Our Father who art in heaven, bring back our girls.
Two-hundred-and-twenty-three precious young women are still lost to us. We are weeping for our children, hear our prayer.
We are grieving and we are angry. So angry that our beautiful girls have been abducted, stolen, from their lives and their innocence by such unspeakable evil. We are desperate for their return, and we are desperate for someone to pay attention to them, to save them, to rescue them.
Our pillows are soaked with tears. We carry our grief in our wombs. We cannot be comforted while our daughters, our brilliant and beautiful daughters, are in the hands of extremists who are threatening to sell them. Dear God.
Why does no one care about our girls, Abba? I am angry because I believe that if they were 200 students from Ontario or Ohio, the world would have turned itself inside out until they were found but because our girls are in Nigeria, they are just another story, another “what a shame” story.
But I don’t want to remain isolated in my anger, I want my anger to work for our girls. Use my anger, Jesus, turn the force of it towards justice.
There is still time.
Abba, I pray for rescue. I pray for ways to escape and favour for the journey.
I pray for people on the inside who are filled with doubt to begin to set the girls free. Reach into their hearts, into the shred of humanity that is still left, and may they stand up against their leaders and fight for justice from within this evil. Repent, may they repent.
l I pray for governments to move to action. I pray for the United Nations and the leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon, the people of influence all within the region, may they lean heavily and hard into the evil, until all of our girls are free. From the north and the south, from the east and the west, may we begin to rise up against such evil, such common evil.
We know that if this group succeeds, it will only be the beginning. Give us the courage and the resources to end this, now. Compel our leaders and wake them from their slumber. Dismantle the self-preservation instincts of governments.
I pray for courage to be in each school – the students, their parents, their teachers – who still stands in the crossfire between extremists and education even now today. They are feeling vulnerable and afraid, please guard them. Give them friends. May their communities rise up and surround them. This school, these girls, are hope to a nation and to a world, let our hopes not be crushed.
Father, among all of the devastation that this group has wrought throughout their region, all of the deaths, so many sparrows falling to the ground, may we notice it, may we have eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand, and may we grieve our brothers and sisters, may we rise up and say NO MORE with you.
I feel so helpless. All I know to do this morning is to pray. It feels futile but take this small seed.
We know that your heart is for rescue and for life. May we move with you, however we can, to rescue, restore, and redeem our girls and their neighbourhoods from this evil still stalking the land.
We don’t understand it all, this is complex in some ways but glaringly simple, still. So we are fasting and we are praying and we are standing. We will use everything we have to help, everything. Jesus, bring back our girls.
Whether by miracle or by diplomacy, bring back our girls. We will lean heavily on our leaders until these girls are as dear to them as they are to you and to us.
I pray for an earthquake and for the jail doors to be swung open only by the Spirit. I pray for safety. I pray for courage.
Abba, be near to our girls and keep them safe, envelope them in courage and in love. Speak hope to them: someone is coming for them. We have not forgotten.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Bring Back Our Girls – by Nicholas Kristof
Speak up and use your voice – contact your government leaders, write articles, spread the word, protest, rally, anything.