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Nigeria: ‘out of these ashes’

Violence against Christians returned in January, with more believers killed or kidnapped almost every day. Fulani herdsmen killed five Christians on 22 January, in northeast Nigeria, following the slaughter of twelve believers the previous Friday. In a predominantly Christian area of Bauchi state, residents said militant herdsmen attacked one community, killing five Christians and kidnapping another. The area has been attacked by Islamist terrorists and Fulani herdsmen for several years and many villages have been destroyed, driving Christian survivors to other parts of Nigeria. On 20 January Fulani invaded another predominantly Christian community and killed twelve believers. On the 17th five Christians were killed, and Christians are under siege following kidnappings and attacks. Release International is raising awareness about this ongoing persecution. ‘Out of these ashes’ will be launched in April to inform UK Christians and encourage them to pray for those suffering for Christ in Nigeria.

Pray: for the campaign to successfully enlighten people with up to date information that prompts powerful prayer for persecuted brothers and sisters. (Luke 18:1)

More: releaseinternational.org/prayer-alert-killing-of-nigerian-christians-continues/

Pray for the UK

Immigration is a reality of national life. London has 10,000+ people of over fifty various nationalities. Many Brits struggle to welcome immigrants, who often struggle to adjust to life in the UK. Pray for society to face the challenges of many cultures living together in peace. Immigrants from Christian nations like Nigeria and Brazil bring new church life and church growth. Pray for local congregations to plant new churches, reach new peoples, and glorify Jesus as they partner with believers from many lands. Sadly, England's inner cities are becoming physical and spiritual wastelands of drugs and crime. Dying churches and empty churches have been converted to mosques, temples, or gurdwaras as white evangelicals move to the suburbs. Inner-city whites in poverty and joblessness have few prospects. Pray for God to raise an army of workers to meet the many needs of impoverished and often troubled areas.

Pray: for God to release more ministries such as The Message Trust (in Manchester) and Street Pastors (in many cities) to build His church. (Matthew 16:18b)

More: operationworld.org/prayer-calendar/12-06/

Nigeria: religious freedom

Mubarak Bala, an outspoken Nigerian atheist, was sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to blaspheming Islam. The landmark case placed freedom of religion and expression under new scrutiny. A BBC Africa documentary entitled ‘The cost of being an atheist’ revealed the challenges which atheists face regarding freedom of speech and thought. Many disengage from social media activities because emotions and outrage are high. Once people discover someone is not a Muslim, they target them. Despite being a minority atheists face discrimination, harassment and persecution in the Muslim north and also in the Christian south.

Pray: for the government to restore freedom of religion across north and south Nigeria. (Matthew 7:5)

More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-africa-63496455

Two more former Chibok schoolgirls found

Boko Haram abducted 276 Christian girls from Chibok School in 2014. Girls were whipped and forced into marriage. Some experienced mock executions for refusing to become Muslims. Yana and Rejoice, now young women with children of their own, were among the captives and were recently recovered with their children by the Nigerian Army. Yana Pogu has four children, two boys and twin girls. Rejoice Sanki has two children. They are undergoing medical examinations before being passed over to the care of the Borno government.

Praise: God for their rescue may they quickly recover from the physical, spiritual and emotional trauma of their ordeal. (Galatians 6:2)

More: https://www.barnabasfund.org/gb/news/two-more-former-chibok-schoolgirls-found-in-borno-nigeria/https://www.barnabasfund.org/gb/news/two-more-former-chibok-schoolgirls-found-in-borno-nigeria/

Nigeria: dangers of being religious in a religious nation

Religious intolerance in one of the most religious countries in Africa is dominating debates ahead of next year's elections. It is rare to find anyone not devout in the mainly Muslim north or mainly Christian south. There is no official religion. Although they are guaranteed religious freedom the religious minorities live in fear. ‘We don't have freedom to worship. You are in trouble if you dress like a Muslim. We hide our religion.’ said Ibrahim, a Muslim in southern Nigeria. Obinna Nnadi once lived in the north but felt it was not safe to practise Christianity, so she moved her family south. Islamic law is in place in much of northern Nigeria. Rev Caleb Ahima, vice-president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, acknowledges that religious discrimination is a consequence of location. Meanwhile Odinani, the African traditional religion before Christianity, is making a comeback with younger people who are also facing intolerance and aggression.

