Yemen has suffered in recent decades from 3 civil wars, tribal conflicts, and war in nearby countries. Currently Yemen is divided between moderate Shi’a Houthi rebels and Sunni forces supporting the ousted President. Radical Islamist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS have seized on the chaos to take control of other areas. Neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. and Iran have used Yemen as a theatre for their own proxy wars. Western governments including the USA and UK, continue to sell arms that are used by their allies to indiscriminately take Yemeni lives. Many civilians have died in bombings, including people in schools, hospitals, and prisons. As a result of all this upheaval, much of the population has faced food shortages and even starvation in recent years. May the God of peace and justice bring both to this land of great suffering.
Christianity once had a strong presence, but was almost completely wiped out by the 7th Century Muslim conquest. According to tradition, Shem founded the city of Sana'a, and the Queen of Sheba reigned in Yemen and sought wisdom from Solomon three millennia ago. May the modern people of Sheba seek after the wisdom from God as promised in Isaiah 60:6.
Opportunities for expatriates to serve God in Yemen, once rare, no longer exist due to the conflict. But one day, there will be a need for Yemen to rebuild. Christians may have the opportunity to bless Yemen by serving in business, education, health and development programmes. Hospitals and clinics once run by expatriate Christians were much-needed blessings for Yemen. May they become so once again! Pray that when the time comes, many followers of Jesus will be willing to re-enter this desperate land and with wisdom and self-sacrifice, profoundly demonstrate the sacrificial love of Christ to the people of Yemen.
Yemen is one of the world's least evangelized countries, with one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations. Pray for salvation to come to:
- The northern tribes, including the people of Sana'a, the capital, and the peoples of the northern mountains and northeastern deserts. A number are semi-nomadic.
- The southern Yemenis, the key cities being Aden, Taiz and Ibb.
- The Tihama Arabs of the coastal plains. Many Gulf War returnees were settled in this region. The key city is Hodeida.
- The Hadhramaut, including the historic areas of Shibam and Tarem as well as the port city of Mukalla.
- The Mahri along the Omani border are a fishing people and very isolated from the modernity that is seeping into the rest of Yemen.
- The Socotra islanders, who were nominally Christian until the 17th Century. There are no known Christians on this isolated Indian Ocean island, and even humanitarian work is very limited and difficult to do.
- Yemeni women - their lot is harsh and their opportunities for education and a life outside the home are limited. How will they hear about Jesus and learn to live for Him?
- Children. High fertility rates generate large families, which in turn can create a host of poorly supervised children left generally to their own devices, especially if the parents chew qat. The education system is very limited and focused largely on Islamics. Many children are at risk of abduction by organized gangs (from a neighbouring country) for indoctrination into extremism and even more macabre exploitation.
- The South Asians - many are traders and artisans in Aden. Most are Muslim; some are Hindu or Catholic Christians. Pray also for the 300 or so remaining Yemeni Jews.
- The Somalis - many are Yemeni residents and others refugees. Their numbers could possibly exceed 500,000. A few have come to faith, but most remain unevangelized.
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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.