WASHINGTON – Christian leaders are joiniing other faith leaders this weekend in prayer for the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan.
The “Weekend of Prayer for Darfur,” Dec. 8-10, urges prayers to call attention to the estimated 400,000 deaths and 3.5 million people affected by the conflict in Darfur.
Churches and Christians across the country are encouraged to participate in the prayer weekend. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) – the nation’s largest evangelical organization with around 30 million members – encourages churches to include a prayer for Darfur in their weekly services.
Many churches have also helped promote awareness of the Darfur situation by hanging a “Call to Your Conscience” banner outside their church.
The Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, spoke about the “urgency of now, the importance of speed” in addressing the Darfur crisis during a teleconference last Tuesday.
Edgar cited an African proverb that says: “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.”
“This weekend, we are going to walk far together and we are going to walk urgently together in prayer hoping for the violence to stop, the killing to stop, the rape to stop, the burning to stop,” said Edgar. “This is spreading beyond Darfur. It is spreading into Chad and parts of Africa and the time for urgency is now.”
Edgar supports the idea of deploying 25,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops to the Darfur region to replace the under-equipped and under-funded 7,000 African Union peacekeepers. The idea to replace AU troops with U.N. forces has been strongly supported internationally with the exception of the Sudanese government, which has unrelentingly refuse to permit U.N. troops in Sudan.
The Sudanese government has been accused of backing brutal militiamen known as janjaweed who commit atrocities against villagers in Darfur.
“We hope that churches around the country will join together during this weekend to pray for the people of Darfur and an end to the atrocities taking place there,” concluded NAE on its website.