Pray: for authorities in every region to crack down on religious discrimination and aggression, and for Christians to reach out to disillusioned and cynical youth to ease tensions. (Matthew 5:44)

More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-63255695

Nigeria: challenges and opportunities

Each zone in Nigeria has unique challenges and opportunities. Christian persecution increases, especially in the north. Some Muslim groups have killed thousands and destroyed hundreds, possibly thousands, of churches. Persecution unites Christians, driving them to the Lord in prayer. It also threatens the core of society and statehood. Pray for restoration and recovery for those who suffer from loss, or rape. Pray for forgiveness and freedom from a spirit of revenge. Pray that believers respond in the most Christ-like way possible, and for enemies of Christ to become His followers. In the south oil industries have polluted pristine agricultural land but only an elite (corrupt) few have benefited. Pentecostal churches are growing: may God give them sacrificial concern for the less privileged in the less-reached areas. Muslim missionary activity has intensified to win ethnic religions and backsliding Christians. Pray for cross-cultural outreach and true conversion of youth.

Pray: for an end to religious persecution in Plateau state. Pray for greater harmony between Christians and Muslims, and for a Christlike response to opposition. (1 Peter 3:14)

More: operationworld.org/prayer-calendar/09-22/#nigeria


map OW

map 2 nigeria

This week we invite you to pray for 2 key Nations which are strategically important for the Kingdom of God in reaching the Unreached. First, we join with Operation World Prayer Focus on Nigeria.

Why Nigeria is Important?

Because it is the:

  • 6th Largest Nation by population in the World – 218 Million.  (After China, India, USA, Indonesia, & Pakistan)
  • 5th largest Moslem Population in a single nation.  80 million. (After Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh &  Iran)
  • 3rd largest Christian Nation.  90 million. (After USA, Brazil)
  • 3rd  Highest number of Evangelicals in the World.  (After USA and Brazil)
  • 2nd largest Assemblies of God National Council – With other 18,098 Ministers, 16,300. Churches and 3.6 Million Members. (After Brazil AG) 
  • The most populace Nation in the Continent of Africa.
  • Nation with great potential for Missions in Africa and beyond!

Nigeria also has the greatest Challenges as a Nation and a Church:

Nigeria becomes “the Greatest Enemy of Christian Faith in the World” and “a country with the world’s largest Christian Deaths for the Year 2021.”

  • Persecution and Violence.
  • Islamic influence.
  • Political and Economic Challenges.
  • Spiritual Challenges.

Read On:


Church growth has been massive and remains so. A large majority of West Africa’s evangelicals live in Nigeria. Nigeria has the world’s 4th, and possibly 3rd, highest number of evangelicals in the world. Catholics, Anglicans, traditional Protestant groups, and newer Pentecostal and charismatic groups all grow. Much growth comes from among Muslims and those who follow tribal religions. This growth often happened quietly, in less obvious ways. Praise God for the millions who have come to know Him in Nigeria!


Africa and Nigeria’s greatest spiritual challenge is discipleship, not Islam, not corruption, and not even the need for missions. The Church grew so fast that many new believers have little chance to be discipled. Much division and false teaching enters into churches. Prosperity teaching distorts the gospel. A form of Christianity mixed with African tribal religious practices is common. The Church needs a balanced and biblical approach to spiritual warfare, to healing and miracles, and to outreach towards other religions. Many Christians seem to live by other values than what the Bible clearly teaches. Pray that humility, simplicity, and holiness might become the motto of the Nigerian Church. Read more from Operation World.

nigeria city

City of Lagos

Lagos city


Nigeria’s unity has survived, almost miraculously, despite countless threats. The cumulative effects of ancient tribal rivalries, Muslim conquests, British colonial policy in which the north and south were handled differently, the bitter Biafra war of 1967-70 and heightened religious tensions have left deep scars. Pray for healing and reconciliation; pray also for leadership that will serve to reconcile and unite rather than to embitter and divide.

