Area: 923,768 sq km
Mangrove and tropical rain forests in the south, savannah and grasslands in the north. The country is drained by the Niger-Benue river systems.
Population: 158,258,917 Annual Growth: 2.35%
Official language: English. Hausa is widely used in the north and middle belt, Yoruba in the southwest, Igbo in the southeast and Pidgin English all over the south Languages: 521 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Specific religious communities needing prayer and attention are many; Nigerias religious context is highly complex and varied beyond the obvious domination of the Christian-Muslim dynamic. The major blocs are:
a) Muslims. Many are more open to the gospel despite or even because of Nigerias religious tensions. Tens, and possibly hundreds, of thousands have come to Christ. But many face death threats, discrimination and ostracism. Powerful Christian literature for Muslims and effective outreach methods are increasingly available. One important ministry is caring for converts from Islam; beyond discipleship, they often need shelter and employment in an area away from their home due to threats against their lives. There are many expressions of Islam in Nigeria, including the majority Sunni and Shiite, Sufi and militant, and the hostility between some of these groups is evident.
b) Practitioners of African traditional religion. While they number officially only around 3%, they more likely number around 8%; even beyond this, their practices and beliefs penetrate deeply into some forms of both Islam and Christianity. Paganism has not so much disappeared as gone underground, often seething beneath the surface of Christian nominalism. Many of Nigerias remaining smaller unreached-people groups are animist; they are responsive to the good news, yet are being rapidly Islamized. Pray for urgent Christian outreach to them while the door remains open.
c) African indigenous spiritual churches have multiplied especially those related to the Aladura, Cherubim and Seraphim Church and Christ Apostolic Church. Some are highly syncretistic; others maintain varying degrees of biblical orthodoxy. Pray that their leadership may be rightly helped by other Christians, with biblical theology and practices adopted.
For an additional 13 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Nigeria.