I'm honored to be speaking for the 2021 Ablaze Conference hosted by Biola University and the Billy Graham Center. Registration is now open for the Oct 7-9 conference. Please pray that God would speak through me and be honored, and may we experience healing and revival in our nation. You can register or find out more in the link: https://www.biola.edu/ablaze-conference
There’s a meme that’s been making the rounds recently of a man running but another man behind him is quickly approaching. The man in the front represents “me processing 2020 and 2021” and the man who’s quickly coming represents “2022 only 4 months away.” It’s hard to believe that 2022 will be just around the corner. There has been so much trauma we have been through collectively as a nation and as a generation within these past (almost) 2 years which will take many more months, if not years, to process. Covid was the first wave of shock and suffering that entered our lives but it was not the last. It was followed by waves of racial injustice, then political tension, and for many, the loss of their loved ones due to Covid. Wave after wave, it feels like the pounding did not stop.
Now the most recent wave of suffering turns our hearts to the nation of Afghanistan, who has had decades of war, terror, and instability in leadership. The Taliban, a repressive Isamic group, has seized control over the nation and people are trying to flee the country by the thousands. It has been heartbreaking to see the image of a baby being given to the US military for fear of the Taliban getting a hold of the child, the cries of girls pleading to enter the airport as they tell the soldiers, “Taliban is coming! They will harm us! Please take us!” The layers of pain and grief we have witnessed over these months make it clear that this world is broken and in desperate need of healing. Where can we turn? And what can we do?
I want to guide us through some steps we can take as we remember those in Afghanistan during this troublesome time.
The first thing we must do in light of all this pain is to grieve. Lament the loss of life, the loss of freedom, and the persecution that is to come for so many. Henri Nouwen once said, “I am beginning to see that much of praying is grieving.” One thing this season of suffering has taught me is how important grieving is to the heart of God. May the Church mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), realizing that it is God’s heart that we join as we choose to weep with the hurting. Let us grieve over the sin and suffering that has gripped Afghanistan.
Creation is groaning, as in the pains of childbirth, for the return of Christ to restore all things (Romans 8:22). And one of the gifts that pain gives to us in this fallen world is to let go of this world as our home and cling on to Christ. Paul teaches us that the Spirit helps us in our weakness and when we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit groans from within us prayers to our Father in heaven (Romans 8:26). If you don’t know what to say, then cry out and groan with the Spirit. God knows our hearts, sees our tears, and helps us to pray. Let us groan together over a nation that is in desperate need of deliverance. Let us cry out with creation, “Maranatha! O Lord, come!” And come quickly, Lord. Amen and amen.
I know many want to help in other tangible ways to feel they are making a direct impact on the situation in Afghanistan right now. You can also give to some Christian organizations who are providing humanitarian aid in Afghanistan right now. World Relief and Lamia Afghan Foundation are a couple of groups seeking to bring the light of Christ to this nation during this urgent time of need. Giving to the least of these is ultimately giving to Christ (Matthew 25:40). Individually and as a church, let’s express love through our giving.
While most of us are not able to go to the Middle East right now, we can all go before the Throne of Grace and plead for His mercy over this nation. Here are some key areas we can cover with our prayers.
Pray for the strengthening of faith for the believers
Believers in Afghanistan are preparing for an increase in persecution. A number of church leaders reported getting notices from the Taliban that said, “We know where you are, and we know what you are doing. We are coming for you.” Pray for protection. But even if their lives are threatened, pray that they will remain faithful until the very end and receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 24:13). May their faith be refined and strengthened in the fire of affliction.
Pray for protection for the vulnerable
What we learn throughout Scripture is that God cares passionately for the orphan, the widow, and the refugee (Deut 10:18; James 1:27). They were the most vulnerable groups of society at that time. The Bible makes it crystal clear: those who are deeply vulnerable and deeply valuable to the heart of God. In Afghanistan, women and girls are especially at risk. Young girls are even given over to the Taliban as wives with little to no rights of their own. Pray for their safety, freedom, and deliverance.
Pray for missionaries
With the number of believers in Afghanistan being less than 0.05%, the work of missionaries there is vital. Now more than ever, the precious number of missionaries who are there face an even greater risk for their lives. They need our prayers for spiritual coverage (1 Peter 5:8-11), for intimacy with God (Mark 3:14) to carry them through hard times, and for their sending churches to partner faithfully and fervently in the place of prayer (Philippians 4:10-20). I provide a more in depth look at the intercessory needs of missionaries in my book Praying for Your Missionaries. If you know of missionaries there, I encourage you to pray through those needs during this crucial hour. This is spiritual warfare, and we must fight with them and fight for them in prayer.
