October 20 - Pray for: Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia’s record on religious freedom and human rights is probably the world’s worst. People of faiths other than Islam can live in Saudi Arabia, but they cannot practise their religion openly or even gather privately. Restrictions limit women in driving, voting, work, and their presence outside the home. Authorities watch Christian expatriates all the time, and those caught meeting even in homes can face beatings, prison, expulsion, or even execution. Pray for strength, wisdom, and courage for the community of foreign believers. Pray also for a witness to Christ among all foreign workers, that many might come to Jesus while in this land.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.