During the 40 days of Lent I’m committed to praying each day for Christians in the 40 countries where the cost of being a follower of Christ is highest. I invite you to do the same. The information on the prayer needs of each country comes from a combination of Open Doors, Barnabas Fund and Operation World.
Praying for the United Arab Emirates
One of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, around 80 per cent of the population are expatriates. The constitution provides for religious freedom, although the government restricts this freedom in practice. Islam is the official religion, and all citizens are defined as Muslims. Evangelism and the distribution of non-Islamic religious literature is prohibited. The law denies Muslims the freedom to change religion and converts may face pressure to return to Islam. However, non-Muslim groups can worship freely, either in dedicated buildings or in private homes.
Answer to Prayer
The religious freedom enjoyed by all major faith groups is notable. Ruling families have loaned some land and allowed building of compounds for several confessions of Christianity as well as for Hindus and Sikhs. Praise God for this freedom, and pray that these facilities would not become Christian ghettos but rather launching pads for ministry.
Challenge for Prayer
Radical changes in the last generation created a culture crisis in the UAE. Traditionalists and progressives face off over many issues such as the role of women and democracy. The younger generation hangs in the balance, but will their Islamic heritage merely be replaced by selfish materialism? Pray that new opportunities will yield a spiritual hunger for the truth and not just the trappings of a wealthy lifestyle.
- Pray that foreign Christians would have wisdom in sharing their faith
- Internet use is extensive; pray that Christian internet sites would reach many with the gospel
- The standard of living is generally high because of oil wealth; pray that riches would not be a barrier to people receiving the gospel.