Ancient Nubia, as Sudan was called in Biblical times, was evangelised by Coptic Christians in the 2nd century and remained largely Christian for some 500 years. Then the rapid expansion of Islam in the 7th century took over most of the country. Only the southern parts of the country remained Christian along with a mix of traditional tribal beliefs.
Then in the 19th and 20th centuries an expansion of Christian missionary work spread through the country especially in the south, with some success.
In 1956 Sudan became independent. This precipitated a civil war which continued for several decades. Sadly Christians and other minorities now suffered persecution as a norm.
With the increasing dominance of Islam the largely Christian south achieved independence in 2011, and there was a large movement of Christians to the new South Sudan, where there was a Christian majority.
However the plight of Christians left behind in Sudan then deteriorated even further.
Since that split in the country, under the authoritarian rule of President al-Bashir and his party, Sharia law has been made the rule of law for all citizens. Apostasy from Islam carries a death penalty which is enforced. Christian churches have been regularly destroyed. Christians, especially pastors and leaders are harassed, arrested and imprisoned. Christians seeking employment are pressurised to deny their faith and convert to Islam. Women can face public flogging for wearing trousers or other so called ‘immoral unIslamic dress.’
Meanwhile the government is still engaged in a bitter war of attrition on the inhabitants of the Nuba mountain area in the south of the country next to the border with South Sudan. Using starvation, mass rape, persecution, violent imprisonment and torture as well as the destruction of villages, churches, hospitals and schools and mission bases it aims to get rid of all the Christian communities in the southern area.
Thousands more have now fled to South Sudan where they live in vast displaced peoples camps.
● Praise God that in spite of the persecution, the church in Sudan is still growing. Ask God to use the church in Sudan to demonstrate the love of Christ to their nation.
● Pray for strength and comfort for those imprisoned for their faith, particularly Muslim-background believers.
● Pray for protection for Christian girls, who are often forced to marry non-Christian men .
● Pray for protection for Pastors and leaders as they go about their ministry, and for the release from prison for those held there.
● Pray for a change of mind by the ruling authorities to allow freedom of religion, freedom to change one’s religion, and for the removal of rules that makes everyone subject to Sharia Law.