Few countries of the world have known such social upheaval as the country of Nigeria. In its distant past, Nigeria was a British colony and functioned as such until 1960. Independence brought to Nigeria national sovereignty and a deliverance from colonial grievances. However, sovereignty also proved painful as the country passed through a series of military regimes. The elimination of many social services, the detention and imprisonment of journalists, students and critical scholars, the governmental mismanagement of funds, widespread unemployment and riots, all contributed to the stress of modern Nigerians.1 Religiously, Islam was predominant in the North and Christianity was predominant in the South. Animism had influence in both the North and the South. Many critics looking at Nigeria despaired at the seemingly hopeless state of affairs.
What critics couldn’t see was the rumblings of something wonderful happening just below the surface. In 1987, pained by the spiritual and social plight of Nigeria, Christian believers began uniting together and holding prayer meetings. As many Nigerians were celebrating the independence of their country, many others were gathering in prayer meetings, crying out to God for deliverance and revival. Some on their knees, some pacing the floor, some praying silently, some shouting loudly, all with yearning and expectancy, believers began calling on the God of Heaven to stretch out His hand in Nigeria.2 Prayer meetings grew into a prayer movement as more Nigerian Christians became involved.
Along with the prayer rumblings came something else, a revival among students, sweeping university campuses. Students were getting saved and telling others about their new-found spirituality. The revival spread beyond the universities into Nigerian society as a whole. Many churches in Nigeria are preaching the Gospel boldly. Many have also established social institutions and services such as hospitals, banks and soup kitchens.3 In recent years, Nigeria has seen the rise of super-churches, comprised of many thousands of believers. One church, the Deeper Life Bible Church, has a membership of 150, 000 people.4 More than once, there have been open, Christian public meetings that have gathered over one million people in one place at one time. May God be praised for the revival and the upsurge of faith that has come to Nigeria.
Ihonverbere, Julius O. Nigeria : The Politics of Adjustment & Democracy.
New Brunswick: Transaction Pub., 1994.
Thompson, Joseph and Peter C. Wagner. Eds. Out of Africa. Ventura: Regal, 2004.