5 Powerful Prayers for Pakistan’s Upcoming Elections

July 22, 2018 by Natalie Gillespie in Stories of Persecution

As the country prepares for national and provincial elections next week (July 25), Christians in Pakistan are concerned a change in power could bring more persecution. In the world’s sixth-largest country of 210 million, persecution of Christians continues to increase, ranking Pakistan at No. 5 on the World Watch List.

Next week’s elections mark a critical pivot point in the Muslim-majority country plagued with political, ethnic, and religious discord and violence. And Our Pakistani brothers and sisters have asked us to pray with them in this pivotal time for them and their country.

To help you pray with Pakistani Christians, we asked our local church network ALIVE how our brothers and sisters are praying. Below, we offer five things to know about the elections and five critical prayers  you can pray for this catalytic time in the lives of Pakistani believers.

5 Things to Know About Pakistan’s Elections

  1. Pakistan is a mostly democratic, parliamentary republic controlled for decades by the country’s army, which in recent years is believed by many to be mainstreaming militant groups. The army continues to grow in financial power and influence.
  2. In the July 25 elections, 342 seats in the national assembly are up for grabs: 272 are general seats, which are elected by the public and can be contested. However, Muslims have historically almost always won these seats. Not a single Christian candidate is slated to run. The rest of the seats are reserved for women (60 seats) and minorities (10). These positions are nominated by the party and are meant to assure that women and minorities like Christians and Hindus have proportional representation in parliament. Of the 10 available minority seats, Christians may get two or three.
  3. Nawaz Sharif, who leans to the right politically, became Prime Minister in 1990 and oversaw a short-lived transfer of civilian power in 2013. Sharif was then ousted by the Supreme Court last year and sentenced earlier this month to 10 years in jail for corruption. This upheaval puts the election spotlight on four major political parties vying for control, as well as some emerging extremists thought to be backed by the military.

4.     The four political parties include the following:

5.       Most of the opinion polls suggest an overall lead by Pakistan Muslim League’s Nawaz Sharif, with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Imran Khan in a close second.  Of these four parties, none really stands in the gap for non-Muslims.

“Who will build legislature to protect us against discrimination and Islamic extremism? Who will build more schools?” a local Christian told an ALIVE worker. “We really need God’s wisdom to determine who to vote for.”

If military-backed extremists are seated, it could mean more danger for Christians in Pakistan and a regression of democracy. It could also mean more difficulty in stopping alleged Pakistani backing of terror groups. Christians in Pakistan already suffer regular religious persecution and terrorist attacks, such as the 2016 bombing of a church that killed more than 70 people. They also endure job restrictions, forced conversions, and death sentences as the result of Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws.

5 Ways to Pray With Pakistani Believers

When a country holds an election, political unrest often ensues. With Christians in Pakistan already in such a vulnerable position, our Pakistani brothers and sisters desperately need our prayers.

Below are five ways we can pray with the church in Pakistan:

Why Our Prayers Matter 

There are two main reasons why it matters that the Church pray for next week’s elections in Pakistan:

First, our persecuted family in Pakistan needs us. They feel supported when we pray with them. Jesus said where two or three gather in His name, He will be in their midst. Praying is gathering together in the spiritual realm.

Second, prayer changes things. We see in the Bible how God often intervenes when people speak to Him. In Exodus 32, Moses pleaded with God not to leave the people of Israel; and the people were saved. In the 1980s, Open Doors led prayer movements for the Soviet Union, and the world saw the collapse of the Soviet Union and prisoners released. And since the 1990s, we have prayed for the church in the Muslim world. Since then, we have seen increasing numbers of Muslims trust Christ.

Prayer makes a difference.

A Pakistani Christian’s Prayer

One Pakistani Christian shared her poetic prayer:

Lord, have mercy.
Father as you hear our prayers,
Lighten our darkness,
Lord, we pray, and in your great mercy

defend us from all perils and dangers of this night,
for the love of your only Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Defend us, deliver us, and in thy compassion protect us,
O  Lord, by your grace, have mercy.
Let us commend ourselves, and one another,
and all our life, to Christ our God.

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