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Nigeria, it seems, has a bit of an image problem. The most populous nation in Africa, Nigeria dominates its region of Western Africa politically and economically, and its influence over the media, culture and religion are felt even as far away as South Africa. But, despite its power, mention the name of the country to a person on the street and they are likely only to think of the negatives: corruption, drug pushing, violence and email scams. Certainly, Nigeria is a nation needing time to heal from its past hurts. Once a nation under siege during the slave trade, Nigeria has since encountered civil wars, Muslim rule, religious strife

between Muslims and Christians and mismanagement by those in power. Christians in the largely Muslim North have faced severe persecution since state leaders, in defiance of national government, instated Shari’a law in 1999; yet, there still remains hope on the horizon. The election of a strong Christian president, also in 1999, has begun a slow process of both bringing about necessary change and preserving national unity; the vibrant Nigerian church is growing; the spirit of prayer amongst believers in Nigeria is strong; and the mercy of God for the people of Nigeria is new, every morning.

Praise God for the growth of the church, the vibrancy of believers and their dedication to prayer, and the witnesses the Nigerian believers are to others in Africa. Pray for follow-up to evangelism, and balanced teaching in the midst of massive church growth. Much distortion of the gospel can be seen in Nigeria. Pray also that church leaders would be able to access adequate training to shepherd their flocks. Pray for healing, reconciliation and unity in Nigeria. Pray against the corruption and greed that runs deep in Nigeria and is felt, in the form of internet scams, hoax emails, crime and drug-running, around the world. Pray for God to raise up strong people of integrity who are willing to stand up against evil practices. Pray for the families of martyred Christians in Nigeria, and those who are under severe persecution for their faith. Pray for forgiveness towards perpetrators, and freedom from the desire to revenge. Numbers of expatriate missionaries in Nigeria has declined as national church leadership has taken on the responsibility of ministry within their community. Pray for unity between foreign and indigenous agencies and churches.

Nigeria is the tenth-largest country in population in the world, with 154 million people. About 50 percent of the population is Muslim. At least 1.5 millions Nigerians live abroad, 70% of them in Western Europe

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