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UK missionaries kidnapped in Nigeria

On 13 October four Britons were snatched by gunmen in Nigeria’s southern Delta state. The region holds most of the country’s crude oil and is Nigeria’s economic mainstay. Kidnapping for ransom is common in parts of Nigeria, and several foreigners have been taken in the past few years. The abductors have not yet made contact. Those kidnapped are reported to be former GP David Donovan and his wife Shirley who run New Foundations, with their two sons. They have run Bible classes, a boat clinic and health care centre there for fourteen years. Four suspects have been arrested, and a joint task force will attempt to rescue the family . Travellers to Nigeria are currently warned to avoid going to areas of Delta state. See:

Pray: for the families’ safety and rescue, for God to give them peace of mind and exactly the right words to say to their captors. Pray for the government to overcome militancy in the area. (Job 36:3)

More: www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/18/four-british-missionaries-kidnapped-in-nigeria-delta

Walkout threatened at Primates' meeting

Conservative Anglican church group GAFCON has said some Primates may walk out of the Anglican Communion Primates' meeting, over the issue of same-sex marriage. The Scottish Episcopal Church will be asked to repent for its decision to let clergy conduct same-sex weddings last June. The Archbishops of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda refused to attend a recent Anglican Primates' meeting over what they deem to be a weak stance in the Church on the issue of sexuality. Meanwhile on 5 October Justin Welby said that a ban on Scottish Anglicans taking part in some votes and holding certain offices ‘will be followed through’, after a meeting where anger and disappointment were expressed. The ban would involve exclusion from debate on doctrine and from chairing Anglican Communion committees. Archbishop Welby said that no vote was taken against the Scottish Anglicans by the Primates, but there was a ‘consensus’.

Pray: for the Church to believe and act in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God. (Hebrews 4:12)

More: www.heraldscotland.com/news/15574992.Archbishop_of_Canterbury_to_ban_Scottish_Episcopal_Church_after_anger_over_same_sex_marriage/

Nigeria: UK fight Boko Haram, neglect Fulani

On 30 August, foreign secretary Boris Johnson and international development secretary Priti Patel visited Nigeria to assess British assistance in the fight against the Islamic terror group Boko Haram. A Nigerian special adviser on religious affairs, Canon Nenman Gowon, said, ‘While the attention of the British government and other international development agencies is turned to the devastation caused by Boko Haram in the northeast, very little or nothing is even mentioned about the hundreds of villages and people killed by the Islamic Fulani cattle herders who are still prowling Plateau, Adamawa, Taraba, and other states.’ The adviser blamed the president for turning a blind eye to the crises in Nigeria’s middle belt, ‘because it is a predominantly Christian region and the Fulani Muslims are of the president’s tribe’.

Pray: for God to open the eyes of the international community of diplomats to the devastation caused by tribal conflicts. Pray for broken Nigeria to experience greater stability. (Psalm 146:5)

More: www.globalchristiannews.org/article/uk-bolsters-assistance-to-fight-boko-haram-but-neglect-fulani-devastation/

Nigeria: unreasonable demands, further violence

In 1966 an Igbo leader, in south-east Nigeria, said that only one thing would prevent a civil war - ‘that Nigeria be split, with all southerners in the north repatriated to the south and northerners in the south repatriated to the north’. This demand was followed by the Biafra civil war. In June 2017, irked by renewed secessionist calls from the same Igbo ethnic group, a coalition of northern groups demanded that ‘all Igbo currently residing in northern Nigeria relocate within three months, and all northerners residing in the east are advised likewise’. Pray for peace. Meanwhile on 6 August, masked gunmen stormed into the early morning service at a church in the southeast and opened fire, killing 35 Christians. On Tuesday a woman suicide bomber blew herself up and killed 27 others at a market in the northeast. See http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/dead-nigeria-church-shooting-170806153758051.html and https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-security-idUSKCN1AV25K

Pray: for this cry for division to be silenced, and for the harmony that only God can bring. Pray for the church to be strong in the face of adversity. (Ephesians 4:3)

