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Nigerian Christians undeterred by violent attacks on churches

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

Christians in Northern Nigeria are refusing to let the threat of attack keep them away from Sunday services as security is stepped up after a spate of deadly bombings.

Going to church on a Sunday has become a highly dangerous activity for Nigerian Christians, who are being targeted by suspected Boko Haram militants. The Islamist group in March declared “war” on Christians, and since then a number of church attacks have left dozens dead.

Church-of-Christ-in-Nigeria_Attacks_4X3.jpg
Bombers are targeting
churches in Nigeria
Image source: Stefanos foundation

Christians have been calling for more protection from the authorities, who have been struggling to get to grips with the Boko Haram menace.

In light of the attacks, courageous volunteer security guards are stopping vehicles at the entrance to church compounds and checking them for weapons and explosives. During services, they patrol the grounds, while armed police sit outside, keeping watch. It is hoped that such measures will deter those intent on causing harm.

The Rev. Emmanuel Daudu, a pastor in Kaduna, where churches were targeted at Easter in a blast that left around 40 people dead, said: 

We don’t fear but we are security-conscious, because we don’t have to be relaxing and our enemies to take us unawares. We have to be alert always, because we don’t know their plans against us or against the church.

Nigerian Christians are undeterred by the risk of violent attack. Amako Laraba, a mother-of-two, who attends Mr Daudu’s church, said:

The Bible teaches me that we should have faith in God. This is our town. This is our home. This is where we should worship so we feel very free.

At this time of threat and tension, church services there are characterised by joyful singing, rousing preaching and focused prayer, as worshippers insist they will continue gathering despite the danger.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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Daily prayer

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  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 2 hours ago

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

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