Set Free at Christmas Time!

This Christmas,
Isaiah 62 Prayer Ministry would like to highlight both the joyous successes that Christ has given, as well as to remember the people still struggling in Northern Nigeria.

President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo take a picture with the 21 freed Chibok girls.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo take a formal picture with the 21 Chibok girls freed on October 13th, 2016. The 21 girls are Mary Usman Bulama, Jummai John, Blessing Abana, Lugwa Sanda, Comfort Habila, Maryam Basheer, Comfort Amos, Glory Mainta, Saratu Emannuel, Deborah Ja’afaru, Rahab Ibrahim, Helen Musa, Maryamu Lawan, Rebecca Ibrahim, Asabe Goni, Deborah Andrawus, Agnes Gapani, Saratu Markus, Glory Dama, Pindah Nuhu, and Rebecca Mallam.

Over three years ago, the town of Maiduguri had a strict curfew, causing markets and businesses to be abandoned, and citizens hidden in their homes, for fear of attacks from Boko Haram. Cities were being relentlessly attacked.

Two years ago, 219 young women, ages 16-18, were held captive, away from their parents, family, and loved ones. Tears over the inaction of the Nigerian government in the situation dampened the Christmas spirit. Suicide bombers were the tragic norm.

But while some of these things are still being worked out, there has been incredible change. In an article written by Thomson Reuters, Northern Nigerians in the city of Maiduguri are celebrating Christmas, again– the night air now filled with the hustle and bustle of outdoor markets, until the late night curfew of 10 pm.

More than this, Christian congregations have more than just re-commenced fellowshipping: they have taken to the streets, celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ in the “predominantly muslim city” (source). In a city where Christians used to cower in fear under the oppression of Boko Haram, Christ has brought freedom and victory– to the point of His People being able to sing out His Praises, without fear. Continue reading

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IMPORTANT NEWS! Maryam: The Story of Redemption & Restoration

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
(Luke 15:9-10, NIV)

Jesus has a passion for every single person (John 3:16). He desires that all of them come to know Him as their Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:9). Christ’s deep Love is for each and every individual person, no matter who they are, what they have been through, or what they have done.

Over two years ago, 276 young women were kidnapped, in the dead of night, by Boko Haram. Though it sparked a worldwide campaign, called #BringBackOurGirls, it has not been until recent months that 24 young women were freed/escaped Boko Haram captivity. This is one of the amazing, precious young women, dearly loved by Jesus, to be freed.

But, while there is rejoicing over her physical release, there is even greater rejoicing, in heaven, over those who have been spiritually freed.

Please pray for Maryam, that she would know Christ, and would be completely and totally freed, by knowing Christ as her Lord and Savior.

Christ does not just care about numbers; in fact, Christ does not look at the outer shell, at all. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He Loves You, personally, and passionately.

To learn more about the God who Loves YOU personally, please click here.


Important News:

It has been announced, with great, amazing, unspeakable joy, that one more Chibok schoolgirl has been freed!

chibok-girl-maryam-ali-maiyanga

Maryam Ali Maiyanga, and her 10-month-old, Ali, after being freed from Boko Haram captivity (source).

Maryam Ali Maiyanga has been found, and freed, by the Nigerian government, on Saturday, November 5th, 2016!

Troops found Maryam, and her 10 month-old son, Ali, as they were screened after escaping Boko Haram’s stronghold in the Sambisa Forest, in Pulka, Borno State with help from the Nigerian military. Though the Chibok girls were the most high-profile case of Boko Haram’s kidnappings, Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds– maybe even thousands– of men, women, and children from their homes, keeping them under lock and guard for years. Many, seemingly including Maryam, are either already muslim, or have converted to Islam in Boko Haram captivity– which may be out of fear, or brainwashing.

Maryam’s 10-month-old son, Ali, was claimed to have been fathered by a Boko Haram commander, whom she was either “married off” to, or coerced into having sex with. The child looks well, and will no doubt receive medical care, along with Maryam, from the Nigerian government.

Some of facts may seem horrific… but, while the trauma caused by these events remains, Maryam is physically freeand that is a cause for celebration.

While this is an amazing, joyous event, “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10, NIV). If there is rejoicing over this young woman’s physical freedom, think of the rejoicing over her spiritual freedom, as she comes to Christ!

Jesus has freed many, both physically and spiritually, from the clutches of Boko Haram, and islam. Jesus is in the business of redemption, and restoration!!! Praise Him!!!

There is still much to be done. This young girl, along with countless others, still has much healing to experience. But, let’s praise Jesus for all He has done, is doing, and will do, in the hearts of captives, refugees, Boko Haram members, and the Nigerian military.

Please pray  that Maryam would come to know Jesus, and receive true healing!



Please join me in prayer:

Dear Jesus,

I praise You, that each and every person on this Earth, right now, matters deeply to you– not to mention those who have passed away, and those who you know are still to be born (Psalm 116:15; 139).

Jesus, we thank You for Your amazing, amazing Love. Thank You for looking at all of us, and declaring us worthy to die for, so that we might be with you, forever.

