“Do you really want to pray for me?”
“Do you really want to ask the God of heaven to heal me? Do as you like, but I do not believe that God would ever look at a woman’s agony. It is His will for us to suffer.” This was Fatma’s first reaction when some Christians wanted to pray for her. Healing, according to her, was to expect too much from God.
Many Yemeni women have the same thoughts as Fatma. Not all their suffering comes from sickness – much comes from a wide variety of injustices. They suffer when they are denied education, and when they are married at a very early age and often against their will. Most work hard all day and endure abuses. Often they are divorced for the flimsiest reasons, and sometimes they become a second or third wife. They grow up without expectations, believing that it is their destiny to serve and please others even while they suffer. They have been made to believe that this is the will of God.
Most Yemeni women do not know God as a caring Father. They largely live in darkness away from the light of His great love. They cannot imagine Him sharing their pain and being aware of the injustices that they suffer. Yet there is hope: God is a God who longs to heal, comfort, and renew their lives. Fatma is now a Yemeni believer. And she is not the only one. Along with her there are a few other women who have received new life with God. (There are possibly as many as 200 Yemeni believers, although the majority are men.)
Yemen (population 20 million) is the poorest of the Arab nations, and is also considered the most ‘backward’ country by her richer Arab neighbours. Yemenis are 95 per cent Arab living in 1,700 clans and tribes (62 per cent Sunni Muslim and 37 per cent Zaidi Shiite Muslim). Islam is the country’s official religion, and the legal system is based on Islamic sharia law. Has not God chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong? Doors to this nation are open. Many seeds have been sown, martyrs have given their lives. The harvest is getting riper.
“All those from Sheba (Yemen) will come; they will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news of the praises of the Lord” (Isa 60:6).
* The Queen of Sheba (Yemen) came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Pray that the women of Yemen come to the One greater than Solomon, to hear His wisdom and receive life from Him (Matt 12:42).
* Pray that the converted Yemeni women grow in faith and maturity while building godly friendships (Eph 4:11;6:24). Often they have difficulties meeting together because of family responsibilities and safety issues.
* Pray for the converted Yemeni men as well. Pray for mature leaders to be raised up, leaders who can become fathers and shepherds for the rest of the flock.
* Pray for the Truth of Jesus to captivate the Yemeni people.