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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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    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Aid in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 5 hours ago

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to You for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Madagali, in Adamawa state, until their town was seized by Boko Haram two months ago. We think of those who were betrayed into the hands of Boko Haram by their neighbours pointing out Christian homes or places where Christians had hidden. We bring before You those who saw their menfolk beheaded, and women forcibly converted to Islam. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for a pastor in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania whose home was attacked on 17 May; two of his children were injured. When he went to report the incident to the police, he was falsely accused of raping a young woman who had left Islam to follow Christ. The pastor had taken her into his home, along with four other converts, after she was thrown out by her family; it was they who made the accusation against him. He has faced much opposition because of his fruitful outreach to Muslims, and several failed attempts have been made to frame him with false accusations. Pray that the sovereign Lord will help him and that he will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7-9). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

    • A church on Mafia Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, was attacked on 9 May by around 80 young Muslim men armed with arrows and knives. The church members, who are mainly converts from Islam, had gathered for their weekly overnight prayer session when the attackers appeared, shouting “death to ritad’i” (those who leave Islam). They set fi re to the church, leaving the interior in ruins, and then went in search of the pastor, but he was not at home. The incident followed a bomb blast at another church in Mwanza in mainland Tanzania on 5 May, in which a worker at the church rest house was critically injured. Pray that the authorities will effectively address the increasing incidence of attacks against churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Cry out to the Lord for the many Christian victims of kidnapping by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Remember especially the more than two hundred teenage girls who were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, on the night of 14 April. A video released in May showed eight of the girls speaking about their ordeal; they plead for their release, and one says, “I never expected to suffer like this in my life.” It is believed that they have been divided into at least four groups and that most of them are being held in camps outside Nigeria. They are hungry, while some are unwell and need medical attention. Pray for their safe release and for that of other kidnapped Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

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