“Rejoice Always”: Hope, 4 Years On

Friends and Readers,

Thank you for spending your time today, reading this blog, and praying for the many people it advocates for.

For obvious reasons, today is a sad and solemn day. For those of you who do not know, as of today, it has been four years since the Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. 276 innocent young women were kidnapped and condemned for simply going to a school that was deemed “sinful” by Boko Haram (their name in Hausa, the local language in Northern Nigeria, means “Western Education is sinful.”)

Over these past four years, approximately 164 of the young women were either freed through negotiations, or made their way out themselves. This is a cause for beautiful celebration.

But, unfortunately, four years into their captivity, 112 still remain within the clutches of Boko Haram. A video was released, with many of the purported Chibok girls stating that “We are the Chibok girls. We are the ones you are crying about for us to come back. By the grace of Allah, we are never coming back.”1 Whether or not these young women mean what they say, it can look like the war on freeing and rescuing these young girls is bleak. But there is always room for Hope.

The Catholic archbishop of Canterbury met with Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, on March 11th, 2018.2 Amidst speaking about the herder-farmer conflict and how education tackles poverty, the archbishop urged Buhari to protect Christians undergoing persecution in Northern Nigeria, as well as pushing for the Nigerian government to free the Chibok girls (and Leah Sharibu, the only “Dapchi girl” still in Boko Haram captivity because she refused to renounce Christ). Some of the archbishop’s words concerning the Chibok girls stirred Hope in me, even now. He said:

“It’s so important that we pray for the peace and progress of Nigeria – and particularly for the liberating peace of Jesus to be with all those held in captivity.”2

The liberating peace of Jesus, even in captivity. The archbishop’s words reminded me of Philippians, when Paul the apostle—who is currently in prison for sharing the Gospel—tells the readers in the church of Philippi to “rejoice in the Lord,” and that “It is no trouble for me [Paul] to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1, NIV, brackets mine). In one of the worst possible situations to be in, Paul is not complaining, or venting, or worrying. No—He is rejoicing, seeing even the idea of prison as an opportunity to tell even his guards about the faith and hope found in Christ alone.

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”
(Philippians 1:12-14, NIV)

There is no doubt—the Apostle Paul was sold out to Jesus, and, in faithfully serving Christ, was brought to experience Joy, no matter the situation (Philippians 1:25). But I think it is important to know that Joy does not always mean one has a smile on their face, skipping through tulips as if nothing is wrong. Paul  speaks of being cheered up by Timothy’s news regarding the people of the church in Philippi—which tells us that Paul needed to be cheered up, at times, and that he was cheered by hearing about his loved ones. Instead of Joy simply meaning happiness, it can be said that Joy is found in a growing and flourishing relationship with Jesus Christ, no matter the situation. It is because of this truth that Paul so confidently states in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this [living in plenty and in want] through him who gives me strength.

All of this is well and good—but what does it have to do with the Chibok schoolgirls? Looking at their predicament, it can be all too easy to be flung into despair, and for good reason. How are we supposed to “rejoice always,” as Paul states, while still seeing the reality of the situation? We are to focus on the eternal, un-conquerable Hope found in Christ Jesus. Whether the Chibok girls in captivity or are free, Jesus Christ is alive, risen, and reigning; and, no matter how powerful Boko Haram (led by satan) is, Christ has the final word on the subject—always.hope jesus

This Hope is unshakable, and is the very reason for why this entire blog exists. So, even in the midst of such terror, heartbreak, and despair, let us remember that the liberating Peace of Jesus can be had at all times, even in captivity—if only we start looking to Christ, instead of looking down.

In solidarity,

Annalee Hoover, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY


Do you know Jesus?

“Promise Maker, Promise Keeper, You finish what you begin.”
– “The Lord Our God” by Kristian Stanfill

In the beginning, Adam and Eve felt no shame (Genesis 2:25). But, as they sinned, they became filled with shame—and tried to cover themselves in fig leaves.

God, finding them in their sinful state, is grieved by their disobedience; yet, He covers them with something better than fig leaves: the skin of an animal. In this, God showed Adam and Eve that He was going to cover them and their sin, and that it was going to take the death of an innocent sacrifice to do so.

Fast-forward almost 4 thousand years3, and Jesus is on the scene. The perfect Son of God, God Himself, died the death we deserved—and God atoned for our sin better than we could ever do on our own through being “good enough” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

God has freely given all we need to be saved—God’s provision is Christ Jesus. Learn more about our need for a Savior, and how Christ fulfills this need, here.



Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this, here):

  • The parents and loved ones of the Chibok schoolgirls. This is no doubt a horrific day for everyone involved; please pray that they would put their Hope and Trust in Jesus, through this time.
  • The Chibok girls who are free. Today may be triggering for them, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Please pray that they would be comforted and would have a Godly community of people around them, to help them.
  • The Chibok girls still in captivity. Let’s pray that they truly desire to be free, and would be able to get free, either through negotiations, or through escaping.
  • For renewed interest and focus on the Chibok schoolgirls. Let’s pray that the public sees what is going on, and urges the Nigerian government and all those in power to free the girls.

1 http://www.newsweek.com/were-never-coming-back-kidnapped-chibok-girls-say-boko-haram-video-781506

2 http://dailypost.ng/2018/04/12/archbishop-canterbury-reveals-told-buhari-london/

3 http://www.matthewmcgee.org/ottimlin.html and http://www.hebroots.com/lul7_8.html

 

 

Advertisements

March for Our Lives: Remembering the Chibok Girls

As many today march for the end to school violence through gun control, I believe there is another form of school violence that should be remembered and upheld, too.

