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7 Key Areas to Pray for in 2016

Christians in Qatar are asking us to pray for:

  • Pray that God would give birth to a local church and national leadership within Qatar.
  • Pray that the Bible and other resources would find its way into the hands of Qataris and that Christian media (satellite TV, radio, Internet, etc.) would have greater impact.
  • Praise God that the Church Compound exists and is growing. Pray that God would mobilize the thousands of expatriate Christians here to pray for Qataris and to reach out to their Muslim friends. Pray for continued and greater unity amongst them so Qataris will see Christ’s love through them.
  • There are only a handful of known, local believers, most of whom are not spiritually mature. Pray that they would be strengthened, discipled and used by God.
  • Pray for perseverance for workers who are struggling to see fruit and finding it difficult to balance career, family and ministry in an ever increasing, busy country.
  • Pray that God would break the spiritual pride that Qataris have concerning Islam and prepare their hearts for the message of the Gospel.
  • Pray for God to grant Christians greater favor with the Qataris. The Lord is opening up more opportunities for more workers from all over the world to come into Qatar creating a new atmosphere in this strict Wahhabi Muslim country.

Qatar is an absolute monarchy ruled by relatively young Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamah Al-Thani who came to power in June 2013 after his father, Sheikh Hamad handed over the leadership to him. Economically, Qatar has rich gas reserves but is also trying quickly to diversify by investing heavily in research, development, finance, health, education and infrastructure. It continues to develop quickly as it prepares to host the 2022 Football World Cup.

Qatar’s population has more expatriates than local citizens. Of its roughly 2.4 million people, only about 288,000 (12% approx.) are Qatari nationals. In 2010, foreign workers accounted for 94% of the economically active population in the country. With the increase of many nationalities in this tiny nation, there have been clashes between the local and foreign cultures which have caused concern to both Qataris and expatriates.

The strict Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam is dominant in Qatar, but there is also a small number of Shi’ite Qataris. Many Shi’ite have become successful businessmen, but they are not prominent in government, for reasons of security and/or prejudice. Because of the influence of Wahhabism, Qatar has one of the most conservative societies in the world. While expatriates enjoy normal lifestyles, Qatari society is far more restrictive, especially for the local women.

Christianity has been tolerated in Qatar among the expatriates for some time, as long as Christians keep their faith to themselves. Unofficially, churches have been allowed to exist. After the government granted permission and land for a church complex to be shared by several churches, there is now a Church Compound, ringed with State Security, that hosts all denominations of Christian gatherings - Catholic and Protestant. This represents a far more lenient and tolerant attitude by the Qatari government than was known a decade ago. It also makes watching Christians easier since the house churches are becoming fewer.

Due to past and present restrictions, Qataris have had very little exposure to Christian truth. Most Qataris have never met a real Christian with whom they could communicate at a meaningful level. This is beginning to change.

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