Sudan (MNN) — Sudan's referendum to decide whether the South will secede from the North is only a few weeks away. Sudanese and surrounding area Christians have been praying. Now it's time for us to join.
This referendum has serious implications attached to it. It could mean peace for the war-ravaged country. It could result in more violence if either side rejects the referendum's outcome. (Read more about the referendum here.)
It is crucial that we pray for peace in anticipation of this uncertain time, but other issues are on the line as well. The referendum will affect nine surrounding countries for one thing. The church of Sudan has asked for prayer, and AIM International has provided a way to respond.
AIM has developed a prayer guide to help us pray during the weeks leading up to the referendum. There are numerous Scripture passages to pray through, as well as specific petitions to present to God for each week. There is also a list of prayer suggestions for January 9, 2011, the day of the referendum vote.
Prayers that God will move through the land are also in order. AIM South Sudan Unit leader Phil Byler has been in the country since 2006. When he arrived in Sudan, he says, "There was great optimism that the Southern Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) could develop into a strong Christian democracy. … There is disappointment in SPLM tribalism, nepotism, and corruption."
In a recent meeting with several men from the unreached Boya tribe, Byler explained that AIM was in Sudan not primarily to promote health or development as other organizations are. AIM's mission is instead to teach the Word of God.
When the Boya chief of police heard this, he reportedly stood up and bellowed, "That is exactly what we need! Our young people have not heard about God. Why have you missionaries not come to us? You come to teach us the Word of God!"
Clearly the Holy Spirit is already at work. Keep Byler and the Boya people especially in your prayers during this time. "The police chief's challenge has strengthened my resolve to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Boya people-while we are still able," says Byler.
Pray that the Lord would work through Byler in these last few days before the referendum, and would continue to stir the hearts of the Boya people no matter what the referendum brings. Get the full prayer guide for the country of Sudan here.