I apologize for failing to post last night. It was a very exciting day interviewing Christians from many of the wide and varied parts of Nigeria. The tales were heartrending and left you awed by the faith of these followers of Christ. Before we get to the prayer, I want to share with you this brief account that one of our team wrote up about a convert we interviewed.
EDIT: The convert whose story follows this is a different person from the 79 year old pastor. The pastor was one of several hundred internally displaced persons from Yobe State who had been driven out of their ancestral lands by Islamist attacks.
“He lost his entire family because of his conversion to Christ. The sharia court granted his wife divorce on the grounds that her husband was now a pagan. She married a muslim. His first son wanted to go with him but the convert told his son to wait because he didn’t want the boy to grow up without a mother.
Fearing the boy would persist and become a Christian too, his muslim relatives poisoned and killed him. After a few years his wife died of an illness. His remaining son, the only remaining member of his family was given a “scholarship” by the state government to study Islamic studies in Libya. On his way to Libya, the vehicle carrying him crashed, killing the boy.
After 5 attempts on his life, he finally relocated within Nigeria. We offered him to consider political asylum abroad. He said he is the only Christian in his entire local government area. He told us “I was born in Nigeria. I will die in Nigeria.”
After all I saw today February 9th 2012, I wonder if I have ever been or seen a Christian.”
In the light of that story let us pray.
Lord, in the wake of all the people that I have met over the past few days. I thank you for the pastors that you have given to Nigeria. Perhaps, indeed it is likely that you have guided my steps to exceptional representatives of their ranks. But again and again when I meet these pastors I meet people who are exceptional, the best and brightest that their communities had, offered to Your service.
Lord I pray for our efforts in Nigeria. The recent violence has drawn attention and efforts from all over the world. I pray for these efforts, so many of which either fail to help or do even greater harm because of misinformation, inaccuracies, and outright lies. Eventually the truth will win out. Lord God may that day come quickly.
Lord I pray for the honest men of Nigeria. Lord the irony that those who try to do their jobs without favoritism are slandered and often fired on charges of corruption. I pray that you would strengthen and encourage those who choose to do the right thing anyway, knowing that at any moment it could mean the end of their careers.
Lord I pray for those who have been forced to flee from their homes. Lord I listened to a man explain that when people go from house to house killing Christians that it is not safe for children. And in his eyes there was a sense almost as if he was ashamed that he had left, shamed that he fled a coordinated religious cleansing! Oh Lord, I do not deserve to be counted next to such a man!
Lord God I pray for their elderly, for that magnificent 79 year old man who preached the Gospel for so long, held the line for so long. Lord my heart breaks that after such a lifetime of service that this reverend, this shepherd, this father and grandfather, this protector of the weak was forced to flee. It broke something inside of him, I think, to leave the land of his fathers and I do not know if he will ever be healed this side of heaven. I do know that looking at him looking at his eyes I felt such a respect for the man that I cannot express. If there was anything of mine that could have eased his pain, I would have given it without hesitation.
Lord you know the truth. I pray that we would speak the truth to the world. Lord touch the hearts of those with agendas, and let them for once in their lives choose to put others first, and not seek their personal advantage at the cost of all else. Lord, I know that only you can make that happen. But Lord if people try to do business as usual, the killing will not stop until every Christian in the north of Nigeria is dead!
Lord save your people!