The above image shows the danger zones where Al-Shabaab militants are located. Red shows their concentrated control.
Two weeks ago, I created a video promoting IDOP, the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church (November 6th, 2016). I asked for Christians to pray with me. However, there is a possibility some of you want to pray, but have no idea what to pray for. I mean, the thought might cross your mind: I have no knowledge about the people suffering. I don’t know how to emotionally connect enough to pray, and I don’t have time to learn more. That’s a natural thought process. We have lives. We are very busy.
Another qualm that some may have, especially those who are not Christian or are undecided about their beliefs, is that it’s an act of bigotry to pray for Christians when they’re only a small percentage of those suffering. I mean, everyone is hurting, not just Christians. It is a correct assertion to say others are being captured, assaulted, and killed; with that said, it is also a fact that Christians are uniquely targeted due to their beliefs, and are deserving of sympathy.
An article in the BBC details how, in April 2015, 147 victims were killed at the Garissa University College; witnesses said Christians were singled out and shot. Another article from Christianity Today gives an account of an attack on a Kenyan mall, with similar experiences. Many Christians and other non-Muslims were killed precisely because they were not practicing Islam.
To help you pray, I have created a short profile of Al-Shabaab so you can know names, basic info, and locations to mention in your prayers. But before you read that, I want to mention a beautiful, uplifting story about Muslims that will help your love for them grow. Last year, in one of the targeted attacks, a group of Muslims actually stood with the Christians; they said they would not allow the Al-Shabaab soldiers to single them out. That heroic act caused the militants to leave, according to this BBC article.
Even if you still feel doubtful about praying your own prayer, you can simply go down to the last part of this post and read the prayer I have written. If you open your heart to be heard by Christ and his Spirit, if you believe he is alive and able to hear the cries of believers, I am sure you will be effective. There is power in our unity!
Who is the Al-Shabaab? A jihadist group known in Arabic as”the Youth”.
What areas do they control? Southern and central Somalia
What areas do they attack? Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Djibouti
What kind of military equipment do they have? Troops with assault guns, missile launchers, and bombs
Who is the current leader of Al-Shabaab? since 2014, Ahmed Umar
What are their main crimes? Murdering government officials, bombing government buildings, practicing tyranny, assassinating peacemakers, practicing suicide bombings, and capturing vehicles and troops
Do they pose a threat to the rest of the world? Not currently
Here are some prayer ideas if you decide to say (or write) your own prayer:
- Thank God for his sovereignty and ability to know all things, all hearts.
- Pray for food, clothes, and shelter for victims in Kenya and Somalia.
- Pray that Ethiopia, Uganda, and Djibouti stay safe from radical Islam.
- Ask God to keep the heroic Muslims safe and not let any harm fall on them.
- Ask God to open Christians’ hearts around the world and help them know how to do good for the victims, if there ever be the opportunity.
- Pray for Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, and the other governments promising to help eradicate the Al-Shabaab. Ask God if it is righteous to pray for them to succeed, or express how you feel about war, and the effects of war.
- Ask God to give the Islamic militants every chance to repent and stop their violence.
- End your prayer acknowledging Jesus. For example “In Jesus name, Amen”
“If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer,” Jesus told his disciples. (Matthew 21:22, NCV)
My Prayer for the Victims
Thank you for working in mysterious ways. You know all and see all; we do not have to be afraid when you are our God. You are mighty and strong. You have power to shut lions’ mouths, stop armies, and protect the world from terrorism.
I come to you today for the victims of Al-Shabaab who live everyday in fear. Many citizens in Somalia and Kenya are afraid to live their lives, go about their daily routines, and commute to work and school. Who knows when a car bomb will explode nearby; who knows when going shopping will turn into a nightmare? That is a reality for many, including Christians, non-Muslims, and even Muslims who refuse to conform to what jihadists’ require of them.
Be with each person living in the reddest danger zones: let your Spirit pass through the region and comfort each heart willing to receive you, Lord, and for the ones in the bordering regions, like Ethiopia and Sudan, please build a force-field around the land, keeping the terrorists from entering there as well. Of course, you know all, Father, so allow Jesus to shine, whatever happens.
I know by faith that you are working in the lives of each and every person who is aching spiritually from the violence. You care for souls in Somalia crying out for deliverance, and you care for the souls in Kenya who need security. You even love the ones who are evil. Your Word says in Matthew 5:44-45 that we should pray for those who hurt us and love those who hate us, like you do. So to be obedient, Lord, I ask for you to also be with the ones who are committing crimes. Help them see Christ’s light (and his life) and end their brutality.
In Jesus name I pray,