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Persecution Watch: Praying for the Persecuted in Nigeria

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(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday December 23, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

NIGERIA: Population: 206.1 million, Christians: 95.3n million

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.

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. More than 100 farming communities in Nigeria’s southern Kaduna region have been displaced over the last five years in land-grabbing campaigns allegedly perpetrated by radical Fulani herdsmen. Religion News Service reported that at least 33 people died with four churches and hundreds of homes burned down in a new attack in Kaduna.

Speaking at a large conference on international religious freedom hosted by Sam Brownback—former U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom—Joy recounted that she and her classmates first heard gunshots outside their dormitory, and then saw dozens of armed intruders appear. The terrified girls were forcibly herded into huge trucks and driven on rough backroads into the darkness. During the journey, Joy tried to focus her mind on her options, and eventually summoned the courage to throw herself out of the truck, knowing full well that she was risking her life. She explained, “I decided it would be better if my parents found my corpse than learned that I’d been raped, beaten and enslaved for life.”

Christian groups, a U.S. government panel and former senior U.S. diplomats are furious over Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s decision to take Nigeria off a list of countries accused of engaging in or tolerating religious persecution. Blinken’s decision was revealed last week just before he visited Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and one where Muslim-Christian tensions have long flared.

  • 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 to the Lord to weaken the Boko Haram movement. That the Lord will confuse and weaken the movement through infighting and starvation of funding from outside sources.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will put a stop to the land grabs by the Fulani Herdsman by destroying villages and churches, displacing, or killing the Christian villager
  • Pray for the Lord’s grace and comfort for believers as many are displaced, have lost loved ones and their homes, and many have also experienced trauma.
  • Ask the Lord to be near all of those who have been kidnapped and pray that they will be released or rescued.
  • Pray that the programs provided by NGOs such as Open Doors partners will strengthen the church to testify and share the gospel in very difficult circumstances.
  • Pray that NGOs and other humanitarian groups will respond to violent attacks, providing much-needed medical and other material assistance.
  • Pray to the for the replacement of Bibles destroyed by Muslim extremists
  • Pray to the Lord for provision of ministry tools for front-line gospel workers reaching Muslims for Christ. Pray for boldness and the Lords of protection on them.
  • Pray that the Lord will guide and give wisdom to Christian villagers on how to develop early warning systems.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will appear to many Muslims in their dreams – and connect them to believers to hear the Good News.
  • Lord we pray for special protection of Christian boarding schools. Keep them safe from attacks.
  • Lord we pray that you make your presence felt to all girls who have been abducted, raped, beaten mistreated, made slaves for live. Lord we pray that you comfort them and do what is impossible for men, set the captives free.
  • Pray to the Lord that because of the martyrdom of many believers that he will have His special hand on His church and that a multitude of new believers will confess that He, Jesus is the only way and the truth.

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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 time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are 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 are new to the call and cannot 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!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

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.

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