Dear Jesus, You know Maryam Ali Maiyanga . You saw her, being formed in her mother’s womb, before she was even born. You foresaw every day of her life.

You knew she would be kidnapped, taken, from her family, her loved ones, and her home, to experience the immense bondage perpetrated by Boko Haram.
But Jesus, we know that You are bigger than even the most wicked, deplorable evil. We know that Your Love, shown to us in Yourself on the cross, can break into even the hardest, evil, darkest heart– or the most wounded, broken, confused of hearts– and bring them to truly know You.

Dear Jesus, I pray in Your Name that You would release Maryam from any and all bondage that she is left in. Dear Jesus, please show Maryam that true freedom is found in YOU– and that she only needs to accept Your free gift of Salvation to experience true healing, breakthrough, and a personal relationship with You, God Himself.

Jesus, we pray over the army commander that fathered Maryam’s child. If he is still alive, and wherever he is, please break through his heart, and show him what truly pleasing you looks like: loving you, and loving others. I pray for new, eternal life even for this man, and for all members of Boko Haram.

Jesus, I also pray over Maryam’s son, Ali. 
Dear Jesus, I pray that, though this little boy was born under horrific circumstances, You would restore and redeem his life, to bring you glory and praise. Please bring this young, little guy to you, and show him, and everyone around, that he is not only identified by his past or even this tragic state of affairs– or even by the fact that his father’s blood flows through his veins– but that his identity lies in and by YOU, and the fact that we are all COMPLETELY new creations in You, with Your blood flowing through our spiritual veins, when we accept You into our lives and hearts, as Lord and Savior.

Please, dear Jesus, show Yourself in this situation to Maryam, and to everyone, around her. I thank You for this, Father God. 

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

Please continue praying for Maryam, her family, and her story. Please also pray for the Nigerian military, and for their continued success!

Thank you!

Free to Dance: The Importance of Sharing the Gospel

On the Sunday morning of October 16th, 2016, 21 of the original kidnapped school girls from Chibok, Nigeria, celebrated their freedom during a church service in the capital of Abuja.

Surrounded by their loved ones, clad in beautifully vibrant outfits, the 21 Chibok school girls were filmed dancing and singing for joy (the video can be seen here). Living in a state that one never could have dreamed of, this scene of the girls, dancing with a spring in their step, was no doubt a little bit of Heaven seen on Earth.


The Cost of Freedom

The girls’ freedom was not without cost. Freed, in a deal brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Government, reportedly cost the Swiss Government millions of dollars, while more reports have claimed that the girls were freed in exchange for four Boko Haram militants. While the exact deal has not yet been confirmed, one knows they were freed, at an incredibly high price.
With 197 young women still in captivity, and at least 83 still held by the faction of Boko Haram these 21 Chibok girls were freed from, freedom still seems far away, though it has now become a possible reality, to the watching world.

Little by little, the promising words of Isaiah 62, are being realized, in the lives of those affected by the Chibok kidnapping. While Isaiah 62, in its original context, was written for the nation of Israel, Christ used the passage for Isaiah 62 Ministry, to quite clearly express the Hope, Joy, Freedom, and Redemption these girls were to experience– even in the midst of the darkness, that was the first weeks after their kidnapping. “The nations will see your righteousness,” it reads,

    World leaders will be blinded by your glory.
And you will be given a new name
    by the Lord’s own mouth.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—
    a splendid crown in the hand of God.
Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”
    or “The Desolate Land.”
Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” [Hephzibah],
    and “The Bride of God,” [Beulah],
for the Lord delights in you
    and will claim you as his bride.
Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem,
    just as a young man commits himself to his bride.
Then God will rejoice over you
    as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.
(Isaiah 62:2-5, NLT, emphasis mine)

It is clear to see that, little by little, this joyous redemption is occurring, for the Chibok girls and their families, in huge ways.


Staying In Bondage

But, amidst the celebration, there is still a huge amount of young women actually unwilling to leave Boko Haram. As reported, in this article, over 100 of the Chibok schoolgirls do not want to be freed, either out of the fear that they will be stigmatized and harassed by those in their hometowns, or because they have been radicalized by Boko Haram, after being made into their wives.

To hear that these young girls may want to remain in captivity breaks the hearts of those who have waited, and are still waiting, for their release. Yet, it is the sad truth: whether it would be fear, or believing the enemy’s lies, these precious young women are choosing to stay bound, whether they realize it, or not.

In reality, this is very much how many people live their lives. Bound by the enemy, some people refuse to get free, and to receive the freedom that Christ freely gives them. Some may not even realize that they are believing a lie; others may know that they are in bondage, but remain helpless, just the same.

The Wonder of the Gospel

This is the pressing reason of why it is so important to have Christ, and His Gospel, shared. The Gospel is not some cliche, religious word, nor is it just “apart” of Christian faith culture. Instead, the Gospel, which means “good news” in Greek, is THE most important news anyone could hear.

The word “Gospel,” and the Good News of Christ found within it, has been so used in American and Christian culture that it has seemingly lost its power and true meaning– sometimes, sadly, even to those who believe and practice it. But the word “Gospel” itself is derived from the word “euangelos,” meaning “messenger,” “one who brought a message of victory…” (source). The Bible confirms the power of this glorious message in Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.”

