Newspaper Prayers: Thursday, April 12th

Headlines from the New York Times for Thursday, April 12, 2018

In April 2014, more than 200 girls were kidnapped from a school in Nigeria. The world responded: #BringBackOurGirls.

Boko Haram dressed them in dark gowns and head coverings, broadcasting the images to the world the following month.

Four years later, more than a hundred of them have been freed. Kidnapped as Schoolgirls by Boko Haram: Here They Are Now

It took Nigerian officials agonizing weeks to publish the names of all the students Boko Haram kidnapped from a boarding school in the village of Chibok four years ago, on the night of April 14. Once they did, the numbers were staggering.

The list quickly circulated among the grieving parents searching for their daughters, some setting out on motorbikes to confront the Islamist militants who had stormed the school, loaded the girls into trucks and hauled them away at gunpoint.

Soldiers used the list, too, as they combed the countryside for the missing students, marching through the forest, dispatching jets and enlisting the help of foreign militaries.

Negotiators checked the names as they bartered with militants for the girls’ release. And the list became an inspiration for protesters hundreds of miles away in the capital, who kept marching for the girls’ return, day after day.

“As I began to read each name, my resolve strengthened,” said Oby Ezekwesili, a former education minister who led protests. “They were not just statistics. These were real human beings.”

For years, the teenagers remained missing, changing from girls into women, lost to a band of extremists known for beating, raping and enslaving its captives.

And then, many of their names were joyfully crossed off the list.

“I’m ‘back,’ as they say,” said Hauwa Ntakai, one of the Chibok students.

Nearly four years after they were abducted and dragged off to a forest hide-out, more than 100 of the students from Chibok now live on a pristine university campus four hours from their homes here in northeastern Nigeria, their days filled with math and English classes, karaoke and selfies, and movie nights with popcorn.

But more than 100 of their former classmates are still missing, held by Boko Haram. About a dozen are thought to be dead.

(This is an excerpt from an excellent story that can be found in the New York Times on-line.)

Readings from the Gospel of John for Thursday, April 12, 2018

“Jesus wept” (John 11.35) is the shortest verse in the Bible. Imagine God weeping! What do the tears of heaven say about God?

A weeping God tell us that he is personal. He is not a mere force or something like that. He is a Being who deeply cares for people like you and me.

Jesus wept over the unbelief of the crowd and in sympathy with those who mourn. No doubt, he weeps over the pain and suffering that fills the earth.

The brokenness of people who willingly scar the lives of innocent women, like the story of the Chibok school girls is one of many examples of what brings God to tears.

Prayers for Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dear God, we weep with you over the things in the world that cause you pain.

Bob Spradlinghand-sunlight-1-of-1

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