praying for two new nations

It’s not dominating the headlines, but history has been made this weekend – on Saturday, South Sudan became independent, following a 99% yes vote to a referendum held in January. And in effect, two new nations were created.

South Sudan flag

The situation in South Sudan, it’s northern neighbour Sudan, and the surrounding East and Horn regions of Africa are highly complex – particularly in the current context of the food crisis.

There is both great hope in Saturday’s new start, and great fear.

Violence, and persecution continue to affect some regions and peoples within the north. Darfur remains in the north. South Kordofan has also hit the headlines more recently as the international community has become aware of both conflicts and ethnic cleansing. There is deep concern amongst the Christian community for brothers and sisters living there, and for the Nuban people generally – whatever their faith.

Additionally, the two new nations are contesting the border territories of the Abyei region and some commentators fear that independence could lead to renewed fighting between the north and the south of the former country.

Whatever the complexities or various political predictions and perspectives – one thing is certain; both nations desperately need prayer.

Please pray for hope and peace to triumph; for incredible wisdom in South Sudan’s ‘young’ leaders; for the birth of two new nations that are free from oppression; and for breakthrough nationally and internationally to protect all who are in danger in the north and border areas.

Visit the BBC’s Africa news pages to find out more and join us in a prayer of blessing for this new nation, and it’s northern neighbour, inspired by the words of South Sudan’s new national anthem:

Father of nations, bless today our world’s newest nation – South Sudan.
We long to see it have the future its people are praying for –
where ‘peace, liberty and justice shall reign forever more’
and war is confined to memory.

Father of nations, bless South Sudan to thrive.
Increase the yields of its land, agriculture and industry.
May its leaders know your guidance, wisdom and truth
And its people live in peace and prosperity.

Father of nations,we also bring the north to you.
We ask you to deliver all who are still oppressed, and especially lift to you the Nuban people, and the regions of Darfur and South Kordofan.
Convict the hearts of those who are in power within the Republic of Sudan, and those in the international community who stand by.
Defend your church, and all who are persecuted – whatever their faith.
And raise up men and women who will establish peace between these two countries, and within their borders.

Father of nations, we ask these things in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who laid down his life to win our freedom.

Tearfund are running an appeal for South Sudan, and the DEC have now also launched an appeal, alongside Christian Aid, for the food crisis in the East and Horn regions of Africa.

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