The challenges facing the government are myriad and urgent – extremist Muslim agitation in the north, armed militias in the disgruntled and oil-rich southeast, pervasive corruption, a self-serving network of bureaucratic elite, emigration/brain drain, widespread poverty and an apparently disintegrating sense of national identity.

These are challenges enough for any established government, never mind a fledgling democracy. Pray for the right balance between caution and decisiveness in addressing such threats, and between prudence and ambition in economic development and in combating poverty. Pray for General Elections in Nigeria in next February which is critical in dealing with violence, poverty and persecution. The Campaigning begins this week!


The world media intentionally shuns news about violence against Christians in Nigeria. The introduction of shari’a law in northern Muslim states is a direct challenge to the federal government. It is an open door to human rights abuses and the further infiltration of Nigeria by extremists. It is a danger to national stability and a threat to Christian ministry in those states so affected.

Pray for the intrinsic cruelty and injustices of shari’a to be exposed and for those seeking moral order and social righteousness to find it in the practice of biblical principles under the authority of Christ.


Photo by Genocide Watch.

  • The Genocide Watch notes that by having a distinction of being the country most hostile to Freedom of Worship, Nigeria also became “the Greatest Enemy of Christian Faith in the World” and “a country with the world’s largest Christian Deaths for the Year 2021.”
  • No fewer than 5,191 of the victims were unarmed citizens hacked to death or shot by Islamic radicals or hostile members of the country’s security forces.
  • According to the Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch index on global killing of Christians: “4,650 Christians were killed in Nigeria between Nov 2020 and Oct 2021, higher than 3,530 deaths recorded in the previous year (Oct 2019-Nov 2020
  • For the fifteen months from January 2021 to March 2022, Nigeria saw a total 6006 Christian deaths.
  • From July 2009 (year of the Boko Haram Uprising) to March 2022, the Christian death tolls rose to 45,644. Approximately 30,000 moderate Muslims were also killed during the period by the country’s Jihadists, who are chiefly indigenous Fulani Herdsmen, Fulani Bandits and other jihadist pastoralists or mercenaries.
  • The issues of Kidnapping of Christians and Leaders. According to Morning Star News, just last week more kidnappings have happened raising the danger of Christians in Nigeria. Read more:

Please pray for the protection of Christians and for this senseless violence to stop.


Specific religious communities needing prayer and attention are many; Nigeria’s religious context is highly complex and varied beyond the obvious domination of the Christian-Muslim dynamic. The major blocs are:

  • Muslims.  40%.  Many are more open to the gospel despite – or even because of – Nigeria’s religious tensions. Tens, and possibly hundreds, of thousands have come to Christ. But many face death threats, discrimination and ostracism. Powerful Christian literature for Muslims and effective outreach methods are increasingly available. There are many expressions of Islam in Nigeria, including the majority Sunni and Shi’ite, Sufi and militant, and the hostility between some of these groups is evident.
  • Practitioners of African traditional religion. While they number officially only around 3%, they more likely number around 8%; even beyond this, their practices and beliefs penetrate deeply into some forms of both Islam and Christianity. Many of Nigeria’s remaining smaller unreached-people groups are animist; they are responsive to the good news, yet are being rapidly Islamized. Pray for urgent Christian outreach to them while the door remains open.


Praise God for the General Council of Assemblies of God in Nigeria (AGN) which has been a great influence for the Kingdom of God. The founder of AGN, Rev. Augustus Asonye was one of the first five young men who spoke in tongues in 1934 without a Missionary and contrary to their church belief. They were kicked out of Faith Tabernacle, and formed the Church of Jesus Christ and in 1939 invited the Assemblies of God, to take them over.

