Sudan (MNN) — The clock continues to tick on southern
Sudan's January referendum, and as the day approaches, Sudan's church is
joining together in prayer.
According to a report released by a coalition of NGOs Wednesday,
Sudan is "alarmingly" unprepared, having already missed several
deadlines and having just approved the commission to oversee the referendum
late last month. And unless they want to miss another deadline, they have less
than three months to finish voter registration–a process they have yet to
If the referendum does not take place in time, this means
the North would be going back on their word, which could possibly rekindle
civil war. However, if the referendum does come to a vote and the oil-rich South
gains independence, they would become a landlocked country: dependent on the
North for exports, "something that Khartoum (Sudan's capital) could refuse
or make prohibitively expensive."
Words of Hope broadcasts in the region, and their Vice President
of International Ministry, Lee DeYoung, said this could wreak havoc throughout
East Africa: "It seems that regardless of what happens with this
referendum, there could be implications for the other countries that neighbor
Sudan in East Africa."
DeYoung cited the recent bombing in Uganda during the World
Cup, as an example. He said the attack, claimed by a Somali terrorist group, may
have come because Uganda sent troops for a peacekeeping force in Somalia.
With these current tensions and so much uncertainty on the
horizon, Sudan's Church recognized more than ever the need for prayer. Usually
communication throughout north and south Sudan can be difficult, but because of
Rev. Anthony Poggo and the Presbyterian Church's efforts, "The Presbyterian
Church of Sudan … has arranged for a prayer for this referendum in Southern
Sudan to be conducted in all of its church services this coming Sunday,"
DeYoung said. These congregations stretch across Sudan, with around two million
people a part of the denomination.
As many believers join together in prayer this Sunday,
July 18, will you join them?
DeYoung asks you to pray this prayer along with them:
"God of the ages, your children in Sudan have known
hunger, they've experienced violence, and they endured trouble and toil. And
through it all, You have been with them, sustaining them, supporting them,
bringing them thus far on their journey. Remind all your people in Sudan of Your
presence as the day for the upcoming referendum in South Sudan draws near.
Touch them by Your grace that they might live in hope. Guide Your church that
all may witness boldly and faithfully to the good news of Christ's gospel of
love during this time. Lead the citizens of Sudan to become well informed as
they prepare to make critical choices that will have far reaching impact. Fill
their hearts anew with Your Holy Spirit, so they may turn from all forms of
violence. Inspire them to honor, respect and care for one another. Guide their
leaders to plan and conduct a referendum that is free and open and honest. As
they exercise their vote, may they do so in safety and may all clearly speak
their will. May the results of the elections be honored by all. God who does
new things, open all the people of Sudan to new possibilities for shaping their
lives and country. God who created and loves a diverse family, help all transform
long-time animosities and seek the well-being of all. God who establishes
justice, give Sudan courage to challenge injustice and to work together to
build a Sudan in which all have enough to eat, blessed peace prevails, and
justice is known throughout the country. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen."
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