Ramadan prayers for Christians in Nigeria and Sudan amid violence and harassment
Open Doors is asking for prayers for Christians living in Muslim nations where they face discrimination and even death for their faith.
They are asking in particular that Christians pray for the church in Sudan, following a church demolition, and in Nigeria where more Christians have been killed in attacks by insurgents.
Gunmen believed to belong to Islamist militant group Boko Haram killed dozens of people after opening fire on worshippers at four churches. One of the churches was in Kwada, close to Chibok, where Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls two months ago.
Boko Haram translates as 'Western education is forbidden' and an estimated 2,000 people have been killed by the group this year alone as Nigerian security forces struggle to get a grip on the situation.
"Join in praying for Christians in Nigeria who have kept their faith despite continued attacks," said Open Doors.
In Sudan, a church was demolished, just 24 hours after receiving notice from the government that it wanted the land to build low-cost housing on.
The officials refused the church's request for the demolition and the Sudanese Church of Christ, Bahri, North Khartoum was raized to the ground on July 1.
As a result of the demolition, the 600-strong congregation has no place to worship.
"The authorities demolished the church. We tried our best to meet with the people in charge, but to no avail," the Christians told Open Doors.
The organisation asked for prayers for both Muslims and Christians as Ramadan continues.
"During this month of Ramadan we take time to pray especially for Christians in Muslim nations, that they might embody the essence of Jesus in their speech and in their actions," said Open Doors.
"And, during this time, when Muslims are seeking God in deeper ways, we pray that God will draw them into the light of Christ."
Open Doors has released this special prayer for use during Ramadan:
Father, we thank You for the persevering faith of these Christians in Nigeria and Sudan. We pray for those who mourn the loss of loved ones, that You would bring comfort to their grieving souls. We pray for congregations whose church buildings are no more. In this season of rain, we pray for places of shelter in which to worship. We pray for protection from violence and for wisdom for church leaders as they shepherd the people in responding in ways that honor You. Where Satan would use these circumstances to destroy Christ's church, we pray boldly that You will not only protect Your church, but that You will even cause the church to grow and flourish in the midst of persecution. And during this month of Ramadan, as the Muslim world watches on, whether they are sympathetic neighbors or extremists, we pray that they will see You and turn their hearts from spiritual darkness to the light of the gospel of Christ. In the name of Jesus, who is gathering His church from all nations and peoples, Amen.