Today AGN is the 3rd Largest Assemblies of God National Council having over 3.6 million members, with 18,600 Churches and 16,300 Ministers. AGN in a huge resource for the Continent of Africa and for the Global Church.

AG church pic

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Pray for the leadership of AGN and as they have their General Council this November to elect the future Leaders. Pray for dynamic vision of raising next generation leaders to reach the continent of Africa.

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Pray fo the Leadership of Assemblies of God Nigeria.

Pray for Pastors and Churches who are facing persecution for strength and courage to continue their work.

Pray for the Missionary Vision of AGN. They have sent a number of missionaries to neighboring nations in Central and West Africa. Many are working among the large diaspora Nigerian communities around the world. However, there is a massive potential in AGN to send hundreds of missionaries, especially to Islamic Nations in North Africa and Middle East. Please pray for AGN Missions Director, Rev. Udochukwu Oriwa who represents Central Africa and for Rev. Uche Ama, Deputy Director of Missions for AAGA. Let us pray to raise up the sleeping giant of Missions in Nigeria.


Nigeria is one of the leading missionary-sending countries of the developing world. Pray for:

  • Nationwide mission networks. The Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI), Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA) and Agape Missions and Evangelical Network (AMEN), who all play huge roles in pushing forward the mission impetus started at the 1974 Lausanne Congress which has the goal of mobilizing 50,000 Nigerians for missions in the next 15 years. Currently, 5,300 long-term Nigerian missionaries are under the NEMA umbrella, representing 115 agencies. Around half serve cross-culturally within Nigeria; the other half serve outside the country.
  • Denominational agencies with a strong missions programs such as  The Evangelical Missionary Society of ECWA has by far the largest number of cross-cultural missionaries. Deeper Life Bible Church and Living Faith Ministries have sent missionaries to over 40 nations. The former has planted over 3,000 churches outside of Nigeria. AOG, Baptists, Churches of Christ in Nigeria (TEKAN) and others also have strong missionary-sending programs.
  • There are now 50 missions-training institutions in Nigeria, an answer to prayer. Congregations still need to understand the vital roles they play in supporting and sending Nigerian missionaries into the field. About 2,000 Nigerian missionaries serve in other lands, mainly in West Africa; they face difficulties in receiving funds to provide for their material needs and educate their children. Read More about Nigeria Missions.


Each Zone in Nigeria represents unique challenges and opportunities. Please read and pray for each Zone represented in this Map on points given below:

Nigerian Map showing Six Geopolitical Regions Thirty Six States and One FCT

Source: ResearchGate.net

Southern Zones

  • The oil industry has polluted the pristine agricultural land of millions, but only an elite (or corrupt) few have benefited. Christians are in the great majority. Pentecostal churches are the predominant influence and the fastest growing – ranging from small groups meeting in homes to megachurches. Pray for sacrificial concern among Christians for the less-reached and less-privileged areas.  In the Niger Delta and coastal regions many peoples live in these virtually inaccessible swampy, riverine areas that are largely bypassed by missions.

Central Zones

  • There has been dramatic church growth over the last 50 years and more recently, various Pentecostal and charismatic churches. Pray for the spiritual growth of believers and for true conversion of the younger generation – evangelical nominalism is a major problem. Pray for revival and a vision for cross-cultural outreach.
  • Muslim missionary activity has intensified in the region. Considerable efforts are made to win over followers of ethnic religions and backsliding Christians.
  • The occurrences of religious violence and persecution in this region, especially Plateau state and its capital, Jos, have been prominent in the last decade. It is the fault line between Christian- and Muslim-dominated Nigeria. Pray for boldness and faithfulness in the midst of pressures and for a Christlike response to opposition.

