A Prayer For The Chibok Schoolgirls
How long did it take for their fate to affect you? If you have a daughter or granddaughter, it likely took your breath away the first time you heard about it.
On April 14, more than 300 female students were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. A militant Islamist group known as Boko Haram - a Taliban-like, Al Qaeda-connected Sunni terrorist organization - has been intimidating Nigerian citizens since around the year 2000. It is said to have been responsible for something over 3,500 murders to date.
On the night of the kidnapping, 53 of the courageous and desperate young women jumped from trucks or fled into dense underbrush at times when their captors were distracted. Of those still in captivity, Boko Haram's leader has boasted that the girls' education in anything but the Quran has ended.
Most of the 15- to 18-year-old girls are Christians. The only confirmed evidence of what has happened to them since April 14 is a short film that shows them in traditional Muslim dress and reciting verses from the Quran. Their captors have threatened to sell them for $12 apiece. What parent, Nigerian citizen, or person of goodwill anywhere in the world would not fear for them?
Several countries have offered their assistance to the government of Nigeria to help locate the Chibok children. Celebrities have given their names and faces to get public attention to their plight. No one can predict the outcome.
Will you join with me to pray for them?
Merciful God, you care about all people from all nations, races, and tribes of Planet Earth. Please look with special compassion on the group of schoolgirls from Chibok - and all other enslaved and terrorized, exploited and abused children of the world. Sustain hope. Provide rescue. Effect healing. Overthrow the designs of all those who plot to carry out evil against others - especially those who are the most vulnerable among us.
Bless those who serve and protect little children - from loving parents to conscientious teachers to would-be rescuers of the enslaved. Give them your mercy as they defend the defenseless.
We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
As the story slips off the front pages and gets buried in the crush of news stories with more audience-grabbing images, please don't forget the ChibokSchoolgirls. Include them in your personal prayers. Pray for them in your church or Bible study group. Express your concern for them in every appropriate way.
This quotation from Martin Luther King Jr. seems particularly appropriate: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Dr Rubel Shelly is Pastor of Woodmont Hills Church of Christ, Nashville and authors Fax of Life a weekly service. He is the author of more than 20 books, including several which have been translated into languages such as Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Russian. To subscribe to Fax of Life, send email tofaxOfLife@woodmont.org