, prayer is the most important activity we have to offer. As fellow Christians, we should hit our knees and cry out to God on behalf of Afghan brothers and sisters. They need prayer; we should pray.
However, we shouldn’t use our “prayers” to showcase our righteousness. Far too often, I find myself succumbing to a tendency to post and share encouragements to pray for a current event without actually going to the Lord in heartfelt prayer. God is not impressed by our social media posts. Sounding godly is not a mark of godliness. If we're calling for prayers for our Afghan brothers and sisters without ever actually lifting them up in prayer—or instead, throwing in a quick, two-second prayer to avoid the charge of hypocrisy—then we aren’t concerned about their suffering; we're concerned about our image. Through prayer, we engage with the God who created all things and holds all things together, magnifying him and imploring him to work in our hearts and in our world. Don’t trade or cheapen that act by sending out a call for prayer without actually praying in a shallow attempt to look spiritual.
Moreover, we shouldn’t turn our “prayers” into political statements. We shouldn’t link our calls for prayers with some commentary on the current political climate. “Afghan Christians need our prayers because Joe Biden really messed up.” “Pray for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan; it’s a shame what the United States did to their country.” When a call for prayer and political remarks fill the same sentence, which one is usually more important to the writer? In most cases, statements including American politics overshadow the suffering of thousands of Afghan Christians. Make political statements. State your convictions. Argue and yell and fight all you want. But don’t trivialize praying for suffering Christians in the process.
Our Afghan brothers and sisters need prayer. They need us to lift them up, seeking the Lord’s deliverance and protection in this tumultuous time. But our prayers should not serve as fodder for our political statements or proof of our unmatched piety. Don’t post and share public calls for prayer while neglecting to fall on your knees on behalf of those whose lives are threatened by a surging Taliban. Don’t “pray” for Afghan Christians. Pray for them.