Myanmar has a long history of political and humanitarian crises. Located in Southeast Asia and previously known as Burma, Myanmar was ruled by a repressive military junta from 1962 until 2011, when a series of reforms led to limited democracy. The following decade of political openness culminated in the 2020 elections, in which the National League for Democracy, directed by long-time activist Aung San Suu Kyi, won by a landslide. However, when the newly elected parliament gathered for their first session on February 1, 2021, the military junta seized control in a coup, imprisoning all elected leadership and crushing hopes of peace and democracy.
In protest to the military takeover, educated professionals and activists took to the streets in a non-violent civil disobedience movement. The military junta responded to these peaceful demonstrations with a swift, brutal crackdown. As thousands of civilians were arrested or executed, local militias were created for public defense—launching the nation into civil war.
The United Nations has warned of a profound humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.1 At the time of the coup, Myanmar faced one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, and lockdown measures—coupled with the devastation of war—have led to economic collapse.
Against this backdrop of hopelessness and fear, the church in Myanmar is growing. Indigenous believers serving with Live Global report that people are turning to Christ and being baptized, publicly demonstrating their true faith.
These believers need our prayers—and so do the rest of the population facing severe hardship. Here are four specific ways to pray for Myanmar.
1. Pray that the political situation will stabilize—and that God’s work will continue even through chaos.
Although armed conflict affects the entire nation, fighting has centered on regions of strategic value. The army routinely violates human rights as it launches airstrikes and ground attacks against villages, schools, medical clinics, and public offices. As villagers flee to make-shift camps in the jungle or mountains, the number of internally displaced people in Myanmar has risen above 750,000 since the coup began.2
The Bible repeatedly states that God does not tolerate “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16–17). As believers, we mourn for those being killed, detained, and displaced, and pray that the fighting will end.
“We pray continually that the political situation will stabilize,” shares an American Live Global team member. “We also recognize the sovereignty of God and understand that God has worked, is continuing to work, and often does work through situations we don’t consider safe and ideal. . . . We pray that God will cause his work to continue.”
Live Global national partners recognize that the current crisis has created an increased openness to the gospel. When the Buddhist leadership in Myanmar did not express opposition to the military takeover, many people lost confidence in Buddhism and became willing to hear other ideas. Then with the collapse of the economy, young people who had been pursuing financial prosperity in a newly-modern Myanmar realized that, under military rule, it will no longer be possible to achieve their dreams for a successful future. Their unfulfilled hopes can now be replaced by the true hope found in Christ.
A Live Global national partner reports: “People are not proud anymore. They will agree to sit down and hear me teach . . . after that, they thank me for coming.”
Pray that the conflict will not hinder faithful believers from sharing the message of hope with those searching for stability.
2. Pray for provision for civilians facing severe food shortages.
Food shortages are imminent throughout Myanmar. The army burned rice fields and rice storage facilities during its campaign of destruction, while COVID lockdowns prevented farmers from planting at the right time. China’s decision to close the border with Myanmar, along with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have stopped the usual imports of seed and bread. While prices continue to soar in the Western world, the impact is more severe on developing nations with less purchasing power. And unlike many developing nations, Myanmar is isolated from international intervention.
Although the military junta claims to accept aid, the international community will not send food to Myanmar because the junta refuses to release the supplies to the people. In addition, humanitarian organizations seeking to operate within Myanmar cannot work in areas controlled by the military.
The same closed borders that inhibit aid also prevent people from fleeing as refugees.
“The fundamental difference between Myanmar and Ukraine is this: no one can leave Myanmar,” explains another American Live Global team member. “There are no friendly countries where you can just cross a border and they welcome you and say, ‘How can we help you?’” Those who do manage to escape illegally are often trapped in refugee camps or pressed into slavery.
With no aid coming in, and no people getting out, organizations like Live Global are looking for creative ways to provide food. Some Live Global partners visit villages to distribute packets of rice, oil, chicken, and eggs. Others have introduced self-sustaining projects through animal husbandry or vegetable farming.
However, supplies are dwindling. Pray for provision for those living in villages, and for those in cities who cannot be self-sustaining.
3. Pray for education for children currently without teachers or schools.
In protest to the coup, a wide range of public service professionals went on strike as part of the civil disobedience movement. Teachers, university professors, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and government workers chose to leave their jobs rather than cooperate with the military leadership imposed on their institutions. Because of this, most children have not attended school since February 1, 2021.
Recognizing that there will be irreparable harm if a generation of kids cannot attend school for multiple years, many private institutions have moved their classes online. Other schools run by Christian denominations have begun holding class outside—under platforms or in sheds. One Live Global partner had already developed a mobile school to serve slum children, which he now uses to teach elementary classes to children in villages.
All of these solutions operate outside the permission and sanction of the military junta. There are still masses of children who cannot afford private schools and are not connected with religious systems to have access to educational alternatives. Pray for a way for these children to return to school.
4. Pray for perseverance for believers sharing the gospel despite risk and hardship.
A Live Global national partner set up a tent and invited people to inquire about Christianity.
Even with the nation falling apart, local believers are faithfully serving their people in Christ’s name. Reports from Live Global national partners illustrate great efforts to reach the people in Myanmar with the gospel.
One partner set up a tent and invited people to inquire about Christianity. All 50 chairs were filled as he shared the gospel.
Another distributed Christian literature in a Buddhist area. “We gave out 500 pieces of literature in one hour,” he reported. “No one refused, and everyone took time to read.”
A Christian theological seminary in Yangon decided to resume classes in June, despite hearing artillery and gunfire from the campus—and enrollment has increased from previous years.
“It’s just inspiring to see the determination of the people there,” says a Live Global team member.
As conditions in Myanmar worsen, pray that believers would remain undaunted by daily hardships. Pray that the people of Myanmar would find food for physical sustenance—and turn to Christ for lasting spiritual hope and peace.
Regardless of what the future holds, pray that this suffering nation will come to understand God’s promise in Romans 8:35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”
1. “Human rights in Myanmar face ‘profound crisis’ – Bachelet,” UN News, last modified March 21, 2022, https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/03/1114382#:~:text=The%20UN’s%20top%20 rights%20official,areas%20that%20were%20previously%20stable%E2%80%9D.
2. “Over 750,000 people displaced in Myanmar since coup,” The Irrawaddy, last modified June 29, 2022, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/over-750000-people-displaced-in-myanmar-since-coup.html.
In the midst of war and crisis, indigenous Live Global partners serve the unreached in Myanmar by meeting physical and spiritual needs. You can play a role.