Pray for: Iraq

Flag for Iraq

Key Stats

Religion & Geography
Category Statistic
Continent: Asia
Capital: Baghdad
Population: 41,179,351
% Urban: 71.1 %
Population Under 15 Yrs: 38 %
Official Language: Arabic; Kurdish
Languages: 26
Literacy Rate: 79 %
HDI Ranking: 123 / 189
% Christian: 1.6 %
% Evangelical: 0.2 %
Largest Religion: Muslim
% Largest Religion: 95.9 %
People Groups: 36
Least Reached People Groups: 25
% Unevangelized: 59 %
Persecution Ranking: 11 / 50

Iraq

Title: Iraq

Tier: 1

Type: country

The emergence of Iraqi Arab evangelicals in recent years (now over 50,000) is an answer to prayer! Many of them come from Muslim and even extremist backgrounds, but they encountered Christ through evangelical witness, gospel radio, and especially through dreams and visions of Jesus. Pray for leaders for the churches. Many fled the country and others died, often targeted by Islamists. Many times the Christian widows of these leaders continue with the pastoral and discipleship work.

Iraq

Title: Iraq

Tier: 1

Type: country

Iraq suffered great upheaval in 1991 (with the Gulf War), again in 2003 (with the 2nd Iraq War and the fall of Saddam Hussein), and yet again in 2013 with the rise of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). While ISIS has been greatly reduced and Iraq is less unstable, the country’s future remains uncertain. Pray for God to deliver this land from seemingly interminable conflict!

  • War with the West brought greater autonomy for the Kurdish area, a representative government, and some reforms in the economy, education, and healthcare. But the US invasion led to a time of violence by Islamist militants, while Sunni and Shi’a groups turned on each other.
  • Many deep divisions run through Iraqi society (Kurds against Arabs, Shi’as against Sunnis, secular politicians against Islamist groups). Christians and other religious minorities lack true religious freedom. They face demands for bribes, kidnapping, destruction of their property, rape, and murder. Most Muslim political leaders want to see progress, but extremist groups continue to make the country unstable.
  • Thank God for the virtual elimination of the Islamic State (ISIS/Da’esh) as a military force in the region. Their fighters seized partial control of Iraqi territory in summer 2014, and announced an Islamic State (covering parts of Iraq and Syria). Atrocities in the name of Islam against opponents and other ethnic and religious groups (including Christians) forced millions to flee for their lives, and brought further chaos to the region. While almost all of their territory has been retaken, the destruction and trauma they wrought remains, and their violent and brutal ideology remains a threat via the use of terrorist cells who are able to strike with little or no warning. Pray that Christians might minister life to those impacted by this evil; pray also that ISIS survivors and former ISIS fighters might encounter the Risen Jesus who forgives all sins and heals all wounds.

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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.