Christians Advised on How to Pray as Middle East Unrest Spreads

Protesters in Bahrain entered their fifth day of demonstrations, and are now seeking the downfall of the entire Al Khalifa royal family.

Angered by the violent crackdown by the government that left at least five people dead, protesters have upped their demands from the resignation of just the prime minister to an immediate change of government.

"Our demands were peaceful and simple at first. We wanted the prime minister to step down," Mohamed Ali, 40, a civil servant, told The Associated Press. "Now the demands are harsher and have reached the pinnacle of the pyramid. We want the whole government to fall."

Anti-government protests continue to spread across the Middle East and North Africa among populations fed up with the corruption, discrimination and lack of opportunities plaguing their countries.

They first began in Tunisia in December and then in Egypt. In a matter of weeks, the presidents of both countries stepped down after ruling for decades.

Since then, uprisings threatening repressive regimes and authoritarian governments have emerged in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Algeria.

As the unrest continues to sweep the Arab world, evangelical theologian John Piper is advising Christians on how to pray during the unprecedented wave of protests.

Christians should first of all pray for "all who are in high positions" (1 Timothy 2) – that is, for political leaders and structures in the Middle East.

And there are two goals in praying for them, Piper listed: so that the followers of Jesus "may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way" and so that more people would be saved.

"When we pray for the Middle East, we should be praying mainly for conditions to prevail that sustain freedom and peace for the followers of Jesus, so that the gospel would run and triumph, and millions would turn to Christ and be saved for his great glory," he explained.

"Such conditions would include freedom for other religions too, since Christians do not spread their faith by the sword, but by proclamation and service."

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