by Richard Long,
Our good friends, Michael & Leonor Ward, head up the prayer ministry of the Military Christian Fellowship in Canada. They publish a monthly newsletter that gives timely and insightful instruction on praying for our military. They don’t just cover what our armed forces are doing in Afghanistan, but also wherever they are deployed around the world and on bases with their families back home.
Having said that, this month’s lead feature is a great insight into the bigger picture of Afghanistan. I have excerpted it below with hopes you will read it and decide to subscribe to their prayer newsletter yourself.
Afghanistan : How to pray for the end of the War
This month we will talk about some keys to understanding how to pray about the war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan (and Iraq, and Chechnya and many others) are not the same as the great wars that defined our parents or grandparents generation. In World War Two, the nations of the world, driven by competing political systems, went to war against one another using their armies, navies and air forces, seeking to destroy the enemy’s military, and their ability to fight back. When the enemy’s ability to wage war was smashed and your army marched into the enemy’s capital, the war was won.
This war is different. It is not about militarily smashing the enemy’s ability to fight, it is about defeating the enemy’s will to fight. It is not fought between uniformed armies of nations. In Afghanistan, on one side there is a loose coalition of fighters (not soldiers) organized around an idea (the Taliban brand of Islam). They know they cannot hope to defeat the military forces of the government in Kabul and the Western forces that support them in a direct fight. The Taliban are using violence – attacks against soldiers, aid workers, and the local (defenceless) population, hoping to make it too difficult or costly to continue resisting.
The current government of Afghanistan has been democratically elected, and found itself having to defend the country from the Taliban. NATO is there at the invitation of the government, and Canada is one of the many countries in Afghanistan under NATO command.
This kind of war is fought on many levels. The physical level, actual combat, is likely the least important. The mental level (the will to fight), and the moral level (the idea that Islam is the only way, and that Western society is decadent and corrupt) are much more important. The war at the mental level is where the Taliban believe they can defeat the will of the government in Kabul and the will of the governments in the capitals of the NATO nations. The Taliban will leverage violence to defeat its enemies on the mental level, to break their will to keep going. If this happens, they will have won on the moral plane, proving to the people of Afghanistan that their brand of Islam is the way.
Understanding how the Taliban expects to win is one of the keys for praying. We must pray for victory on the moral plane, but not a military victory, a spiritual one. We must pray that the moral force of Christianity and the presence of Christians and their works of service in defending the Afghan people and building up the Afghan nation will break the moral force of the Taliban. Pray that the people of Afghanistan will see a palpable revelation of the love of Christ through the presence and efforts of the NATO nations in their country; and that they will come to see the spirit behind the Taliban for what it is. Once the people of Afghanistan have a revelation of Jesus, the Taliban’s war is lost. Imagine for a moment the nation of Afghanistan turning en masse to Jesus, and the testimony that that would be to the power of our Lord.
Praying for the End of the War in Afghanistan
- Pray that our leaders will have the wisdom to lead the physical battle with a minimum of violence and producing minimum number of civilian casualties.
- Pray that the Christians amongst the troops, diplomats and aid workers will be unafraid to share their faith, and that they will find receptive ears.
- Pray that the people of Afghanistan will recognize the Christians for their Love, and that this will offer a powerful testimony.
- Pray for the breaking of the Taliban’s authority and for the rise of the authority of Christ starting with the Afghani Christians.
- Pray for an end of the oppression that is over the people of Afghanistan. Psalm 10 comes to mind. Pray for God to arise!; He indeed does not forget the helpless or the fatherless and hears the desire of the afflicted. It is God that raises His arm to defend the fatherless and the oppressed.
- Pray for a revelation of Jesus to ALL the people of Afghanistan.
- Only God can end this war and bring real freedom to the people of Afghanistan. The Lord is King for ever and ever!