2/4/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) Nigeria: Population2,06 billion, Christians: 95,4 million
An average of 13 Christians killed every day. That’s nearly 400 Christians dying every month. Just because they follow Jesus. These are staggering and sobering statistics.
What does persecution look like in Nigeria? What is life like for Christians? More Christians are murdered for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country. Violent attacks by Boko Haram, Hausa-Fulani Muslim militant herdsmen, ISWAP (an affiliate of the Islamic State group) and other Islamic extremist groups are common in the north and middle belt of the country and are becoming more common farther south.
In these attacks, Christians are often murdered or have their property and means of livelihood destroyed. Men and boys are particularly vulnerable to being killed. The women and children left behind are very vulnerable and living testimonies to the power of the attackers. Perpetrators are seldom brought to justice. Christian women are often abducted and raped by these militant groups, and sometimes forced to marry Muslims. Christians from a Muslim background face rejection by and pressure from their families. Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency (2015 onwards) has seen a sharp increase in attempts to force Islamization on the country, including appointing Muslims to key government positions.
Many Christians who are driven out of their villages and away from their sources of livelihood are forced to become internally displaced persons (IDPs), often living in informal IDP camps. Given the continuous occupation of their villages by Fulani militants, the lack of government support, the lack of proper education for their children and the high vulnerability of IDPs, these believers continue to suffer even after the brutality of the initial persecution.
What has changed in Nigeria? Nigeria has risen several places on the World Watch List, and persecution has worsened in all areas of public and private life. Violence against Christians perpetrated by Boko Haram, Fulani militants and ISWAP (Islamic State West Africa Province)—as well as other, unidentified armed attackers—has led to tremendous suffering among the Christian community. Nigeria entered the top 10 of the 2021 World Watch List primarily because this violence has increased and began to spill out into other parts of Nigeria, and the government seems unable or unwilling to protect its Christian citizens. Islamic extremist attacks have not abated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Christians who are staying at home to combat the spread of the virus have been vulnerable to attack.
Persecution, and especially violent attacks, are most prevalent in the north and Middle Belt of Nigeria. The government’s attempts to Islamize the country are more widespread, affecting even Christian majority communities in the south. Christians who have converted from Islam are very vulnerable in the north of the country, particularly in those areas governed by Shariah law. Christians living as IDPs are also particularly vulnerable.
Open Doors partners with the local church to strengthen persecuted believers in Nigeria through discipleship and persecution survival training, community development projects, emergency relief, trauma care and legal assistance.
- Pray that the Muslim leaders will be touched by the Gospel and pray for President Muhammadu Buhari and his government. Pray they will take decisive actions to protect all citizens in every part of the country.
- Pray for the Lord to help Christian leaders to get into top government positions and shape government policy to protect its citizens.
- Pray to the Lord that He will stir up the Christians in the lower half of the nation, let them see that persecution is continuing to move southward. Take the scales from their eyes and let them understand the consequences of complacency.
- Pray for the Lord’s grace and comfort for believers as many are displaced, have lost loved ones and their homes.
- Pray, ask the Lord to be near those who have been kidnapped and pray that they will be released or rescued.
- Pray that the NGOs, Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors and all the other Organizations to will strengthen the persecuted believers in Nigeria through discipleship and persecution survival training, community development projects, emergency relief, trauma care and legal assistance.
- Pray to the Lord that believers will continue testify and share the gospel in very difficult circumstances.
- Pray that God would be at work in the hearts of Islamic extremists—such as members of the Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsman and the Islamic State group—that they would come to know the love of Jesus and that He would turn their lives around
- Pray for easy access to the internet and that both Believers and Muslims will see messages that encourage and or convict them.
- Pray the Lord will enable Christians to forgive their persecutors.
- Pray to the Lord that His hand of protection is over the Nigerian Church and that He will bind the forces of darkness and grow HIS CHURCH.
Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord:
- Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram, pray that they will be set free.
- Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
- Pray for Anita, a Christian convert persecuted for her faith in Iran.
You are invited to join us on Thursday, February 4, 2021 in a prayer call for the persecuted church.
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.
The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.
With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.
Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.
If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.
Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.
Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.