Once more, Lord, we pray for our Western believers—in America, England and other Western countries—may they team up together with us for prayer because the situation is very tense. But with You, O Lord, there is protection. So may we team up and pray.
The morning is sunny and the tea is hot as we bow our heads to pray with Pastor Mohamed Dan’Amoriya and his wife Joyce in Bauchi city. Bauchi is the capital of Bauchi state, one of a number in northern Nigeria that in the last decade has adopted the strict Islamic code known as Sharia law. In its effort to impose Sharia across all of Nigeria, the militant Islamic group Boko Haram has in the last two years killed at least 1,400 Nigerians.
Dan’Amoriya stands at the front lines. He pastors the first church of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) denomination in Bauchi on the city’s main road, where he has witnessed dozens of churches burned and Christians attacked. He is at Ground Zero in the sustained assault by Islamist terrorists on Christians—what The Atlantic journalist Jeffrey Goldberg has called “the most under-covered story these days.”
Just before my visit last year Boko Haram robbed banks and set fire to police headquarters only a mile up the road. Before that, the militants killed eight youth and a policewoman. They beheaded the policewoman, leaving her head on her chest. They killed two church leaders, friends of Dan’Amoriya. And “just last Saturday night,” he suddenly remembers, there were three bomb blasts in Bauchi—“all aimed at churches”—but no one was hurt.
“Even mentioning the name Boko Haram, there is fear in the heart of people,” says Dan’Amoriya. Still, he prays on over tea in a deep, glad voice:
For the salvation of these people Boko Haram, al Shabaab in Somalia, and al-Qaeda all over the world, Taliban and all these fanatics wherever they are. As You bestowed Your mercy on Paul when he was killing believers, You met him on the road to Damascus and You changed him. Instead of a destroyer he became a preacher. That’s what we pray for these Muslim fanatics today. Have mercy over them.
After my visit, a suicide bomber killed 12 at a nearby church. Then another bomber attacked a Catholic church in Bauchi, leaving seven dead and about 48 injured.
However, if they stiffen their necks—they want to continue for destruction—Lord, as You did with King Herod in Acts 12, You will do the same with any fanatics.
One clue to understanding Dan’Amoriya is to look at his name: Mohamed, his Muslim forebears named him. But a changed life doesn’t guarantee pleasant circumstances. Mohamed Dan’Amoriya knows what John Piper has preached, that prayer “is a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom. It exists for advancing the mission, not for calling the butler to turn up the thermostat.”
So often, I pray feebly and more about comfort for myself and those near me. In this new year I want to pray boldly—over tea on sunny mornings no less—for God to be glorified, for His kingdom to advance through His people leading fruitful ministry, and for the triumph of good over evil.
Through Bauchi’s violence and suffering, ECWA Church No. 1 (as of this writing) has not come under attack. So I rejoiced when Dan’Amoriya turned his prayers to me.
Thank You for Your protection on our sister as she goes from one place to another, from one country to another. Lord, You have been protecting her. The angels of the Lord encamp around those who fear Him and save them. Lord, will You give her journeying mercies to meet her husband and to meet her children, and to rejoice together? And wherever she is going to share the testimony of what she has seen in Nigeria and other countries, help her to share that which is heart touching.
Thank You Jesus Christ, for in Your holy name we pray, amen.