It has been 29 days since the radical Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram abducted more than 300 Nigerian schoolgirls and took them into hiding. The Nigerian government says 53 of the girls have escaped, but no one knows the whereabouts of the remaining 276, who were taking their exams when they were kidnapped. All we know is that Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, says he plans to sell the girls—for $12 each—into forced marriages. In a video he released this week, he also offered to swap 200 of the girls in exchange for prisoners.
The United States, Israel, France and the U.K. have sent technical teams to Nigeria to help in the frantic effort to locate the missing girls, but so far it’s anybody’s guess what has happened to them. They may still be hiding in covert camps in Nigeria; they may have been taken to Chad, Cameroon or Niger; some of the girls may have already been sold to husbands four times their age in Sudan or Libya.
Wherever they are, I’m sure these girls are suffering unimaginable horror while their traumatized parents fear the worst.
Boko Haram’s leader is defiant in his demands. In this week’s video, he is shown holding an AK-47 as he laughs and says: “All I am saying is that if you want us to release the girls that we have kidnapped, those who have not accepted Islam will be treated as the prophet (Muhammad) treated infidels and they will stay with us.”
How do we respond to an outrage like this from the other side of the Atlantic? We can post our protests on Twitter or march in the streets, but I doubt Boko Haram is paying too much attention to American demands. After all, the name Boko Haram means “Western education is a sin.” These terrorists will not be satisfied until radical Islam rules Nigeria and all of Africa’s girls are removed from school.
The best response to this crisis is united prayer. If Christians around the world asked for divine intervention, I believe we would witness a miracle. If you agree, please share this prayer with friends and church leaders, and encourage everyone you know to call for a special prayer gathering to petition the Lord for a swift answer. You can pray along these lines:
O God of the Nations, we praise You for your mighty and majestic power. There is no one like You, O God!
You rule over all the earth, and You are Lord of Nigeria. We ask that You demonstrate your awesome strength to all the people of that nation.
Lord, we first pray for every Nigerian girl who has been abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist organization. We ask that you release your angels from heaven to protect and defend them. Comfort their hearts when they are afraid, and give them unusual courage and peace. Do not let the enemy touch them. Surround these girls with songs of deliverance. You are the great defender of the orphan, the widow and anyone who is helpless. Hear their cry and answer them swiftly.
We pray also for the parents of these girls. We ask that they will call on Your name and look to You for help. Calm their fears and encourage their hearts.
We pray for Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, and for all other Nigerian government and military officials involved in looking for these girls. We ask for divine wisdom and guidance in this search mission. Shine Your supernatural light in the darkness, and expose the hidden plans and agendas of the enemy. Reveal the locations used to hide these girls, and don’t allow the terrorists to hide anywhere. If there are any Nigerian government officials who are covertly working to aide the terrorists, we pray You will expose corruption and bring all traitors to justice.
We pray for every American, European and Israeli government officials working in Nigeria to assist this mission. Guide their steps and use them to root out evil.
Finally, we ask you to deliver Nigeria from the dark forces that are bringing terror and death to that nation. In the name of Jesus we bind the spirit of militant Islam. Do not allow these terrorists to prosper. Dry up their funds, confuse their plans and cause them to lose courage. Release Your angels into the camp of the enemy. Just as Saul saw a vision of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus while he was persecuting Christians, stop these evil men in their tracks. Let them fall on their faces in fear of the Living God.
We remember the ancient prayer of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who said: “Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens, the Lord will judge the ends of the earth” (1 Sam. 2:10). We ask You, O God, to contend with Your enemies, shatter their power and—as the world watches—rescue these girls from their captors.
In the mighty name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He is the author of Fearless Daughters of the Bible and other books.