(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, June 16, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
Nigeria Population: 2.1 billion, Christians 98 million
At least 896 civilians have been killed in violent attacks in Nigeria during the first three months of 2022. This, according to Open Doors, includes hundreds of Christians who were murdered because of their faith.
This June, on Pentecost, a deadly church attack with 50 Christians killed. In Late May, a church attack killed more than 30 Christians.
This means: Parents losing a child(s); Children losing father/mother. Husbands, wives losing their spouses. Grandparents being killed or losing loved ones, and so on, impacts so many more people.
- Christian persecution is concentrated in Nigeria’s northern and middle states.
In Nigeria’s northern states, Islam is the majority religion and many of the rules of Shari’ah law have been adopted by the local and state governments. Christians in the northern states must abide by these laws. The USCIRF’s 2021 Annual Report, states that “religious police, which are sometimes state funded, are also used to enforce Shari’ah, often focusing on family issues and ‘moral’ behavior.”
In Nigeria’s Middle Belt, conflicts have escalated between Christian farmers and the Fulani, nomadic Muslim herders, causing many Christian farmers to lose their land and their lives. The southern states being majority Christian
2. Jihadist groups, such as Boko Haram, Fulani militants, and ISWAP (Islamic State’s West African Province), are responsible for much of the Christian persecution.
Islamic extremists in Nigeria have been afflicting locals for years. According to the USCIRF’s report, “Since 2009, Boko Haram has inflicted mass terror on civilians, killing at least 37,000 Nigerians, kidnapping thousands, and displacing more than two million.”
These extremists are targeting Christian farmers and civilians, especially those who have converted to Christianity from Islam. Many Christians, who have been displaced by Islamic extremists, live in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP), which are run by the Nigerian military.
3. More Christians were killed between January 2021 and April 2021 than the total number of Christians killed in 2019
4. Over 2,200 Christians were abducted in the first four months of 2021.
In addition to the 1,470 Christians killed in Nigeria, at least 2,200 Christians were abducted by these same jihadist groups between January and April of 2021. Intersociety states that 220 of the Christians abducted are believed to have been killed.
5. Women and girls are often forced to marry Muslim men.
In Nigeria’s Muslim-controlled northern regions, Christian women and under-aged girls are often forced to convert from Christianity and marry Muslim men. These marriages are either forced by the local government, as detailed by Intersociety, or by Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram. Specifically, according to a report from the U.S. State Department, “those women and girls [abducted by Boko Haram] were subjected to forced marriage and sexual abuse, including rape and sexual slavery.”
6. Christians in Nigeria are overlooked in the distribution of COVID-19 relief supplies.
An article from Open Doors USA describes, “Believers from towns in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State, including Ungwan Boro, Sabon Tasha, Barnawa and Naraye, report they received six times smaller rations from the state than Muslim families.” Many displaced Christians live in overcrowded camps for internally displaced persons, making them vulnerable to both COVID and further attacks from Islamic extremist groups. According to the USCIRF’s report, these camps have “been accused of human rights violations against civilians.”
- Cry out to the Lord that He will convict President Buhari and His staff for ignoring the needs of their Christians citizens.
- 2021 was dominated by reports of increased lawlessness. Please pray that President Buhari and state governors will diligently and transparently work to find lasting solutions to the deepening security crisis in northern Nigeria.
- Pray for healing and hope as the level of trauma among Christians is reaching crisis levels, men are killed, and survivors are left in despondency over the future. Pray for healing and hope.
- Pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen their faith and that Christians and remain joyful under suffering.
- Pray that the Lord that believer will continue to be able to provide a reason to anyone that asks for the hope that is in them.
- Pray that NGOs working in the country will bear fruit. Pray for continued protection and wisdom for our partners who must travel and risk attack and/or abduction. Pray that their work will strengthen the church in Nigeria and restore hope.
- Pray that the Lord will stretch out His hand of protection over girls and women to keep them safe from forced marriages, rape, abduction, and slavery.
- Pray to the Lord that He will show ways for believers to find and support each other in their difficult walk of faith.
- Pray to the Lord that He will blind, confuse, and distract the militant groups such as Boko Haram when they plan and go out to persecute Christians.
- Pray for the Christians who are rebuilding after an attack, that God will encourage, protect and provide.
- Pray to the Lord that He will touch the hearts of the militant groups who attack Christians, as only He can.
- Pray for pastors and elders that the Lord will strengthen them, not become discouraged as they minister to the broken hearted.
- Pray the Lord will thwart the efforts of the anti-Christian militants and government officials to destabilize His church. That the gates of hell will not prevail. That the Lord Jesus Christ will greatly grow His church.
Again, we want to lift up these 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
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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 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
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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.