Sep 22: Nigeria, The Northern Zones

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The flag of Nigeria

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A locator map of Nigeria

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Federal Republic of Nigeria


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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%

Capital: Abuja

Urbanites: 49.8%

HDI Rank: 158 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)


Peoples: 523 (13% unreached) All peoples
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card

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

Religion               Pop %Ann Gr


Challenge for Prayer

Church growth has been massive and remains so. Nigeria has a large majority of West Africa’s evangelicals. But such growth is not without its own dangers. Pray against:

a) A failure of discipleship: the emphasis on evangelism and soul winning without adequate follow-up and balanced biblical teaching. Africa’s – and Nigeria’s – greatest spiritual challenge is not Islam, not corruption, not even the need for missions, but discipleship. If the Nigerian Church were truly discipled and brought to maturity in Christ, it would be an unstoppable force.

b) Unbalanced prosperity theology and chasing after dubious miracles cheapen the good news. Numerous doctrinal distortions, greed masquerading as biblical prosperity, spiritual charlatanism and unethical fundraising not only exchange the truth for lies, but they also inoculate millions against the real message of the gospel. Pentecostal groups are especially prone to these excesses.

c) Second-generation nominalism in both traditional and younger churches is a big problem. Double standards are widespread, and immorality, membership in secret societies and compromise with the world bring strife and disrepute to the gospel.

d) Syncretistic Christianity. Many newer indigenous groups have a desire for God but also much admixture of unbiblical worldviews and practices. Many are open to greater gospel light but are often isolated from, or shunned by, the more orthodox churches. They are increasingly benefitting from access to solid evangelical seminaries and sound theological literature.

e) Enthusiastic and aggressive but uninformed approaches to African spirituality. This is often and most sadly expressed in witch hunters, who identify and accuse children of being witches or being possessed by demons and then administer harsh, even fatal, “cures”. Pray that biblical truth and practice might prevail over superstition.

f) Division and disunity. There are several major networks of churches in Nigeria. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is the umbrella body for five major Christian blocks – the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN); Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN); ECWA/TEKAN (Protestant mainline); PFN/CPFN (Pentecostals); and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC). Praise God for their vital contribution to national Christian life and unity. Some megachurches and newer denominations do not bother to integrate into the wider Christian scene. Pray that leaders and in turn believers might look past the denominational and tribal rivalries that may exist to focus on their underlying and more profound unity in Christ.

     For an additional 14 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.

More Information

The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Nigeria.

The Northern Zones


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Challenge for Prayer

The gospel has made progress since independence despite considerable opposition from Muslims. Many smaller non-Muslim peoples and an increasing number of Muslim-majority peoples are responding to the gospel. Believers from a Muslim background are often driven either underground or out of their home area. As a result, an underground network of believers is developing, as are Christian ministries focused on sheltering and discipling converts. Pray for the protection and growth of this accelerating movement.

     For an additional 3 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.

More Information

The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of The Northern Zones.