• Pray for evil and terror to be overcome by the power and love of Christ and His people.
• Pray for the Gospel message to break through hearts hardened by longstanding divisions and intense rivalries.
• Pray for believers to courageously stand firm in their faith despite persecution and terror.
Iraq has a long and culturally rich history. Ancient sites such as the Ziggurat of Ur are thought to be 4,000 years old. Often known as the “cradle of civilization,” modern Iraq occupies what was once ancient Mesopotamia. The ancient Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires made their home here. And in the early Middle Ages, Iraq was the heart of the Islamic Empire. Yet today the world knows Iraq less as a memorial to its vibrant history and more as a bloody battleground. All solutions have failed - giving only brief periods of respite followed by continued sectarian violence and terrorism.
Battered Iraqis bear the scars of decades of conflict involving violent dictators, international invasions, and attacks from divisive factions and insurgent groups. Divisions between religious and ethnic factions continue to fracture the nation. This is especially prevalent in the long-standing divisions between Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds. Oppression from the Islamic State has terrorized the country, threatening genocide for certain religious and ethnic groups. Consequently, nearly three and a half million refugees displaced in Iraq or in neighboring countries live in refugee camps or in towns suffering economic hardship, inadequate medical care, psychological trauma, and uncertain futures. Violence and sabotage hinder the progress and growth of this shattered economy, leaving a quarter of Iraqis to suffer a life of poverty. Children and mistreated women are particularly vulnerable. Rampant corruption, outdated infrastructure, and destabilizing terror attacks halt any hope of progress and development.
Over 95% of Iraqis are Muslim, and an alarming 98% remain unreached by the Gospel. Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities have faced a massive increase in persecution, terrorized by kidnappings, property destruction, rape, and murder. The Islamic State has furthered these atrocities in their attempt at “cleansing” the nation of all Christians, religious minorities, and even Shia Muslims. Most Christians have fled. In fact, many fear Christianity will be removed from Iraq permanently. Yet even amidst horrific terror and violence, a light is dawning. The redemptive power of God is again at work, bringing light from darkness and hope from despair. In the midst of, and even because of this conflict, unreached people groups are now experiencing the love of Christ, and Muslims are turning to Jesus in unprecedented numbers - even from extremist backgrounds. God’s love reaches into every corner of this broken nation, from the fertile plains of the Tigris and Euphrates to the deserts of the west and from the mountainous north to the southern marshlands. He alone is the answer. He alone is their Deliverer.
Source: kurdish christian worship song; kurdishpraise
Capital City: Baghdad
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Major People Groups: 75-80% Arabs, 5% other
Religion: 95-98% Muslim, 1% Christian, 1-4% other
Language: Arabic, Kurdish, Turkmen, Syriac, Armenian
GDP Per Capita: $17,000
Literacy Rate: 79.7%