Northern Zones

  • There is a great need for Nigerian missionaries to ensure that the costly gains in church growth are not lost. Pray for the sending of workers, from the scores of denominations and churches who will be well prepared and effective in such a hostile, dangerous environment.
  • The gospel has made progress since independence despite considerable opposition from Muslims. Many smaller non-Muslim peoples and an increasing number of Muslim-majority peoples are responding to the gospel. Believers from a Muslim background are often driven either underground or out of their home area. Read More details about each Zone:

Pray for the unreached peoples.

  • The Fulani (Fulbe) are a strategic people across Africa and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest unreached-people cluster. Their origins are in Senegal, but their greatest numbers are in Nigeria, where 16 million of the 32 million Fulani live. They form both the strongly Muslim ruling class (Sokoto/Toroobe) and the nominally Muslim nomadic cattle grazers over much of Nigeria and the Sahel. Over 90% of Nigerian Fulani are Muslim, but an increasing number are responding to the gospel.
  • The Hausa are known as predominantly Muslim, but a number actually follow traditional religions. Among these are the Maguzawa, a people with their own distinctive culture who retain the pre-Islamic, traditional Hausa religion. An exciting turning to Christ is happening among them.
  • The Isawa, a Hausa Muslim fringe group that gives high honour to Jesus, are also responding to the gospel. Christian resources in Hausa are widely available.
  • The Kanuri of Borno state are proudly Muslim and have been so for 1,000 years. They doubt that other peoples can even practice Islam properly. There are few believers among the 5.2 million even after years of witness.
  • The Gwoza Hills (Adamawa and Borno). The area is hotly contested spiritually, with some peoples turning from paganism – more to Christianity than to Islam. Over 23 peoples live in the area.
Thank you for taking the time to Pray for this great Nation of Nigeria. Please mobilize prayer in your Church and Nation for Nigeria.
  • Sources:
  • Operation World.
  • Open Doors.
  • A Biography of Rev. Dr. Augustus O. Asonye,
  • Genocide Watch.
  • Morning Star News.
  • Pics sources:
  • Assemblies of God Nigeria.
  • almacenamientoit.ituser.es
  • ReserachGate.net
  • Genocide watch.

Nigeria: Increased violence against Christians

Lagos, Nigeria – On July 15, Reverend Fathers Donatus Cleophas and Mark Cheitnum were in the empty rectory of Christ the King parish in Yadin Garu, a town in the Southern Kaduna area of northwest Nigeria when five armed men walked in. 

The gunmen confiscated the phones of both priests, who had stayed to celebrate mass after an ordination service in that diocese, and led them into the muddy grounds of a maize farm near the parish.  There, Cheitnum was shot dead, and his body was left in the rain, while his colleague was taken away.

“We did not have any scuffle, nothing,” Cleophas, who has since regained his freedom, told Al Jazeera. “All I can think of is because maybe Father [Mark] was wearing canvas [shoes] and he could not keep up with the pace at which we were moving.”

According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), violence against Christians targeted on the basis of their religious identity has spiked, just as political violence against civilians has generally been on the rise too.  Its data shows that attacks on Christians in the country increased by 21 percent in 2021 compared with 2020. On average, monthly attacks have also risen by over 25 percent in the last year.

In June, gunmen killed dozens at a Catholic church in Ondo, spotlighting a possibly religious undertone to the country’s insecurity. The state government blamed the ISIL-linked ISWAP (Islamic State in West Africa Province) for the incident, but the group is yet to claim responsibility.

Experts say attacks against the church are also increasingly targeting Christian leaders, as operations of armed groups nationwide assume dangerous dimensions.  Indeed, between January 2020 and July 2022, there were 99 independent attacks against Nigerian clergy, ranging from abductions to outright murder, according to ACLED’s database which compiled records from local media reports.

“The data is a very vivid reflection of what is going on in our society [with regards to] the economic hardship and the booming kidnapping for ransom industry that we see today,” said Olajumoke Ayandele, a former ACLED researcher and currently a postdoctoral research fellow at New York University’s The Centre for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora.

