More than 20 years after the start of war, violence and anarchy still reign. Several attempts to restore law and order failed – the "transitional" federal government (TFG) still does not control most of the country or even most of Mogadishu. Strong clan structures have thus far undermined rather than strengthened attempts at governing the south. Al Shabaab and other fundamentalist factions control significant amounts of territory, even driving the TFG from its former stronghold. Pray that all Somalis would support the government and that its authority would be established throughout the country. Pray that future rulers might learn from the past, govern the nation for the good of the people, respect human rights and grant true religious freedom.
Radical Islamists contribute to the present troubles. Many jihadists flood into Somalia, eager to fight against the government. The Islamic courts have restored order in their spheres of influence, but by the most ruthless means, imposing strict shari’a on all. Pray that Islamist plans will be thwarted and a new religious tyranny prevented.
More than 750,000 people are internally displaced, and 500,000 died as a result of the fighting. Warfare/upheaval and a particularly strict form of Islam make outside assistance very difficult to give. Pray for:
a) Order and stability. Chaos has created a haven for smugglers, bandits, pirates and terrorists, only fueling the problems. Such danger and an oppressive interpretation of Islam also prevent aid and workers from assisting anyone.
b) Structures of sin allow great wrongs to persist. Most women suffer female genital mutilation. Many women have been raped, many divorced and left by their husbands and many children have been smuggled out of Somalia and into exploitation or abandonment.
c) Medical need. Somalia has the lowest health budget of any nation, and the highest infant mortality rate – nearly 12% of all children die as infants. Droughts and warfare-induced famines render huge numbers dependent on food aid.
d) Wise administration of aid. Access is difficult and opportunities limited; violent reactions to perceived "Christian" aid occur. Pray for protection and effective ministry for aid workers, many of whom are Christians.
In great contrast to the chaos of the south, it has remained stable as a de facto separate state – thanks largely to clan structures left intact by the British and to a stronger infrastructure. Puntland in the northeast has self-governed since 1998, suffering only a small amount of civil strife. These two much safer and more stable regions have the potential to help restore the south. Despite the stability, there are almost no Christians in these northern regions. Pray that the peace of Somaliland would permeate southward, and that this peace would create openings for the gospel.
Most of the several hundred Somali believers went underground or fled the anarchy, taking refuge abroad. There are possibly about 4,000 Somali Christians in Somalia and twice that in the diaspora. Some meet in secret, but others follow Jesus in isolation. Pray for protection as well as discipleship and fellowship opportunities. Even as targeted persecution of believers escalates, so does the boldness of the church. But increasing numbers of believers are paying for their faith with their very lives. Pray for perseverence for Christians in this most difficult situation. Pray for Somali Christian families to be raised up – the great majority of Christians are men.
a) False notions of Christianity. Pray that the association of Christianity with Western decadence, European colonialism and Ethiopian interference would be broken.
b) Practical demonstrations of Christ’s love through aid and mercy ministry must be done in the right manner. Pray that refugees and recipients of help from Christians would be touched and would respond.
c) Nomadic pastoralism and the tightly bound clan structures of Somali society are perceived to be incompatible with Christianity; 60-70% of Somalis are at least semi-nomadic and 95% are tied into clans.
Ethiopia (4.2m), Yemen (900,000), Kenya (500,000) and Djibouti (300,000) host the largest numbers. A large proportion of refugees are often marginalized in their host countries. A further 1.4 million are internally displaced within Somalia. A number of mission agencies seek to reach Somalis in various countries. Pray that these ministries may have a powerful impact on Somalis and that viable Somali churches may be planted; responsiveness is greater outside of Somalia.
a) The Somali Bible was first published in 1977; a recent revision is currently on sale in the USA and Kenya. Distribution can occur only outside of Somalia. Pray for the wide dissemination of the Scriptures.
b) Bible translation for the Maay Somali (Rahanwein clan), whose language is somewhat divergent, is in progress.
c) Christian radio is a vital evangelistic and pre-evangelistic tool for reaching Somalis from outside the country. Pray for the work of Somali Voice of New Life (CNC-SIM), Voice of the Path of Peace and broadcasts of FEBA, TWR, IBRA and Adventist World Radio. It is a constant struggle to maintain, and a challenge to expand, this service.
d) Other formats of Christian material for Somalis include audio resources from GRN and Bible Voice, websites such as Somali Christian Ministries and Bible Correspondence courses (CNC).