Saudi Arabia is the birthplace and stronghold of Islam. From Mecca, Islam holds influence over billions, and touches many cultures worldwide. Billions of oil dollars go towards promotion of Islam around the world every year. A spiritual breakthrough for Jesus Christ here would transform Islam and all who follow it! All Muslims must pray toward Mecca 5 times daily, and over 2 million Muslims make the pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca every year. Pray that many who seek God might encounter the living Christ.
Economic. Over-reliance on oil exports and foreign labour has taken its toll - the growing gap between rich and poor, and widespread unemployment and discontent among the spoiled younger generation, often push them into the arms of extremism. The Saudi-ization of the economy results in more difficult conditions for expats as well as pressure to create hundreds of thousands of new and acceptable jobs for Saudis. Spiraling personal debt and the need for personal "connections" to secure a desirable job add to the financial stress for many.
Saudis who come to faith in Christ face the death penalty if discovered; executions are definitely known to occur. Despite this, increasing numbers are secretly seeking and finding Jesus, and there are believers in every Saudi city. Pray for believers to persevere and even to multiply. Pray for a miracle - the legalization of Christianity for Saudis; pray that Saudi believers may be able to meet together in safety and have access to God's Word. Also pray that believers might find believing spouses.
Life is difficult for expatriates. The benefits of money made from working here are offset by stifling social restrictions, often cruel working environments, endemic racism and a total lack of personal and religious freedom. Many of these foreigners have little access to the gospel, although there are sizeable numbers of Christians among them. Pray for a witness to flourish among all foreign workers - and that many might come to Jesus while in the land of Mohammed.
Christian expatriates live under strict surveillance; even meeting in homes as a group of believers is forbidden. Those caught can be subjected to humiliating beatings, imprisonment, expulsion and even execution. This is particularly so for Asian Christians who are often the most effective witnesses and whose governments have the least international influence. Sadly, most Christians are nominal and few practice faithfully, although many more would join them were the risks not so great. Pray for encouragement, strength, wisdom and courage for the believing community. There are few opportunities to meaningfully interact with Saudis, and very few expatriates speak Arabic. Pray that other Arabs might gain a burden to reach Saudis.
About 90% of homes have satellite television, an indication of the hunger for what the outside world offers. In this environment, Christian television such as SAT-7, The Bible Channel, al-Hayat, the Miracle Channel and numerous other Christian Arabic- and English-language channels can be used tremendously to bring Saudis to Jesus.
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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.