Risk of Death Doesn’t Stop Pakistani From Preaching Gospel in Homeland

by | Feb 28, 2003 | Charisma Archive

Nathaniel Barkat will chance martyrdom if it means he can bring his fellow countrymen to Jesus
Pastor Nathaniel Barkat, a native of Pakistan, dares to minister in a land that some say is as dangerous to Christians as was Nero’s Rome. He’s faced death with a faith like the apostle Paul’s. And though he’s set up a thriving ministry in the United States, his calling is to return to his homeland to preach the gospel at the risk of death.

Barkat was first arrested for preaching the gospel in Pakistan in 1965. As he was being taken to the police station, he remembered that he had once read the book Born Crucified about the apostle Paul and had dared to pray, “Lord, could it be possible that I would have an experience like that?”

Today, over tea in the safety of a Southern California restaurant, he laughs about the incident. “I remembered hearing the Holy Spirit saying, ‘Your prayer is being answered, and you’re failing.’ I learned that no one should ever follow other people’s experiences.”

Perhaps not. He is about to return to Pakistan, where prison and martyrdom for believers lurk.

In a country where Islam is the state religion and blasphemy is punishable by death, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that persecution is increasing. In March 2002, a hand grenade thrown at worshipers in a Christian church in Islamabad killed five. On Aug. 5, at a Christian school in the same city, terrorists attacked and killed five. Four days later in Taxila, extremists threw another hand grenade into a chapel at a Christian hospital, killing four.

“God has ordered me to go back. He has protected me in the past, and He will again,” Barkat said. “But I walk very wisely. Any time, a bullet can come. I have many enemies.”

No wonder. One time a crowd of more than 100 Muslims had gathered outside his home in Pakistan to watch him pray for deliverance for a man who had been dealing with witch doctors and religious priests. He had previously prayed with the man, only to see the demonic influence return. The pastor prayed over the man for hours with no results.

“I was totally exhausted,” he said. “So in my heart I called out, Lord, send your fire, and the demons started to scream, ‘We can’t face this fire.’

“I said, ‘Why do you come again and again?’ That demon said, ‘We don’t want to come back, but this witch doctor commands us.’

“I said loudly, ‘Is this witch doctor greater than Jesus?’ And the demon said, ‘No, Jesus is greater,’ and all the Muslims heard this. So at 3 a.m., the man was delivered totally.”

Barkat, 63, grew up in a tiny village near Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan. At age 20, he came to Christ in a Christian service and said he was later baptized in the Holy Spirit in a service led by a female missionary from Sweden.

God soon gave him a heavy longing for his people, and after attending an Assemblies of God Bible school in Abbottabad, Barkat led the denomination’s largest church in Lahore.

He founded the Christian Fellowship of Pakistan, which oversees 20 churches in Punjab, the most populated of Pakistan’s four provinces. His children’s home there houses 25 orphans and provides Christian education to another hundred.

His vision is to start schools in all four provinces. He believes in a country where only 1.7 percent are Christians and thousands of Muslim schools teach military tactics that children are the gospel’s future.

He prefers living in Pakistan, but travels to the United States when he considers his life is in imminent danger. Since 1965, when he was arrested by the Pakistani army and accused of spying for India, he said the country’s secret police have questioned him several times and once threatened to demolish his home because it housed Christian services.

Oddly, he said, on several occasions Muslim officials he had developed friendships with testified for him, in effect saving his life. He said God has paved the way for him to build relationships with several ranking officials. This has allowed him and Samson John, the youngest of his three sons, to maintain a successful church in Lahore.

When persecution again became heavy in 1997, he and his wife, Nisar, left for a time, and with another son, Salik John, planted an Asian church in Denver named Redeemer Asian Community Church.

He said the next year God prompted him to return to Pakistan to start an intercessory prayer ministry in his son’s church. Though he laughs at the notion, God is still answering his prayer to share Paul’s experience.

“If I die, I die,” he said quietly. “As long as He wants me to live, I will live.”

Ed Donnally


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Have We Departed From the  Simplicity of Christ?

Have We Departed From the Simplicity of Christ?

Recently I heard a pastor say the following: "When I was pastoring and saw little fruit, I began to call those with potential to reach others for Christ to our home and to mentor them one on one. That's where massive growth happened in the people." Local pastors and...

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Read Time: 3 Minutes 7 Seconds “When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to the stronghold,” (2 Sam. 5:17). When David heard that he was under...

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Read Time: 3 Minutes 56 Seconds God is good. And He has a good plan for each of our lives. No matter what may be going on right now, God’s plan is unfolding. In the meantime, Romans 12:12 tells us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,”...

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The term "gaslighting" has gone viral across social media this year and Merriam-Webster chose it as their word-of-the-year, saying searches for the word spiked 1,740% in 2022 alone. We're breaking down what the Bible has to say about...


WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdzLoS3wCM During a recent visit to @HungryGeneration, Pastor Vlad Savchuk asked Bill Wiese to comment on his personal experience applying the Word of God to his own...
Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Read Time: 4 Minutes 2 Seconds When I first became a believer in 1970, my mother was one of my first “converts," giving her heart to Jesus as soon as I shared with her the beauty, the power and the opportunity of making Jesus the Lord of her life. However, my father...

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

Read Time: 1 Minute 32 Seconds The last six years have been the best of times and the worst of times. I’ve seen more death, destruction, disease and devastation than I care to remember. I’ve also seen the hand of God move in extraordinary ways. Indeed, sometimes I...

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Read Time: 3 Minutes 41 Seconds I was remembering a time when my husband and I were praying over friends who had been in a situation for many years that had caused deep trauma to their souls. As we were praying for them, I became aware of an angel standing over them...

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

Read Time: 4 Minutes 50 Seconds Do you believe the Lord is concerned about your emotional and spiritual health? He is. He wants you to know how to improve your emotional and spiritual health to be resilient in turbulent times. One of the most powerful things you can...

Pin It on Pinterest