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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Len...

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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Nigeria

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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Nigeria

Project(s): 39-808, 39-838, 39-970

Country/Region: Nigeria

The north of Nigeria is around 93% Muslim, while the southern states are about 80% Christian. The population of the Middle Belt states is more evenly mixed. In the total population there are roughly equal numbers of Christians and Muslims.

Nigeria-1
Christian children in Nigeria.
Despite its many challenges, the Church is growing strongly

According to its constitution Nigeria is a secular state with freedom of religion. Since 1999, however, the leaders of twelve northern states have introduced sharia in their territories, and the federal authorities have proved reluctant to resist this change. Although Christians in these states were promised that they would not be made subject to sharia, they find that they too are required to conform to it, including the separation of the sexes in education, health care and public transport. Islamist militants have expressed their aspiration to Islamise the whole of Nigeria.

The country has a long history of tensions between Muslims and Christians, and in recent years these have developed many times into violent large-scale rioting, usually initiated by Muslim mobs. Christians in the north have suffered discrimination for many years, with restrictions on church buildings and poor treatment of their children in schools. Since the introduction of sharia, however, there have been more and worse incidents of hostility. In the last year hundreds of Christians have been killed and dozens of churches burned by Islamists in serious rioting in both the north and the Middle Belt.

Although parts of Nigeria came into contact with Christianity as early as the fifteenth century, the principal phase of mission activity began in the nineteenth century. Both Western and African-American missionaries were involved. In the colonial period the mission agencies established rural networks of education and health care, some of which still exist. Despite the challenges that it faces, the Church is dynamic and growing rapidly in numbers.

Barnabas Aid projects in Nigeria include:

Nigeria General Fund (Ref. 39-970)
Graduate School of Theology (Ref. 39-808)
Victims of anti-Christian rioting in Maiduguri (Ref. 39-838)
Please Pray:

Three pastors from Maiduguri, Nigeria were beheaded by Islamists on 27 July 2009 for refusing to convert to Islam.

  • Give thanks for the courage of these and other Nigerian Christians who have remained faithful to Christ even in the face of death, and pray that they may be an example to their brothers and sisters.

  • Pray that progress towards the introduction of sharia throughout Nigeria may be halted, and that the authorities will restrain the violence of Islamist groups.
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    • Since General al-Sisi became President of Egypt in June, Christians in the country have felt the pressure upon them ease off somewhat. However, a convert from Islam, Bishoy Armia Boulous, previously known as Mohammed Hegazy, remains in prison. He was rearrested on 4 December 2013, charged with defaming Islam after he fi led a public lawsuit to change the religious affiliation listed on his national identification card from Muslim to Christian. Please pray that there will be genuine religious liberty for Christians from a Muslim background as well as those born into Christian families. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Lift up in prayer Christians living in Minya, Egypt whose homes were attacked on 5 August by local Muslims. The violence broke out after Muslims learned that believers in Yaacoub planned to build a new church. Opposition to construction of church buildings is one of the most common reasons behind anti-Christian attacks Scores of Egyptian churches were attacked following the removal of Mohammed Morsi by Muslims in Egypt. Restrictions on the building of churches, a cause of hardship for Christians for many years, were lifted in Egypt’s recent new constitution. Pray that the assailants will be brought to justice and that the plans for the local church building will continue. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks that ten Egyptian churches destroyed in anti-Christian attacks last year have now been reopened. Around 60 churches across Egypt were attacked by Islamists in the summer of 2013. The assaults were provoked by the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the current Egyptian government has promised to rebuild all the damaged churches, most of the Christians have not yet received aid and some are worshipping in ruined buildings. Pray that the rebuilding process will continue and that the Lord will protect His people in Egypt, especially while they are still meeting in damaged buildings. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

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