This Muslim land and its people are open for the gospel. Many previously unreached people groups now have their first believers, and pastors (converts from Islam themselves) lead most congregations! Still, Islam dominates the land, and strict, aggressive Muslim groups increase. Pray that Niger may remain open for Christian mission, and that the Lord would remove every barrier to the knowledge of Him. The spiritual effects of folk Islam and demonic oppression hinder many from following Christ.
This pioneer land still needs missionaries for all parts of the country. Loving ministry by Christian missionaries - working through aid, development, health and education - has won credibility for the gospel and increased interest and response from both Muslims and animists. Pray for more labourers. There is a growing contribution to missions by Nigeria and Brazil. Pray for sensitivity in helping small, young churches and their leaders to maturity.
Some of the least-reached peoples of Niger are particularly strategic for prayer:
- The Tuareg/Tamacheq, once rich, are now impoverished and resentful due to drought, famine, changing trade patterns and political changes. Holistic outreach and selfless ministry by workers from SIM, the Baptists, JEMED/YWAM, Sahara Desert Mission, Tearfund and others has seen the advent of several groups of believers. SIM and SIL workers are translating the Scriptures; the Tamacheq NT was published in 1991. Tuareg customs and their unique alphabet hint at a possible once-Christian heritage.
- The Zarma are Muslim but strongly influenced by traditional practices. Only a few hundred believers are known. Evangelical Baptist missionaries laboured long to produce a complete Bible translation and to plant several congregations.
- The five Kanuri peoples have a 1,000-year-long history of Islam. Though considered resistant to the gospel, they prove receptive to sensitive witness. Manga Christians have grown to a few congregations. They pray for their families and villages to believe, as natural social units, but also for the sake of security in the face of persecution. While Manga has only a few Scripture portions, Yerwa Kanuri has a complete NT and the JESUS film. Further translation as well as oral Scripture resources are vital, and some are in preparation (SIM, SIL).
- The Fulbe (Fulani), both the settled Sokoto and nomadic Wodaabe/Bororo Fulbe of the west and the less Islamized, nomadic Fulbe across the whole country. SIM has 10 workers committed to the Fulbe. The Wodaabe Church continues to grow, from 60 in 1991 to over 1,000 today. IMB, AFM and others work among the increasingly responsive Fulani peoples in Niger.
- The Songhai, a riverine people who once ruled an empire, have very few Christians among them, as few as 0.2%. SIM, IMB and some Brazilian workers reach out to the Songhai, a difficult task to a strongly Muslim people who regard converts as traitors.
- The Tubu peoples in the east. SIL is working on a translation for the Dazaga language, and several national workers minister among them.
- Arab peoples, including not only Arabized Berbers but also Moors and Libyans. SIM is preparing workers to reach out to them.
Young people are the most open and responsive, yet not enough has been done to reach this key sector of the nation. The fragile politico-economic situation often causes the universities to be closed, disrupting student ministries. GBU(IFES) operates groups in the university in Niamey and works in high schools in two other cities. The Navigators and Cru also have ministries, and SIM runs an evangelistic student centre near the University of Niamey. Pray for a deep and lasting impact through campus ministries.
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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.