More: www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/07/nigeria-brink-civil-war-170712131405928.html


Global: Helping the persecuted Church

Christians are being killed and imprisoned in Iran, Tajikistan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, and Nigeria, to name but a few and persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Asia is forcing tens of thousands of families to flee for their lives. In India, for example, violent persecution of Christians in 2016 was over 800 and there have been hundreds of attacks so far this year. It is time to pray for charities and organisations that are working in dangerous conditions to provide corridors of escape to safe havens, for those providing aid and support to those living in camps, for those training and educating families for a new life, for those giving medical and counselling services for those who have been tortured and imprisoned for their Christian beliefs. We can pray also for those speaking out on behalf of the persecuted church in the media, at the UN and in government circles. See also articles 3 and 4 below.

Pray: for more volunteers, willing to give their time and resources to those in need and for the anointing and protection for those already on the front line in unsafe or unstable situations. (Is.58:7)

More: www.opendoorsuk.org/news/stories/central_asia_170809.php?ref=lnstorylnk

Nigeria: Fulani conflict escalates

Africa's Sahara desert is increasingly encroaching upon traditional farmlands. Muslim Fulani herdsmen, the largest nomadic tribe in Africa, are desperate for grazing land and water for their cattle, but farmers can't tolerate their crops being eaten, trampled, and destroyed by those cattle. This conflict for survival gives rise to violence. The mainly Christian Nigerian farmers have no defence against marauding herdsmen wielding guns and machetes. The central Christian area of Nigeria was once the main target, but with increasing desert encroachment, more areas are targeted. The Fulani are now even more of a threat than Boko Haram insurgents. Farmers are being slaughtered, and some are considering abandoning their farms. AK-47 assault rifles from the conflicts in neighbouring Libya and Mali come across porous borders. A recent anti-grazing law has failed to stop the Fulani. President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, has ordered military crackdowns on them. Pray for God to destroy their sources and stockpile of weapons.

Pray: for Nigeria's government officials to do their job and protect farmers. Pray also for the salvation of corrupt law enforcement officials and aggressive Fulani. (Proverbs 21:15)

More: campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1010993290827&ca=3ce778cc-7fac-4585-9903-b322bad7015e

North Africa: mass losses at sea

Some 126 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean after Libyan people-smugglers stole their outboard motor, leaving them at the mercy of the waves and other attackers. The dinghy, which left from a beach in Libya on 16 June, was heading toward Italy when it was attacked. The waves soon engulfed the dinghy and it sank. It is believed there were 130 on board, of whom four (two Nigerians and two Sudanese) were rescued by passing fishermen. Most of the passengers were from Sudan. A spokesman for the UN migration agency said the incident was ‘tantamount to murder’. He added, ‘We believe the motor may even have been stolen by the smugglers who launched the dinghy in the first place, or a rival group. Many motors have been stolen in recent times as they are valuable to the smugglers.’

Pray: for the Italian coastguards to be able to intervene more often, that more lives can be saved. Pray also for increased stability in the North African countries so that migration is not seen as the only way out of the difficulties. (Luke 1:74)

More: www.foxnews.com/world/2017/06/19/126-refugees-killed-in-boat-wreck-off-libya-un-investigators-say.html

Praising God with 60,000 live worshippers

So far, more than 60,000 people worldwide have watched a one-hour Instagram live video that begins daily at midnight for people to praise God, tagged as the #HallelujahChallenge. Nigerian gospel artist Nathaniel Bassey began hosting the session on 1 June to just over a thousand people, urging Christians to join him in worship for a month. Helped by the promotion of numerous popular Nigerian artists, Bassey (who describes himself on his Twitter page as an ‘authentic Jesus lover’) tweeted, ‘It is a revival and a revolution. JESUS is in charge!’ It is thought to be the most widely-circulated praise and worship movement on social media. Bassey said, ‘The Challenge is a mandate from God, and I am just a vessel. Beyond all the miracles and testimonies, God is doing something eternal - something that will outlive generations.’

