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Friday, 7 February 2014

Nigerian Christians killed in Boko Haram attacks.


No fewer than fifty countries are on the World Watch List of places in which disciples of Jesus are subject to persecution.  These range from North Korea, which has the dubious distinction of having been at the No.1 spot every year since the List was first published, twelve years ago, to Niger which, this year, is at No.50.

In thirty-six of those top fifty countries, Islamic extremism is the main driving force behind the persecution.  The most violent region is probably Africa's Sahel belt, which runs from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east.  In that region, some 20% of the world's Christians meet some 14% of the world's Muslims.

Of course, one of the reasons for this persecution is the growth of the Church, and persecution actually remains one of the greatest evangelistic opportunities!  The famous observation of Tertullian that, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church," has a depth of insight which is all too often lost on Western believers today.

As an individual, I am unable to pray on a daily basis for each of those fifty nations.  However, I concentrate on a much smaller number (a tithe, for those who may be interested!), and pray for others when they are mentioned in the various prayer diaries of which I make use.  One of my 'regulars' is Nigeria where the main (but not only!) extremist group is popularly known as Boko Haram - which translates as "Western education is forbidden"

Both Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), and the BBC, report that at least 22 Christians were killed by members of Boko Haram on Sunday, Jan. 26th, when the Islamists attacked a church in Waga Chakawa village, located in Adamawa state. Another 25 from the village were killed while fleeing their homes, which the attackers had set on fire. The Islamic militants locked Christians inside the church, set off bombs and shot people or cut their throats as they tried to escape through windows. They held residents hostage and burned the church and houses throughout the village during the four-hour attack. Later that day, Boko Haram killed at least 52 more people who were shopping at a market in Kawuri village in Borno state. VOM contacts in Nigeria said as many as 200 Christians have been killed by Boko Haram since the Jan. 26th attacks.

If you are a praying person, please join with me in praying for peace for the bereaved; healing for the injured; and an end to such mindless, and wanton violence in Nigeria, and so many other countries.  You may wish to access some of the organisations that support the persecuted Church by using the links further down the page. 

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