Pray for stable and righteous leadership
Let us pray that God would establish good and godly leadership to rule this land (1 Timothy 2:2). Pray for leaders who will serve the people and not oppress them. Pray that God would crush the arm of the wicked (Psalm 10:15) and uproot the evil plans of the Taliban in Jesus name. May the plans of the enemy fail and God’s mercy and grace prevail.
Pray for homes for the displaced
There are thousands who are seeking shelter in a safe place. Pray that these refugees would find safe passage into a new home. Pray that God would put the lonely and lost in families (Psalm 68:6). Pray for more nations to open their borders and homes to welcome the foreigner into their land. May we love our neighbors as ourselves.
Pray for salvation for our Muslim neighbors
As God used persecution in the book of Acts to spread the gospel to other cities and nations, pray that this time of tribulation would also bear fruit for the Kingdom. Pray that the gospel would spread into the hearts of all Afghan people. Pray for more dreams and visions of Jesus throughout the Muslim world, drawing people to Christ. Pray that the Taliban will repent and turn to Christ as Lord and Savior and turn from the wicked ways.
Let God raise up mighty waves of prayer to crash over this nation and bring forth a mighty revival and healing for this land. Dear Church, let us humble ourselves and pray and seek His face together. Maranatha.
Eddie Byun is the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and Associate Professor of Christian Ministry at Talbot School of Theology. He is the author of the award winning book Justice Awakening, Praying for Your Pastor, and Praying for Your Missionary. He is also the Executive Producer of Save My Seoul, an award winning documentary about sex trafficking in South Korea.
I’m so honored to be the featured author for IVP today. As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, I've only grown more thankful over the years by how much InterVarsity Press has been committed to sharing AAPI voices. I appreciate their support, their values, and their vision to the greater body of Christ. And for this month, my first book with IVP, Justice Awakening, is 40% off. As this justice movement is growing in our generation, now more than ever, a firm biblical foundation of justice is needed. Help share this message today. #justiceawakening
Father, release the power of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin (John 16:8). Let hearts be humbled, let knees bow, and let lives be changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Comfort the broken-hearted, increase the courage and conviction of Your people ... to pursue justice and to protect the vulnerable in our land. Release Your peace into the hearts of the fearful. Father, have mercy and heal this nation. Uproot the evils of racism across America. Crush the arm of the oppressor. Destroy their strength. Render them powerless in Jesus name. Uproot the evils of abuse that have harmed women, men, and children for far too long. Remove these leaders from all positions of power - in the church, in the government, in all places of influence. We surrender these sins at the foot of the cross. Shine brightly in this hour, O Light of the world. Shine, and let Your Light drive away darkness. Bring change. Bring repentance. Bring revival. Bring healing. Let it be, Lord. Let it be. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
These two books have been life-giving. Reading them together has been life-changing. Providence has opened my eyes to see the beauty of God's sovereignty - in both mystery and majesty. Redeeming power has been such a humbling read. Power is too often used as a weapon that harms, instead of a shield to protect. And reading these two books together has allowed me to see pain through the lens of God's providence, to see suffering through the lens of sovereignty, and see Christ as the source of our hope in this fallen world. Highly recommended.
Asking for prayer for an upcoming project. I had the honor of being a part of a book project on justice with my colleague Thaddeus Williams called Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth. This past weekend, we finished up filming the upcoming video course version of the book by Zondervan. One thing I've learned in these years of pursuing justice is that whenever we seek justice or create tools for the Church to engage it, a lot of spiritual warfare comes with it. So please pray for anointing on this project, protection for all those involved, and that this tool will be used by God to equip the Church further in becoming a gospel-centered, justice pursuing people of faith. Thank you.
I'm excited to announce the launch of a book I had the honor of being a part of. I had the privilege of collaborating with my colleague at Talbot, Thaddeus Williams, on an important book on justice called Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice. It's a tool that will help the Church look at social justice issues through the lens of the gospel. A pertinent topic for our times and just in time for your holiday shopping :)
As I've been able to blog more these days, I've received many requests for a subscription form to send out email updates for when I have new blog posts. If you'd like to be on that list, simply submit your email below. Thanks for all your support. I'm looking forward providing more encouragement and resources in the days to come. God bless you.
I was honored to have my book, Praying for Your Missionary, as a featured resource by the Center for Advancing Healthcare Missions during their most recent podcast concerning advancing healthcare missions around the world. Because of Covid, missions and especially healthcare missions work are facing challenges like never before. Thus, they need our prayers like never before. Let's continue to increase our prayers for the nations and those who are serving the nations.
In God's sovereignty we may suffer, but in His goodness, at the right time ... He will restore. (Psalm 71:20)
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace."
2004-2011: Click Here