The ongoing war in Sudan has essentially been a war against civilians. Believers in the Nuba Mountains have been facing daily indiscriminate bombardment of their homes, churches, schools, hospitals and crops.
The secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011 caused immediate tension in the border areas, especially the Nuba Mountains, which are home to a large Christian community. The people in the border areas fought for independence alongside their brothers in the South, but the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement only offered them an ill-defined “popular consultation process.” The 2011 secession of South Sudan has not clarified their plight and there are rich oil reserves at stake in these regions.
The war in Sudan is a battle for greater autonomy and, to a larger extent, for religious freedom. “Since the start of the conflict, the civilian population in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan has been living in desperate conditions, fleeing from relentless bombardment and seeking refuge inside foxholes and caves, with limited access to food, water, and medical care,” says Amnesty International, which estimates 1.4 million people have been internally displaced in the conflict.
“On a physical level, the people in Nuba might never win the battle against the government of Sudan. But this war is as much a spiritual battle as it is physical. The aim of the government is not only to crush the people of Nuba physically, but it is also to break their spirit and destroy their faith. This spiritual battle is one the believers do not need to lose. In fact, it is only through the spiritual battle that they will be able to survive,” explains an Open Doors worker. “To win this war, they need all the help they can get. These believers need us to show solidarity with them and to stand with them in prayer.” A church leader in Sudan recently told Open Doors, “Sometimes we forget all our needs and just say, oh people, please pray for us. Pray first of all that the church will be strengthened. Pray that people will faithfully share the gospel with others. Pray for peace in Sudan.”
Father, we stand in prayer alongside our brothers and sisters in the Nuba Mountains. We pray for temporal needs, that You will provide them with shelter and food. We pray for their safety that You will “hide them in the shelter of your wings.” We pray that You will strengthen Your church with the knowledge of Your Word and with Your mercies and compassion that are “new every morning.” In the midst of their harsh trial, pour out Your grace upon them extravagantly that Your gospel of grace might spill over into the lives of those around them, even their enemies. And, we pray for an end to this war in Sudan that they might know peace and that those living in spiritual darkness, those who are opposed to Christ, might turn in repentance and faith and know peace with their Creator. One day may Your Kingdom extend to every square inch of this land! In the Name of Jesus, our rock of strength and anchor of hope, Amen.