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.
This month, we pray for the heartrending situation in Yemen, where thousands of lives have been lost and millions more are at risk. As we lift up in prayer this nation that is on the brink of famine, please consider spending some time fasting on their behalf. If God puts it on your heart to do so, you may decide to give up a meal or two, or you may determine to give up something else for a time, such as social media or television.
Although we as Christians are not under obligation to fast, we know that Jesus fasted and taught his disciples to do so. Amongst other things, it is a practical way of showing God how serious we are in our prayers for a particular need. Whether you do fast or not, please know that your prayers are always hugely appreciated – not least by our brothers and sisters in Yemen. Read on for more information on the country of Yemen and its need for breakthrough…
Country focus: Yemen
Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street. (Lamentations 2:19 ESV)
The Republic of Yemen lies on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, south of Saudi Arabia and southwest of Oman. It has almost 1,200 miles (1,900 km) of coastline on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The population is estimated to be 28 million, of whom more than 99 per cent are Muslim. Around two thirds of Yemenis are Sunni Muslims and about one third are Shia.
Yemen has a long, rich history and was at one time one of the most advanced nations of the region. It is a fertile land, where the widely popular arabica coffee was first cultivated. Modern-day Yemen was established in 1990 when, after years of fighting, the Yemen Arab Republic (north) and People’s Republic of Yemen (south) united as one country. Sadly, unification did not completely bring an end to the conflict.
Yemen has long been one of the poorest countries of the Arab world, and this has been hugely exacerbated by civil war. In September 2014, rebels from the Houthi movement, an armed Shia religious and political group, took control of Yemen’s capital,Sana’a, forcing President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee south to Aden. In March 2015, a coalition of Arab states began fighting back on behalf of the internationally recognised government. Since then, more than 10,000 lives have been lost, with more than half of them civilians.But that’s not all! The United Nations reports that Yemen is in ‘clear and present danger of an imminent and great big famine … much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives.’ They say 13 million people face starvation. Save the Children estimates that around 130 children are dying each day from extreme hunger and disease in Yemen.
The war in Yemen needs to come to an end. Each day, too many people needlessly die, caught in the crossfire or wasted by famine. Let’s pray that the stronghold of war would be broken in Yemen, and that new life would come to this dying land.
- Pray that those who have the power to end this war would do so. Pray particularly that the Saudi coalition would rethink its strategy in fighting the Houthis. Both sides are culpable.
- Pray for Yemen’s future. This war will eventually end, but what will happen next? Saudi Arabia has been mobilising Al-Qaeda operatives, but what role will they play in Yemen’s post-war future? Pray into the years beyond the war.
- Pray that all people would have access to clean water, food and medicine. Pray that aid would get to the people who need it most and that nothing would go astray.
- Pray for the children of Yemen. This war has made them weak and incredibly vulnerable. They are also losing their education. Pray that they would be able to reclaim their childhood and look to a more positive future.
- Lift up the small number of believers from a Muslim background. Many have a strong and solid faith and are able to nurture others. Some are being persecuted, particularly by the Houthis, who oppose anything against their own ideology. Pray for our brothers and sisters to have strength and to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus.
- Give thanks that Yemenis want to know more about Jesus. Our teams are in regular contact with Yemeni seekers and believers, both inside and outside the country. Pray for continued and increased interest and for our responders as they counsel these individuals.
We would also encourage you to watch this video, shared by kind permission of Prayercast.