Standing in the Gap — no.3g
— praying for children accused of being witches.
God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. — Ephesians 1:22–23 (NLT)
In his book Walking with the Poor, Bryant Myers writes, “When it is at its best, the church is the sign, a witness to the kingdom of God breaking into the World.” [i]
SCWA passionately believes this and is so encouraged by the way that many churches are demonstrating the character of Christ and his kingdom in their communities, through the integrity of their work and witness. That’s why it is so painful when some churches and their leaders are implicated in accusing children (and adults) of being witches and perpetrating violence against them, because of distorted beliefs that are fundamentally unbiblical.
We are so thankful for the dramatic changes we are seeing. With God’s guidance and enabling, we now have Bible–based, contextualised training resources and approaches helping to lead many of those who were harming children to a real turn–around in the way that they think and act. We want to join hands with others so that, together, we can grow our work to impact more churches in more nations, and to create new training resources that address some of the roots of child witch accusations and related violence.
We are so thankful for the dramatic changes we are seeing.
- for the opportunity that Storychangers [ii] has in the Spring of this year, to work with local church leaders in Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria, running training workshops for local clergy, using SCWA's "Heart of the Matter" training resource. Child witch accusations and related abuse are rife in this areas, so these trainings to address the issue are key.
- for the research that our friends on the ground have been able to conduct, to identify the roots of these harmful beliefs and practices, so that we can address them theologically and with relevant, contextualised resources.
- for the local planning committee that is organising the logistics for the training workshops.
- that God will prepare the hearts of those that we will be training — so that they will be open to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and willing to change any harmful ways of thinking and behaving.
- that there will be mutual learning and a real connection of hearts and understanding.
- for all those involved in the preparation for the workshops — that they will work together and serve each other and the local churches well in grace and humility, and that everything will come together effectively.
- for churches in Nigeria to be freed from all thinking and practices that are harmful, and lead the way in the care and protection of all children. Pray that these vital trainings will catalyse a response that will ripple out across the nation and lead to lasting change.
[i] B.Myers, Walking With The Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development, (Maryknoll N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1999), p37.
[ii] Storychangers is a member of the SCWA Steering Group.