I spoke about it in this post. While the Chibok school girl kidnapping has little to do with gun violence (though the use of guns in their kidnapping played a huge role), these young women– innocent, intelligent, and full of promise– were taken from the free world, to the outrage of many.

But are they remembered, still today? This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty, but rather, convicted and encouraged. As we see thousands upon thousands of Americans stand up and say “#NeverAgain,” I pray that we remember these precious young women– and that those with the power to save these young women from Boko Haram, and protect children from terrorism of any kind, will determine in their hearts that such kidnappings, tragedies, and pains should “Never Again” happen, as well.

Today, please pray for these kids, parents, and people in general marching so that gun violence never again happens, and please keep the terrorism happening in Northern Nigeria, especially to the girls and women of places like Chibok, in your prayers as well.

May we look forward to when Jesus comes back, and we can, with a sigh of complete relief and Peace, say “Never Again” to the pain and tears happening all around us.


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus came once, to die for the sins of the world. And He is coming back, again, to right every wrong and set up His Kingdom in a new earth, and a new heaven. This is cause for great Hope and celebration! Read more about these amazing promises, here.

Changes Are a Comin’

Hey friends!

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
(Matthew 6:5-15, NKJV)

“It’s not about the eloquent words– but about the prayer itself.”

This is something Jesus has been teaching me, as of late– especially regarding this blog. A few days ago, as I sat with Him in the quiet, my focus concerning this blog was re-oriented; and with it, Jesus gave me some great ideas to initiate here on ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY.

He led me to focus more on this blog’s purpose, in the beginning, and to really go after it (as taken from the blog’s “About” page):
1) To continue to pray for the girls’ safe release from these Boko Haram camps,
2) To continue to be updated/ update others on the state of this situation, the church of Nigeria, and Nigeria as a whole,
and 3) To, as Isaiah 62:6-7 states, advocate for the Chibok girls, as well as to encourage world-wide prayer for the state of Nigeria, the Church of Nigeria, and all of Nigeria’s kidnappees so that other believers may “have no rest, and give the Lord no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the Earth.”

Because of this, I have decided I wanted to start these things:

  1. More prayer-focused resources for you, the reader. Instead of just writing about the Chibok girls, Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram, displaced peoples, those fighting Boko Haram, etc., I want to help you, the reader, have a more precise, straightforward, practical aid in praying for all the topics mentioned above. Part of this includes “Prayer Points” with each post: printable PDFs or Word Documents regarding the different prayer requests brought up in each blog post, so that you can be aided in praying for the things mentioned, as you are led. This could also include different resource pages, as well as updating and improving current resource pages (like The Names & Pictures). These printable “prayer points” could be done weekly, but I am not sure about that yet, as things like that can easily become legalistic for me.
  2. More posts just focused on the Chibok girls and their situation. News about them can be written about more frequently, like the fact that many Chibok girls are now going to school! I would like to write more about them explicitly, and ask prayer for them in a more detailed manner.
  3. I have edited/polished the “Do You Know Jesus?” Page. I wanted to keep this more up to date, reading as excellently as possible (and prayerfully, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing people to Jesus!).
  4. I have decided that I want the month of March to be especially dedicated to praying for the Chibok girls. More details about this, soon.
  5. I want to further encourage prayer for the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls specifically, so I will be posting a page/post on a group of Chibok girls readers can pray for, weekly.
  6. To let my local community know more about the Chibok schoolgirls, and to encourage prayer and advocacy for them, I may try to put together an art show for the art I have created that surrounds them. We will see; I would need lots of help, but I want to make good on this! 🙂
    contact final

    A portion of a piece of art I have created, Untitled, concerning the Chibok girls, and stating Bible Verses Christ has given me about their release.

    7. may change the blog’s overall theme! I am not 100% on this yet, but it’s an idea.

 

What do you guys think of these changes? Readers, I need your help!!! Do you have any other ideas for this blog? Any compliments/constructive criticism about it?? I’d love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for your prayers, and for reading what my silly heart and mind have to say! I love and appreciate you all! 🙂

Prayer for Day 3 of GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION: #3YearsTooLong #NoMoreExcuses #BringBackHisGirls

This week, Bring Back Our Girls is having a Global Week of Action, where they are commemorating the third anniversary of the Chibok Schoolgirls Kidnapping, which happened on April 14th, 2017. They are demanding during this week that there would be #NoExcuses, and that the Chibok Girls would be found, freed, and brought back home.

As apart of this Global Week of Action, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY has decided to pray each day for the Chibok girls; ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY also wanted to highlight the different events going on in Nigeria and around the world for these girls.

Today, the Bring Back Our Girls movement will be marching (as they will be every day), and also had a Workshop on Missing Person’s Register at 10 AM in Yar-Adua Center in Nigeria. To see more of what is planned for this week, feel free to visit the Bring Back Our Girls’ website!

In light of all of this, let’s pray.

“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for being present with us, wherever we are,  however we are, and whenever we are. You are “Emmanuel”: “God With Us.” Thank You for this amazing privilege!

Dear Jesus,
We pray over the Chibok school girls; we thank You, that they are all alive (source), and that You are still working in their lives. 
Dear Jesus, 
We pray in Your Name that these Chibok school girls would be filled with Your Joy, Hope, and Peace, as they come to know You– and that this Joy, Hope and Peace would not be able to be stolen from them.
Please protect these things in Your Name, Lord Jesus, 
and please, give their families, loved ones, and all who care about them this same Peace, Hope, and Joy, as they look to You to save and deliver the Chibok girls.
We trust You, Lord Jesus.
We ask in Your Name, along with the Bring Back Our Girls’ protesters, that they would be brought soon, and alive.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.”

Thank You for your prayers– May Jesus bless you! 🙂