Praise: God for the people lifting up their voices in unity to open the gates of heaven. (2 Chronicles 6:41)

More: www.premierchristianradio.com/News/World/Praise-challenge-goes-viral-with-60-000-live-worshippers

Frederick Forsyth’s answered prayer

‘I had scrounged a lift on the third-from-last plane out of Biafra at the end of the Nigerian civil war. My lift was on a clapped-out old DC-4 flown by an Afrikaner, heading for Libreville, Gabon. The fuselage was overloaded with dying Biafran children and Irish nuns. Somewhere over the Niger delta the port outer engine coughed and gave up. We struggled on three engines and turned east towards Gabon; the starboard outer began to splutter. It was clear the old rust-bucket wouldn’t fly, and we sank towards the sea. Hymn-singing began in Afrikaans. I prayed quietly, convinced it was all over. The moon on the water came closer as we nearly skimmed the ocean. Fortunately, the French had built Libreville airport close to the shore. The dangling wheels almost clipped the sand dunes, then we were over concrete. At that moment the engine stopped and the crippled aircraft dropped onto the tarmac. The Afrikaner stopped singing and began to thank the Almighty. It would have been churlish not to follow suit.’

Praise: God for His plans, His protection, His provision and His Power for His people. (Job 10:12)

More: www.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/answered-prayers-by-justin-welby-amber-rudd-james-dyson-and-12-others/#

Global: terrorism and prayer

On Wednesday in Iraq, an IS booby-trap killed a family of twenty-three, including pregnant women and children. In Indonesia, two suicide bombs detonated outside a bus terminal, killing three guards. In Somalia, five people were killed by a Shahid suicide bomber, and in Syria children were among fifteen civilians killed by IS. Last Saturday Islamic terrorists opened fire on Nigerian villagers, killing at least seven. The list goes on. Manchester brought terrorism to the UK, but so far this year there have been 496 terrorist attacks globally, with 3,292 fatalities. We can’t remove terrorism, but God can change hearts, situations and nations. He can use situations and circumstances in Iran, Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia, Bangladesh and other nations being shaken to achieve His purposes. Terrorism is a big concept, but our God is bigger.

Pray: for God to break Boko Haram, IS, PKK, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Taliban and all satanic systems. (Rev. 7:10)

More: www.wired.co.uk/article/terrorism-map-global

Nigeria: 82 Chibok girls released

On Sunday the Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG) applauded the federal government and security agencies on the release of 82 more Chibok girls. Their release was negotiated through the combined efforts of security agencies, the military, the Swiss government, the Red Cross, and local and international NGOs. 21 girls had been set free last October, and the government committed to rescuing the 113 girls who are still captive. A spokesperson for the Young Women Political Forum urged the ministry of women’s affairs and the ministry of health to work together to provide the girls and their parents with adequate psychological counselling. Pray that communities will accept these victims of rape, who are now mothers with babies and no husbands. See also the Prayer Alert world article 3.

Praise: God for the girls’ release. Pray for them as they receive counselling sessions before being reintegrated into their various communities. May the fatherless babies be accepted. (Psalm 10:14)

More: guardian.ng/news/bbog-commends-fg-security-agencies-on-release-of-chibok-girls/

Global: 20 million close to starvation

In February Prayer Alert readers were told of 1.4 million children at risk of starvation in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northeast Nigeria. The crisis has worsened. Millions of people are caught in conflicts within their countries. Livelihoods are disrupted, and they cannot produce food. This is a God-sized situation that requires intercession and His intervention. The UN needs $4.4 billion by July to prevent famine in these countries. An official said the organisation is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since its creation. Without the funding and collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Yemen's needs are the most critical: two-thirds of the population (19 million) need assistance. In South Sudan, 7.5 million need help. In Somalia and northeastern Nigeria there is also severe food insecurity because of violence and instability. See also

Pray: for the funds to be allocated by governments and others around the world, for an end to the conflicts, and for the Gospel to triumph among the 20 million in adversity. (Psalm 67:1,2)

More: edition.cnn.com/2017/03/11/africa/un-famine-starvation-aid/

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