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Source: BibleScreen.com

Many people would say they know this message of salvation pretty well: that as the all-famous verse, John 3:16, expresses, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” While this verse is very well-known, even to those who don’t believe it, it’s awe and wonder should never be lost.

Slaves to Sin

The Apostle Paul, when explaining the reality of Jesus’ Good News to those in Rome, compared coming to know Christ to being ransomed, as a slave.

21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. …15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.”
(Romans 5:21; 6:15-17, NLT, emphasis mine)

At one time, before one knew Christ, they were held captive by the “law of sin and death”– bound by the sin, that Adam and Eve committed, and to the death of separation from God, that sin created. While mankind tried to become free, through the keeping of the Law of Moses (John 7:19), no amount of obedience and works is enough to break this bondage to sin and death.

Ransomed by Jesus Christ

But at the right time, “when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, NIV). Knowing that mankind could not pay its sin debt– even through the grandest of good works or the most detailed keeping of the Law– Christ, God in human form, came down and paid our sin debt for those who believe. In effect, He set all who believe on Him free, from the wages of sin and death– bought and ransomed by God (Romans 6:23; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Believers were bought with a price– no longer slaves to sin, and free to do as Christ commands us to. But isn’t that just more drudging, joyless slavery? One can ask. This is the beautiful Truth: No. Instead of “slaving” for salvation– lost, and floundering to be saved by one’s own efforts, those who believe on Christ become the very children of God: “Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir” (Galatians 4:7, NLT).

From Slave to Child

What does this mean? It means that a Believer is saved, no matter what they do or don’t do; and, as children of a Loving Father, they can choose to obey their Living Father’s commands, not out of obligation, but out of knowing that His way is best. As His heirs, Believers are given all that Christ has (Ephesians 3:8); the best of which is an unbreakable, eternal, personal, Love relationship with the God who loved us first (1 John 4:19).

For the price of the blood of Christ, Believers have been forever set free, to live in Relationship with Him. This Gospel News is not only some Good News; it is the Only News that can truly set people free. With this in mind, Believers are equipped with the very news that can liberate those still floundering, lost, and enslaved. This freeing News must be shared.

As the world celebrates the freedom of the now 22 Chibok girls, let us also keep those, who have yet to be freed, in prayer. That they, and those in Believer’s lives, would be freed, both physically, and spiritually. After all, only Jesus can break the chains of bondage, and help us to freely dance, just like the Chibok girls. 🔹



Do you know Jesus?

“We love each other because he loved us first.”
(1 John 4:19, NLT)

“What other king leaves a throne? What other king leaves his glory to die?” A popular, profound, worship song asks, as the music plays (hear it here).

This worship song does not ask something easy; nor does it ask, for the sake of finding an answer. Jesus Christ, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

Why would one, who has done nothing wrong, come to die for the sins of people who rejected Him?
The answer is simple, yet amazing: Because He so loved the world.
On a much more personal level, He died, not just for all of mankind, but for you. You, whoever you are, before you were ever born, were considered worth dying for, by the God who knew and foresaw you, even then.

 Philippians 2 goes on: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, ESV).

Meet the Lord of lords, who left His throne, and died for you, here.


Please pray with me…

“Dear Father God,

You amaze us with Your power, Father. You are beautiful, O Lord, King Jesus. Thank You for hearing our prayers, and for acting upon those prayers, in any way you see fit.

We praise You, that it is Your Heart, that people would be freed, healed, and restored. We praise You, that You know how to best free, heal, and restore people, even if it doesn’t look the way we would sometimes like it to.

Father God, we are so thankful, that you have FREED these 22 young women from CAPTIVITY and BONDAGE!!! You are a GOOD, GOOD FATHER, Father God! We stay in awe of You, Father, and are so thankful for the fact that You are our Savior.

Father God, we just lift these 22 young girls up to You, now. Father God, please continue to make Yourself very real in these young women’s lives… please continue to free them, spiritually, mentally, and physically, of all they have been through. We know that ultimately, this trauma will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and we pray that You would help them at every turn, to grow, heal, and change, always becoming closer to You. Let this tragedy be turned around for Your Glory, and their good, in their lives.

Father God, we also pray for the Chibok girls that are still captive. For whatever reason, Father God, please bring these young women to You– please work and move powerfully, on their behalf, so that they might trust in You, and that even the members of Boko Haram would turn and repent to You. Please save these young girls, spiritually, and physically, however You Will.

Father God, please help the worldwide church– but more specifically, the churches in Northern Nigeria– to continue to point these young girls to You, and to the healing, comfort, and restoration that You provide. Father, please give Your People the resources they need to love, edify, uplift, and just “do life” with these young women.

Please continue to use the people of this world– Believer or not– to set these people free. Let them ALL come to know that You are the author of Salvation, the Giver of Life, and the Lover of our Souls.

In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Please comment or contact me with any prayer requests you may have, or if you need a listening ear. Jesus Loves You! ❤