Breakthrough is a monthly call to pray for the Arab world. In each edition we focus on a different country of the region, praying for breakthrough over a particular stronghold.
As the birthplace of Islam and a place of little religious freedom, Saudi Arabia seems to be a brick wall for the gospel. However, the Holy Spirit isn’t restricted the way humans are. The internet is one way where we’ve seen God transforming Saudis’ lives. Saudis like Suleiman*asking us to contact him via WhatsApp because he wanted to know more about the Christian faith.
Suleiman told our responder that he had already decided to convert to Christianity as it is a religion of love and sacrifice, while Islam is just about religious observance. After the responder answered his questions about who Jesus is, he understood and accepted that God had come into the world as a man to die for our sins. He is now waiting to meet up with a local believer.
As you pray for the nation of Saudi Arabia, remember that Suleiman is one of many Saudis who have found Christ and are now living their lives for him. Have faith that your prayers will make a difference in real people’s lives.
Country focus: Saudi Arabia
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. (1 Chronicles 29:11 ESV)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the second-largest Arab nation and makes up the majority of the Arabian Peninsula landmass. It borders Yemen, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain (via a causeway), Kuwait, Iraq and Jordan, and has two long stretches of coastline on the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.
The population of Saudi Arabia is estimated to be 33 million. As with the other Gulf nations, this includes a significant number of expat workers. While many of these follow different faiths that include Christianity, all of Saudi’s citizens are officially Muslim. Most practice a strict form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism. There is also a minority of Shia Muslims with citizenship, but they experience a lot of discrimination.
Saudi Arabia is ruled by the large and influential Al Saud family. The current king and prime minister is Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who has been in power since January 2015. The crown prince is Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He was appointed in June 2017 and is also first deputy prime minister. Mohammed bin Salman has plans to modernise the country and can be credited with the recent lifting of the ban on women driving.
Our stronghold is the Muslim Hajj, which is one of the five ‘pillars’ of Islam and is an essential part of the Muslim faith.
Each year, millions of Muslims flock to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. They take part in the Hajj, which is an annual, five-day pilgrimage. Muslims come from all over the world to complete numerous rituals, just as the prophet Muhammed did. These include circling a cube structure known as the Kaaba, running between two hills, throwing stones at Satan and sacrificing an animal. It must be completed by every Muslim at least once in their lifetime.
Hajj is a stronghold because it is a core part of being a Muslim. About three million Muslims will travel to Mecca later this month, and for many, it will strengthen their faith. We want it to be a time when God truly speaks into lives, drawing many to the truth in Jesus Christ. Although we will be praying for this stronghold to be broken among the Saudi people, we will not limit our prayers to this one nation.
- Pray for salvation to come to many in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj. Pray that our response team would be inundated with messages from Saudis who want to follow Jesus.
- Many Saudis will be proud to live in the birthplace of Islam and the home of its holiest city. We want to see this pride stripped away, for hearts to be opened, and lives to be transformed.
- Pray that more people than ever would have dreams and visions of Christ and they would hear the gospel and put their trust in the Son of God.
- Particularly lift the city of Mecca, praying for its permanent and temporary inhabitants. Pray that spiritual strongholds would be broken in this place.
- Pray that many Muslims will come away from the Hajj feeling deeply unsatisfied. May it be life-changing in a way they never anticipated and may it mark the beginning of a search for the truth.
*Name has been changed.