Daily Prayer Guides for Nigeria
With Anguished Tears and Bold Prayers, May We Be One
An Invitation to Join in Prayer with the People of Nigeria and particularly the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN—Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria)
Mindful of our membership in God’s global human family, let us join together in daily prayer with all of God’s children in Nigeria during this time of suffering, uncertainty, and anguish. Among other tragic events is the kidnapping of over 200 young girls (many of whom are from EYN) from a school in Chibok. Through the use of these daily guides for prayer, all are invited to hold these grave concerns in the light of Christ’s presence, trusting in God’s sovereign power and comfort. For more information on the crisis in Nigeria and our response visit the other pages of this site or read our blog posts for current stories and reports from Nigeria.
Scripture: Philippians 1:27-30
Prayer Focus: Faithfulness in partnership and witness
- Pray for opportunities for EYN to develop cooperative relationships with their Muslim neighbors and to promote peace and harmony in their communities.
- Pray for the steadfastness they need to endure suffering without giving up hope (v. 29-30).
- Pray for their ability to give a good witness to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, in their communities and to a “watching world” as they endure this trial.
Prayer through Song: “Guide my feet” Hymnal: A Worship Book #546
Scripture: Philippians 4:4-9
Prayer Focus: For peace, patience, and faithfulness in prayer
- Pray that leaders and members of EYN can rejoice in the presence of Christ within and among them (vv. 4-5).
- Pray that the power of prayer sustains them (v. 6).
- Pray that “the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7).
- Pray that they can spur one another on to faithfulness when they gather (vv. 8-9).
- Pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will be poured out among them to bless and strengthen them.
Prayer through Song: “God sends us the Spirit” Hymnal: A Worship Book #293
—Annual Conference moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman
Scripture: Read Isaiah 43:1-7
Prayer Focus: Comforting Assurance of God’s Presence, "I will be with you"
- Pray for each girl to feel God’s loving presence surrounding her (v. 1)
- For their safety in the midst of captivity (v. 2)
- For their safe and speedy release (v. 3-7)
Prayer through Song: "Don’t be afraid… My love is stronger than your fear" Hymnal Supplement Series #1103, The Iona Community.
Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23
Prayer Focus: The Immeasurable Greatness of God’s Power
- For the religious community in Nigeria to have courage, maintain faith, and trust in God’s saving power
- For those in positions of power in the Nigerian government to act swiftly, justly, peacefully, and with wisdom and courage, serving the common good
- Give praise to God whose power was and is revealed through Christ who was raised from the dead and rules over all things.
Prayer through Song: "Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing" Hymnal: A Worship Book #110.
|Photo by Stan Noffsinger|
|Dr. Rebecca Dali shows photos of violence in Nigeria. She leads the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI), which collects stories of survivors and pictures following attacks.|
Scripture: Psalm 9
Prayer Focus: Trusting in God's Righteous Judgment
- Give thanks and praise "with your whole heart…and tell of all God’s wonderful deeds" (v. 1-6)
- Call on God to "execute righteous and equitable judgment" on behalf of the innocent victims (v. 7-8)
- Pray that the girls will put their trust in God and not feel forgotten (v. 9-10; 18)
- Pray for God’s conquering love to transform the kidnappers (v. 19-20)
Prayer through Song: "A mighty fortress is our God" Hymnal: A Worship Book#165
Additional Resource from a 1996 Annual Conference Statement: "God's revelation in Jesus Christ provides a very different sort of answer to the perennial questions intended to justify violence on behalf of victims. Yes, disciples are to care deeply about victims and act on their behalf. But what they do should be in accord with the teachings and spirit of Jesus. Moving against the life of another human being is never in harmony with what God has revealed in Jesus. In faithfulness to the Lord, disciples do not have guns to use against an attacker. Even when terrible inhumanities are being threatened or perpetrated, disciples refuse to become agents or advocates of violence. They cry out with victims. They intercede and pray against the powers of destruction. They may be called into actual accompaniment of victims, sharing their jeopardy, working at mediation, and joining with them in nonviolent resistance to those who victimize them. They seek the Spirit's guidance into creative initiatives that can show the judging love of God to those who move against others.... God's intent proclaimed in the Gospel is that all human beings, individually and corporately, give themselves to Jesus Christ and his way. Disciples should strive to make that intent manifest in their lives and witness. They must not, therefore, give their support and blessing to governmental policies and actions that are in stark opposition to the way of Jesus. They seek to propose and promote policies and actions by government that do have some congruence with his way." (Annual Conference Statement of 1996, “Nonviolence and Humanitarian Intervention”)
Scripture: Isaiah 40
Prayer Focus: Comfort, Hope, and Strength
- Pray that God’s glory would be revealed even through these trying situations (v. 5)
- Pray that each girl will feel carried like a lamb in the arms of the Shepherd (v. 11)
- Give God praise for displaying greatness, wisdom, creative power, and might (vv. 12-26)
- Pray that the families of the girls will receive power when they feel faint-hearted, strength to continue to trust, and a deep steadfastness (vv. 28-31)
Prayer through Song: "They that wait upon the Lord" Hymnal: A Worship Book #584)
Scripture: Mark 9:33-37 and 10:13-16
Suggested Acts of Prayerful Solidarity to Consider:
- Share information with your congregation from the Nigeria Crisis page.
- Challenge your congregation to regularly engage in the spiritual discipline of fasting during the coming weeks, replacing a meal with a concentrated time of prayer
- Share this Additional Resource for reflection from a 1997 Annual Conference statement: “Throughout the Bible, children are seen as a blessing and a sign of God's favor, and are often bearers of God's promise for the future. The scriptures call us to care for and defend the children, as they are the most vulnerable members of God's family.... In the New Testament, Jesus accords children a kind of respect and attention nearly always reserved for adults. In seeking out children and in naming them as role models for his disciples, Jesus revolutionized attitudes toward the place of the child in the human community.... The biblical record, and especially the life and teachings of Jesus, calls on Christians to ensure that children are respected and loved. Rather than being excluded, exiled, or exploited, children are brought to the Master's lap and thus into the center of the circle of his love and concern. They must be treated in the same way by his followers.” (Annual Conference statement of 1997, “Statement on Child Exploitation”)