More:   Aljazeera


For the families of those who have lost loved ones to violence in Nigeria. (Psalm 34:18)

For the safety and security of Christian leaders in Nigeria.  May they remain faithful in the protection of the Lord.  (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

For the economic growth and development of Nigeria, that hardship may be overcome and replaced with growth and prosperity.

Nigeria: Christians targeted for forced marriages

A recent UN report stated as many as three out of four women are forced into marriage among certain Nigerian groups. Take for example Lena, a 14-year-old girl. She became a Christian, but as her father was a Muslim leader in the mosque, she knew it was going to cause problems. Sure enough, she survived physical abuse from her father, forced marriage, and violent sexual assault. By the time she finally escaped, she was a single mother who could not read or write. She persevered with an education and vocational training to be self-supporting. After attending a discipleship school, Lena plans on going back to her hometown, this time as a missionary. Pray for Nigerian women suffering persecution and assault. Pray for healed emotions for the traumatised. Ask God to touch the hearts of abusers perpetuating violence, and thank Him for the courage of women like Lena.

Pray: for an end to the persecution and the violence which is going on in northern Nigeria. (Isaiah 60:18)

More: www.mnnonline.org/news/christians-targeted-for-forced-marriages-in-nigeria/

Nigeria: a dangerous society

In 2017 Fulani militants seized a Christian mother’s land and burned down her house, forcing her and her family to move closer to the city for safety. Loss of their farmland forced the family of seven into deep poverty, living and sleeping in one room. On 8 August Fulani militants attempted to rape her 16-year-old daughter while they were out walking. A missionary visited the family after the attack and the mother said, ‘They told us to stop, then they beat me as I tried to stop them from raping my daughter.’ She showed the deep gash in her arm she received from the militants, and said God used her to protect her daughter from public disgrace and shame, which is how victims of rape are viewed in their society. ‘I have nothing to say but thank God. Please tell Christians to pray for us. Pray that we will return to our village one day. Life is too expensive in the city.’

Pray: for the government, intelligence agencies, and police to end the persecution of Christians and for the safe return of their homes and farms. (1 Peter 3:14)

More: t.e2ma.net/message/m8e2jx/6zdri3u

Sweden: 300 church plants

Since 2000 there have been 300 churches planted across Sweden by other nations. The Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God has 40 Swedish church plants. Their vision is to plant worshipping communities within five minutes' distance from each other. Also from Nigeria there are church plants from Deeper Life Bible, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries. There are plants from Ghanaian Church of Pentecost where the worship language is English, Ghanaian Swahili and Swedish. Chile’s International Mission Church gathers 1,500 people for Sunday services in Stockholm. For Sweden, this is a very big church. There are also congregations with Ethiopian, Eritrean, Iranian, or Afghan connections that are generally closer to the established Swedish denominations.

Praise: God for the vibrant variety of church plants in Sweden. Ask God to bring unity amongst the different styles of worship of so many denominations. (Psalm 118:15)

More: www.europeanea.org/diaspora-churches-in-sweden/

Global: Christians persecuted and displaced

When our brothers and sisters are displaced because of their faith in Christ, we can support them through prayer. As we pray, we open our hearts to their needs and grow deeper in fellowship with them. Pray for the Lord to meet all their needs. (Philippians 4:19) Pray for their healing from physical and emotional trauma. (Psalm 147:3) Pray for them to be able to love and forgive their persecutors. (Matthew 5:44) Pray for persecutors to repent and trust in Christ. (Luke 15:10) Christians in Burma, China, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam are persecuted by their governments and religious freedom is violated. Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, the Central African Republic, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Sudan, and Turkey are countries whose governments allow or engage in ‘severe violations of religious freedom.’. Take time to pray for Christians in these nations. 

Pray: for God to enable world leaders to eradicate Boko Haram, Yemen’s Houthi, ISIS, Pakistan’s Khorasan Province, Somalia’s al-Shabaab, and Tahrir al-Sham in Syria (Psalm 23:1-6)

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians#

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