About 25 believers gathered for worship and prayer, starting the day as they always do in this remote Nigerian village. On this morning, several intercessors from Global Disciples joined them, crying out to the Lord against the spirit of oppression and cultural bondage among their people. And they sensed that indeed spiritual strongholds were breaking, even as they prayed.
Prayer is the key to breaking the darkness of spiritual oppression that still grips the Becheve people. They hold to traditional religions focused on river deities with witch doctors for spiritual guidance. Many are bound by idol worship, witchcraft, and old practices like the money brides. A money bride is a girl, sometimes as young as 3 years old, sold by her parents to an older man as a “bride.” But often it means physical or sexual slavery for her; she must support him as he chooses, even in prostitution. While this practice is changing as the Gospel takes root, it is prevalent and creates a dark spiritual stranglehold along with poverty, isolation, and other issues.
Until recently, the Becheve were considered an unreached people group. Reuben, a Nigerian pastor, came as the first to bring the Gospel to the Becheve about 20 years ago. And within the last 10 years, he has finally started to see it take hold and grow, transforming lives and communities. An estimated one third of the Becheve have now had an opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus.
Three years ago, Sister Rachel was trained by Global Disciples and started the first discipleship-mission training program in the region. One of her early trainees, 21-year old Titus, now pastors the village church which hosted the morning prayer gathering with the visiting intercessors.
This intercessory team included Komahills, Global Disciples’ Nigeria Facilitator; Maria, an evangelist from Lagos who directs one of 30 discipleship-mission programs connected with Global; Mama Hanna, an intercessor for the ministry in West Africa; and Barnabas, Global’s International Prayer Leader. They walked and climbed for four days with Sister Rachel and Pastor Reuben to pray over the region, visit several pastors, and cry out to God for a spiritual breakthrough for the many still caught in darkness.
The prayer walkers climbed to the mountain tops and called on the Lord to breathe His breath of life on all who live there. And Barnabas said, “We prayed for the next generation, and laid hands on the children, who we sensed will clearly open the way for the coming of Jesus in this region. They will one day destroy the idols here and worship Jesus alone!”
Barnabas defines the purpose of this walk as an opportunity to pray for “greater breakthrough, for spiritual movement among this region. And to encourage those working for the Lord in this region.” The team met with several fellowships, upholding and exhorting young pastors like Titus, and praying for healing, spiritual freedom, and the power of the Spirit to break into the hearts of the Becheve.
While the intercessors have concluded their walk among the hills of Nigeria, the Spirit of God remains active. How will He answer the cries and requests offered by these praying disciples? We wait expectantly with these intercessors, and pray with hope that the Spirit will continue moving among the Becheve, drawing them to salvation in Christ Jesus.