Today is a day of rest. Half way through my time here, we only had one informal meeting today. The rest of the day was spent in helpful rest and thank God, we are in the home of an extremely gracious Nigerian host not another night in a hotel.
Not that I have anything against the hotels we have stayed in, they have been very nice places. But there is something special and significant in being invited into someone’s home and given a room there. About receiving advice from a gracious lady on how to endure the Nigerian heat, and hearing the stories of wise man who has walked with God for a long time.
I was privileged to join their family devotions, which they do every night before they go to bed. As we sang songs, read a brief scripture passage and listened to a section from the Daily Bread, I was struck by the fact that none of the couple’s own children were present. Two of the girls there were relatives, nieces as it happens, and another was a longtime family friend. But they still called it family devotions and if I had stepped into the house at that moment, I would have assumed that the three girls were their daughters.
During the prayer at the end of the devotion my host went mentioned cities in the north by name, praying for the Christians there. Over the past two months, I have been studying northern Nigeria intensely and over the past week I have interviewed people from most of these places. So the prayer tonight will be a simple list of 7 cities in Nigeria and a short description of what the Christians have suffered there. I hope that as you go about your weekend that you will pray, knowing that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Lord we pray for your Children
In Maiduguri, the longtime headquarters of Boko Haram in Nigeria, where churches are burned and Christians killed almost at will.
In Potiskum, where houses were tagged with Arabic graffiti to identify the Christians for house to house killings done “ethnic cleansing” style.
In the city of Kaduna, where there is a literal bridge between the Muslim and Christian halves of the city and tensions run high.
In Kano where Boko Haram killed over 200 people in a single attack less than a month ago.
In Tafawa Balewa where Christians have experienced decades of systematic discrimination and targeted violence in an effort to push them off of their ancestral lands.
And last but not least, Jos, beautiful Jos which has known an entire decade of violence, wiping out a reputation for peace that was known throughout the whole of Nigeria.
Lord we pray that You would hold Your children close. Give them peace even as they live with death every day. Lord we thank you that of all people we can grieve with hope, and that those Christians who have lost family and friends can take comfort in Your promises. But Lord we also pray for justice to be done, that your name would be vindicated. Lord the blood of innocents cries out to from the ground. Let justice be done.
In Your name oh Lord