While the South's leaders have high hopes for the new state of South Sudan, the new country will face many challenges, as it will be ranked at the bottom of the Human Development index, has limited physical and economic infrastructure and has several already-formed armed groups within its borders.
Sudanese Christians need our continued prayers for a number of reasons, reports Middle East Concern.
First, the citizenship and residential status of those of Southern origin living in the North, many of whom are Christian, remains unclear. There is a fear that some will lose their right to stay, causing Northern Christians, especially those from Muslim backgrounds, to be in a more vulnerable position.
There are also fears that Churches in the North may face further restrictions on their freedom of worship if the government in the North implements a strict form of Shariah on all residents.
Second, there have been violent clashes in several Northern provinces near the North-South border. These clashes are politically motivated, with loyalty and control of resources among the motivations. The attacked communities include Christians, some of whom have been displaced.
Third, amid violence in South Kordofan, the North's forces targeted community leaders and important institutions, which are mainly churches and mosques. Incidents have raised fears among Christians that others would be targeted, and that the authorities and/or the United Nations would not act to protect them.
Lastly, there have also been clashes within Southern provinces near the border. These are primarily about the degree of local autonomy and share of national resources.
Please pray that:
- The rights of all Christians, particularly those in Northern Sudan, will be respected.
- There will be an end to violence throughout Sudan.
- Those bereaved will know Jesus' comfort; those wounded or traumatized will know Jesus' healing touch and those displaced Jesus' presence.
- Church leaders will be guided by the Spirit as they exercise their ministries at this time.
- The South will receive appropriate assistance to support those displaced from Abyei, South Kordofan and other areas of conflict.
- The governments of North and South will rule justly for the benefit of all citizens, with equitable allocation of national resources to all provinces.