SAT-7 has called on Christians across the Arab world to join in prayer for Sudan by airing prayers for peace from an interdenominational church service in Khartoum.
Below: watch clip of Pastor Hafiz Fassaha and of worshipping congregation in Khartoum
A week-long series of clips were shared on social media beginning 20 January. This followed street protests on 17 January in Khartoum and nearby Omdurman that resulted in the highest level of casualties since demonstrations began over the removal of civilian members of government last October.
Between 20-26 January, SAT-7 posted daily clips from the service of prayer at North Khartoum Evangelical Church where church leaders and congregation members cried out to God for peace in their land.
“SAT-7 was eager to schedule and promote these prayers on social media as we believe in giving a voice to the Church all over the region to engage and express herself,” said SAT-7 Arabic Channels Director, George Makeen. He noted how Christians had suffered repression under Sudan’s previous dictator, President Al-Bashir.
Back in April 2019, on the Sunday after popular demonstrations forced him from power, protest organisers had invited Christian leaders to hold prayers for Sudan among the demonstrators camped out in front of army headquarters.
“As an agent for the liberating message of the Gospel, the Church naturally supports the desire for freedom and equality,” Makeen explained.
Hopes for a more equal and free society for people of all faiths and races had begun to be fulfilled by reforms announced by the transitional government. These could now be dashed.
Diverse but united in prayer
Despite this, a hunger for the unity of all Sudanese people was echoed in the heartfelt prayers aired by SAT-7. “We are all here to pray for Sudan, coming from different tribes and different political backgrounds,” evangelist Talal Nakoussy told worshippers.
“We are not here to discuss what is wrong and what is right,” he continued. “We are here to pray for mercy over our country and declare God’s power over Sudan and all those influencing Sudan.”
Pastor Hafiz Fassaha, said he had been abroad when he learnt about the 17 January events from a tearful foreign pastor. He asked, “If this foreigner who never came to Sudan cried, what about you who drink from its water and live under its shade, and who grew up in it? Will you cry?”
Also taking part was Greek Melkite Catholic priest, Fr George Banna. He led the congregation in asking God to protect Sudan “from civil war and tribal conflicts and to send His Holy Spirit over all those in power, to enlighten their minds and lead them in paths of peace and effective understanding to end this crisis, to guide the leaders to the shores of safety and to what is good for the country and the people.”
Egyptian TV director Andrew Gamal produced the clips for SAT-7 and is in constant contact with churches in Sudan. In the current crisis, he said life in the country is deteriorating week by week.
“Electricity is cut off most of the time and people have only two to three hours of internet a week. There are water shortages too. Demonstrations block the streets and many have been injured in these. Amidst all of this, the Church is praying for peace.”
“After almost three years of the revolution, Sudanese are still trying to find their way,” Makeen said. ”Our prayers are for them not to lose hope, to find support and understanding from the international community, so that this country will peacefully find its way to a better future.”
Watch prayer by Fr George Banna and worship by Khartoum congregation: