Bearing Persecution with Joy

How to Pray for Christians in Nigeria

By Bennett Rolan – BSF Editorial Manager

Halfway through his morning commute, Luka’s senses are on alert. As he walks through the streets of Jos, Nigeria, Luka scans his surroundings for subtle changes. Even a slight shift in the mood or crowd could indicate immediate danger. 

Luka’s path to work leads him directly through a Muslim neighborhood. Years ago, he was simply unwelcome here, but today, he is targeted. As a Christian, the days of unrest in the middle belt” of Nigeria have turned into a real risk of persecution.

While statistics remain unclear, reports estimate that an average of 17 Nigerian Christians were killed per day in 2021. Thousands of school children have been abducted and held for ransom. Rural villages are targeted and burned, resulting in mass killings. In a January 11 attack, 100 homes were burned to the ground and 18 people were killed, including an 18-month-old child. 

Once I start the journey from my house, I rely on the voice of the Spirit to help me know if there is danger,” he said. I have to know what is happening in front and behind. Once I sense something is not normal, I have to turn around.” 

As a long-time BSF Teaching Leader, Luka finds confidence in God’s promises, balancing wisdom and faith. 

God’s grace is sufficient for us in all things and at all times and in all circumstances,” he shared. God’s presence has been a great encouragement. Knowing that what we are passing through is because we bear His name, we can continually go through persecution with joy and that is a blessing. Persecution is scriptural, it is prophesied, and it is fulfilled because God said we shall suffer when we follow in Jesus’ footsteps.” 

Nigeria is divided religiously, about half of the population identifies as Muslim, while the other half are Christians. Most of the Muslim population lives in the north, while the Christian population mainly resides in the south. In the early 2000s, unrest began to rise throughout the nation because of the emergence of Islamic militant groups such as Boko Haram and the Fulani militia. 

Christian massacres were formerly relegated to rural villages, especially in the northern part of the country, but the wave of persecution is moving southward. Located in the center of the country, the Christians in Jos are now experiencing increased abduction and economic oppression.  

Currently, there is kidnapping everywhere,” Luka said. Christians are the major target.” 

Hope in the Darkness

In the wake of increased violence, Luka considered suspending BSF meetings for safety, but class members were determined to meet. The group changed their class time so members could return home during daylight. 

This has not deterred our members from coming to class. I discovered something about our class members, the more there is attack and insecurity, the closer they grow to God. One thing I learned about BSF members is that they are willing to die for Christ,” Luka said. There was a crisis in Jos two days before our meeting and I was thinking about stopping the class. That meeting we had the best attendance. They don’t want to miss a class because of what God is doing.” 

As the class continues to study Matthew, Jesus’ teachings encourage those in their darkest moments. Finding hope through the compassion and miracles of Christ gives them confidence to cling to God’s Truth. Exploring Jesus’ fortitude when faced with the cross, and the joy of His resurrection, brings Philippians 1:21 to life — to live is Christ and to die is gain.” 

A Call to Pray and Remember

For each of us, the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria reminds us that our days are not our own. Jesus doesn’t promise us safety or comfort. He doesn’t guarantee that our lives will be long. But Matthew 28:20b promises that He will go with us as we walk in faith. 

In the places where there is no persecution, I pray you will use the privilege God has given to you,” Luka shared. Walk in evangelism, walk in witness, walk in Christ, so we can turn the whole world to Him. We are very needful of the prayers of believers all over the world. While we are passing through this time of persecution, we feel your prayers through the Spirit. It is our joy that you are praying.” 

Together, let us pray for the perseverance of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Let us always remember their suffering and find hope in their joy. Bound by Christ in His Spirit, may we Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit …” (Matthew 28:19)

Bennett Rolan

BSF Editorial Manager

Bennett joined the BSF staff in 2017 after working for several publications, Christian ministries and non-profits. She loves to combine her passion for God’s Word and her journalism background to share stories of God’s Work in and through BSF. As a wife to a busy college football coach and a mom to four young children, BSF studies keep her relationship with the Lord grounded and focused. She loves to learn from fellow believers as God faithfully grows her each day.

 

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291 Comments

  1. Nigeria is in my prayer.

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  2. My prayers are always with my brothers and sisters of Nigeria .God bless.

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    • AMEN AMEN AMEN

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  3. Thank you for highlighting the persecution in Nigeria! Their commitment and willingness to DIE for their faith puts me to shame. It seems that the ease of life in America could change soon.
    We must be diligent while we can to pray and share vigorously!!

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  4. It was good to share the challenges of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and through it all so strong in faith…. Surely will be praying for Nigeria … for safety of all believers and gospel may continue to spread across the country 🙏

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  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences of how God is encouraging you even as persecution rises where you are. Praising Him for deepening the faith in & love for Jesus among persecuted Christians in Nigeria!

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  6. To Luka and our brothers and sisters in Christ in Jos.
    Your faith is more precious than rubies.
    Your lives bring light in the darkness.
    Your courage and perseverance is such an encouragement.
    May your obedience bring many to see Philipians 1:21 “To live is Christ, to die is gain”.
    To GOD BE THE GLORY

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    • Julie, this is so well said!

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  7. It’s truly an encouraging story , and it helps me to not take our safety and freedom to study God’s words for granted ! And I will keep our brothers and sisters in Nigeria in prayers , pray for their protection , the strengthening faith in Christ day by day and the peace that transcends all the understanding ! May the light of Jesus Christ shine upon them and through them !!

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  8. Thank you, Bennett, for sharing Luka’s testimony. It is truly a witness to the power of our God, & encouraging to us who haven’t yet experienced such persecution, but someday might. Praying for our brothers & sisters in Christ who are such examples of faith.

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  9. Hebrews 13:3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also. (NKJV)
    May the Lord guide, protect, and give wisdom to our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. Enable them to be ‘wise as serpents and harmless as doves’ in the midst of this ‘crooked and perverse generation.’

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  10. Thank you Bennet for sharing this article and the life, trials and persecution of Luka and his fellow believers. My heart is in sorrow for those who have been captured and tortured for their continued faith in our God and Lord Jesus. My heart aches for them all, as I will never truly know the pain and depth of living in daily fear of their lives. I ask my God to continue to strengthen them, give them courage, perseverance and endurance to remain strong in their Faith and His provision. Forgive me Lord God for taking your Word for granted and the country that you have planted me in (Australia) to continue to share my faith with others. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

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  11. My heart is burdened for the persecuted church and they truly are a testimony of faith and commitment to Christ. I pray for them and wonder how Americans will face persecution if confronted with it. America has been extremely blessed by God and I often wonder if they even consider it could happen here. I know I do and pray I will have courage and endure what my Savior would ask of me for the sake of His Kingdom. We need to pray for one another here in America as well.The Lord is worthy.

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  12. Goes quite well with this weeks lesson. An absolute picture of faith and trust, Thank you.

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  13. Thank you Bennett for such encouraging article, and Luka for such courageous testimony. BSF should compile all these blogs, stories into a book so we can purchase and give to friends and family, nonbelievers, new believer or any believers who need to see how real God is, to encourage their faith. Will be praying for Luka, Nigeria and BSF.

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  14. Praying for my Christian brothers and sisters around the world! Oh how we take our freedom to worship for granted! Also praying for the hearts of those who persecute to see Christ in those they persecute and turn their hearts to Jesus! What a testimony the persecuted followers of Christ must be to the nation!

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  15. I am praying every day for the people who are persecuted for their faith

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  16. I pray for my Nigerian brothers and sisters as well as brothers and sisters in BSF around the world. I pray we don’t forget the fact that Jesus died to give us the Treasure of His Word. And He gave us the commandment to “Tell it” so that all may come to know Him and be saved. Forgive me Lord for taking Your Word and my freedom for granted. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen

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  17. What I heard a woman say the other day was that “our ground is being fertilized with the blood of our loved ones & watered with our tears” This hit me very hard because it is so true. Sometimes it is overwhelming if you think about it too long. But when we focus on our blessings, our faith, what Jesus has already done for us, and His continued promises… the bigger picture (future) is not so bleak.

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    • Yes, this one for sure is heart stopper. May the Lord be faithful to all those who are suffering right

      now for naming the name of Jesus.

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  18. Thank you for this wonderful reminder of how God promises us to preserve through the tough times and He is present with us. This story of Luka brings tears of hardship and joy to me. I want to share this with my BSF group because they and I whine about the hardship of not being able to meet in person. I realize how much this is so NOT a hardship at all. May we remember the provisions given us, may not be what we want but are what is needed to study the Word and Let us rejoice!

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  19. Thank you so much Luka for sharing this testimony of great faith in Christ our Lord! It is a great teaching in itself, not to me alone … You have reminded us to ge grateful for the many things and situations, big and small, that we do take for granted everyday! In our daily prayers, my family and I will remember you and all who are being persecuted for their faith, and we send so much love!!! Benette, keep shining!

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  20. Praise God and our Lord Jesus Christ, who enables and sustains our brothers and sisters in Jos City, Nigeria to continue to shine the light of the Gospel in the midst of great persecution. Praying for you to continue to stand fast on your faith.

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  21. Thank you Luka for your faithfulness to our Lord! It is a blessing to live with religious freedom and we shouldn’t take that for granted over here. I’m praying for you and the other brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus out lord.

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  22. Thankyou so much Bennett for this story. At a time when there is so much disharmony in our own country it is a stark reminder of just how blessed we are and lucky to have the freedom of speech and religion without having to look over our shoulder or fear persecution for our beliefs. Bless Luka and his BSF members for relentlessly pursuing their love and worship of God in the face of such obstacles. I am praying for all.

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  23. Thank you! I’m praying God will continue to work in Nigeria and for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

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  24. May Almighty God Continue to give TL Luka and the BSFers in Jos City and entire Nigeria the persevering spirit to mature & they may be complete & Not lack in any way since the faithful LORD will enable Luka & all the BSF participants to stand and overcome as We Stand with them in Prayers for God’s strengthening and sufficiency of His Grace_James 1:2-4

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  25. I pray for Luka and the Christians in Nigeria to ‘be strong and courageous’ Joshua 1:9. I also pray for myself that I’d share Christ more and more as ”night comes when no man can work”. Thank you for this loud call to pray for our brothers and Sisters.

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  26. Thank you for your work! Keep it up! I love LOVE love the international focus. I have a bizarre Spirit-led encounter through BSF in Nairobi, Kenya. Bless you!!

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  27. “Walk in evangelism, walk in witness, walk in Christ'”….Thank you Luka for these powerful words. May the Holy Spirit strengthen you . Keeping all of you in heart and mind as you continue to fearlessly share the good news of Christ amidst persecution. I will do the same even as I have freedom and liberty. Praying continually and constantly for all of you.Faint not ,fear not nor forget God’s promises .God is near.

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  28. Incredible! Here in the U.S we take our freedom for granted. Praise God for BSF dedication to these people, otherwise what hope would they have?

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  29. Praying fervently for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Thank you, Luka, for sharing your story and for continuing to be a light for Christ in the midst of darkness! Our love and prayers for protection are with you all!

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  30. Praying for the BSF in Jos Nigeria luka is a brave leader he depends on God and the Holy Spirit I pray for divine protection for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and all over the world we serve a Mighty God and yes we must go through some challenges but God will see us through them all amen!

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  31. I can’t even imagine what Luka goes through walking to his class in the Muslim neighborhoods. I’ve read similar stories that fellow Christians have endured and continue to do so in faith so great that they can’t wait until their next class. Most of us will never know what they go through. They find joy suffering in pain and agony. How blessed are they that suffer as Jesus did for us. My prayers are with them daily. My our Lord Jesus Christ protect each and every one of them always.

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    • You are so right Marilou, I can’t imagine either as I have never experienced persecution. My heart is full of love and I will hold Luka and our fellow BSFers and Christians in Nigeria in my prayers. May they continue to perserve and may God continue to be their strength and joy. May God’s peace be with them.

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  32. I just read this to my Grandchildren we will pray!

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  33. My heart hurts for Luka and the trials in His life. And my heart hurts for me because I do not have any idea of the trials he encounters minute by minute. Living a quite comfortable life in the Dallas area I will never know the persecution, pain and trials the other side of the world lives in. And I fear I will never know the depths of God, trust and dependence on God that Luka does. Thank you for this article.

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  34. I and my fellow prayer warriors will pray for Nigeria at 5am, 8am, 6pm each Monday through Saturday. Thank you for this request.

    Evangelist Sunny

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  35. Thank you for this story. Will pray for perserverance, Luka, his bible study group and brothers an sisters in Nigeria.

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