December 15, 2014, was the first anniversary of the violence that began the current instability in South Sudan. As we reflected on this, and grieved at the significance, a missionary friend of ours began writing prayers for the nation. Many joined with us, to pray for ten days – from December 15, a day that speaks of death and conflict in this nation, until December 25, a day that speaks of peace and reconciliation for the whole world. Join us, as we continue to pray….
Day 6: Pray for the men of South Sudan
South Sudan is a place with specific gender roles when it comes to work – men, in particular, have come to an identity crisis with their roles in a changing and complex globalized world. While South Sudan is still primarily a rural agrarian society, earning outside money is becoming more important all the time. Employment opportunities are few and far between here, so most men are involved in some sort of informal economic activity. This is often an on-and-off activity with a lot time without any work. Men can often be found idle throughout the day smoking or playing cards. There is also widespread alcoholism and substance abuse.
Our prayer for this day is that God would touch men’s hearts in this country, give them the strength to live godly lives and be examples for their families. We are thankful to know some great Southern Sudanese men, and pray that they would be seen as an example by those around them.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Day 7: Pray for the women of South Sudan
Many women in this nation work hard. They manage the home front and spend many hours every day doing repetitive work – fetching water, cooking food, washing clothes, caring for children. The literacy rate of women is low, with women having a greater chance of dying in childbirth than finishing secondary school. We thank God for the strength and resilience of the women here and the joy with which many women do their work each day.
We pray for protection for the lives of the women of this nation – protection from sickness, abuse and neglect. As they manage their homes, may they have wisdom and resourcefulness as mothers and gentleness and respect as wives. May God increase their capacity to love the children under their care (whether or not they are their own), and to point their children to Jesus. May these mothers not let go of their hope in the Lord.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her.
Day 8: Pray for the children of South Sudan
In the 2013 population census it was estimated that 46% of South Sudan’s population were between the age of 0 – 14 years. This nation is a young nation in many ways! Sadly, most families have suffered the loss of least one child, some mothers have lost most of their children. Sick newborn babies are often not named because families are protecting themselves from becoming attached to the baby. Many children’s names reflect their situation at birth. If the Mother was tired and burdened, the child may be called ‘Taban’, If the child was born on a journey, the child may be called ‘Safari’. Some children’s names reflect the suffering that the parents were going through when the child was born. Despite all this, the children are extremely resilient and bring so much joy and laughter.
Please pray that these children can overcome the pain and suffering of previous generations and rise up knowing they are loved and not forgotten by God. Pray that these children will have good role models. Pray that children will be named well and grow up not afraid to love and with hope in the future.
“…Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
I would not forget you!
16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.”
Day 9: Pray for the education system of South Sudan
In 2011, it was estimated that more than 80% of the South Sudanese population could not read or write. The challenges are particularly severe for female children. According to UNICEF, fewer than 1% of girls complete primary education. Only one schoolchild in four is a girl and female illiteracy is the highest in the world.
There is shortage of higher education opportunities, many having to leave the country for university. South Sudan is also in desperate need of technical/vocational school graduates in order to build and maintain its infrastructure including: building roads, houses, water treatment systems and sewage plants as well as computer networks, telephone systems and electricity generating plants to power the entire infrastructure.
Please pray for teachers to be trained well and for all children to have the opportunity to at least complete primary education. When children are educated they are less likely to join rebel groups and be violent. To rebuild this nation many trained individuals are needed with a variety of skills. Please pray they will be educated in the way of peace.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Day 10: Pray for faith in the hearts of individuals in South Sudan
We thank the Lord that many South Sudanese confess a faith in Christ – however, there is much dualism in faith. People may visit the witchdoctor one day and then be part of a Christian church service the next. There is great awareness of the spiritual realm. There is fear amongst people that sickness is related to curses that others have put on them and human body parts are used for witchcraft. We ask for freedom from the fear of curses and witchcraft as people come to know the Lord Jesus. We pray that people would seek a deep and personal relationship with Him.
We pray that we would demonstrate genuine faith here in the way we love those around us. We thank God for staff members at our hospital making decisions to follow Christ. There is such a plentiful harvest here, it seems suffering has watered the ground for seeds of eternal life to be planted in hearts. People are hungry for God. As more people come to faith, pray that there would also be gatherings of believers that are life-giving. Please pray that these churches would be healthy and flourishing places for spiritual growth and healing.
Acts 28:15b-16 ‘I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place am