August 27 - Pray for: Mauritania

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Mauritania must overcome huge economic and social challenges. One-third of Mauritanians live with food insecurity and malnutrition levels are at or beyond emergency thresholds. Widespread divorce leads to many social problems. Only about 1% of land can be farmed, and even that decreases as farmland becomes desert. New discoveries of oil could bring wealth, but could also increase corruption and further divide rich and poor. 30% are below the poverty line, and half of the population is illiterate. Slavery is illegal, but thousands most likely still live as slaves. Pray for freedom and justice for all those oppressed.


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Islam has been entrenched for 1,000 years with little challenge. Mauritanians see their nation as the most Islamic country in Africa. Many are the barriers to change - laws hindering proclamation of the gospel, powerful social resistance to change, an historic reluctance to engage with the outside world, geographical isolation, low literacy and minimal exposure to Christians and Christian media. The arrest of alleged converts to Christianity in 2023 highlights the hostility to even the notion of Mauritanians leaving Islam. Pray for greater spiritual openness and hunger for God. World Vision, Caritas, the Lutherans and others are working in development as well as with issues such as disease awareness and prevention, human rights and environmental protection.

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There are only a handful of Christians among this entire people, but we see a new day of growth and witness among the Saharawi through low-key mission work and national believers. There are openings for ministry to refugees through relief and development, and difficult political and living conditions lead to considerable openness. The Hassaniya NT is now completed, as is the JESUS film and several other Christian digital audio resources are available. Pray for those who are, and could be, serving among them.

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Expatriate Christians in Mauritania are few. Most are from various West African countries working at menial jobs, although some work as professionals. Others work in diplomatic services, development and commerce. Expatriate Protestants are petitioning the government for legal protection from sporadic police harassment in certain precincts. Expatriates suspected of proselytizing Mauritanians are subject to harassment, interrogation, brief imprisonment, expulsion and even murder. The murder of a foreign Christian by Islamic terrorists in 2009, as well as extremist activities, have led to many expatriate believers leaving the country. Pray that the lives of Christians might clearly demonstrate the love of Jesus. Pray also that the Lord might grant them wisdom, protection and make them powerful witnesses for His name.

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All Mauritanian peoples remain essentially unreached, and the vast majority have yet to hear the good news of God's grace through faith in Jesus. There are only a small number of Mauritanian believers worldwide, although the exact number is unknown. Believers in Mauritania have at times been imprisoned, beaten for their faith, or have endured ostracism by family or tribe. Pray for godly indigenous leadership to develop. Pray for increasing freedom of religion, both socially and legally. Pray for seekers to encounter Jesus, and that any who follow Him might be courageous in the faith. Also pray that God might minister to believers despite the lack of fellowship.

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Mauritanians in other lands are an opportunity. Mauritanians reside in many countries in West Africa as well as in France, Spain and the USA. There is some work among them in Senegal. Pray that these scattered people may be evangelized and that Mauritanian believers, wherever they may be, might increase.

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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.