Praying Through the Window III -- October, 1997

The Unreached Peoples

Day 30

Hausa Homeland: Nigeria, Niger
Religion: Islam, Animism

Thirty million Hausa-speaking communities stretch across North and West Africa. More than 20 million of them live in Nigeria alone. The physical contrast between Nigeria's lush south and arid north is matched by a spiritual contrast. Although Nigerian churches are active in world evangelization, historic friction makes reaching the Muslim northerners of their own country difficult. The complete Bible is available in Nigerian Hausa, but many Hausa cannot read.

Lord, the Hausa seem open to hear the gospel, but resistant to religious change. We ask you to grant them repentance and conviction about the gospel's significance.

Swahili Homeland: Tanzania, Kenya, throughout East Africa
Religion: Islam

Twelve centuries ago Arab merchants settled on the coastal strip and small coral islands of eastern Africa, intermarrying with people there and bringing their culture and religion with them. Swahili, a Bantu language with many Arabic words, is one of the most widely spoken in all of Africa. Nearly all Swahili-speaking peoples are Muslim. Many are devout, organizing their daily routine by the five prayer times announced by the mosque callers. Others practice Islam only nominally, but agree with their more orthodox friends that Christianity is an immoral religion. This view is only bolstered by contacts they have with tourists who come to visit their areas. Although Swahili speakers welcome outsiders, 12 centuries of practicing Islam make it difficult to consider converting to Christianity. Thousands of missionaries work in Kenya and Tanzania, but in Swahili speaking areas few focus on the Muslim peoples.

Jesus, use your church to show Swahili-speaking Muslims the true nature of grace and righteousness.

Songhai Homeland: Mali, Niger
Religion: Islam, Animism

About four million Muslim Songhai live in scattered towns and villages along the Niger river in West Africa. Islam has slightly affected the deeply rooted Animism of their ancient culture, which focuses instead on the reverence of spiritual forces that govern the elements-the soil, the river, and their crops. Once a powerful people, the Songhai have watched their world shrink as the advancing Sahara desert swallows village after village. Relief and development workers in Songhai areas have helped the Songhai adapt to this changing climate. Such work can give a good name to the gospel and open Songhai hearts to God.

Lord, use Christian relief workers to show the Songhai your eternal kingdom.

Kanuri Homeland: Nigeria, Niger
Religion: Islam

His courtly robes flowing, the dignified Kanuri official carries the air of his powerful ancestors. At the height of their empire in the 16th century, the Kanuri controlled a rich caravan trade across the Sahara desert. Although no longer controlling great wealth, the royal and aristocratic classes are still highly respected in Kanuri society. Deep scars line the official's face in the distinctive patterns of his tribe. He has carried these scars all his life; they were made during a naming-ceremony when he was just eight days old, while the mullah (religious leader) read from the Koran. Rituals like the naming ceremony punctuate and order life in a Kanuri town. Birth, naming, marriage, death, and burial all have their ceremonies. Traditional and Islamic holidays mark off the year and give life meaning and structure.

Father, we are amazed by the thousands of rich cultures ordained by your hand. May Kanuri culture be redeemed for your glory!

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