By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
ABUJA, NIGERIA (Worthy News)-- Many churches throughout Nigeria have begun a 21-day fast to invoke divine intervention and protection from Boko Haram, an Islamic cult that has threatened to attack on the anniversary of the death of the sect's founder.
Leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria advised churches that remain open to suspend, or reschedule services; church leaders said attendance in recent weeks has dropped to less than half.
Although security was increased in the Northern Nigerian communities of Bauchi and Maidugur after authorities uncovered the sect's plan, the situation in Maiduguri remained grim as Christians and Muslims alike flee the city for the safety of the countryside.
On July 5, militants bombed two churches and on the following weekend more than 30 people were killed and 20 homes burned; the resulting mass exodus from Maiduguri has turned it into a "ghost town," leaving churches padlocked; the remaining Christians are bracing themselves for a massive assault on July 30 when Boko Haram is expected to avenge the death of their founder, Mohammed Yusuf, who died while in police custody. The sect recently issued a warning for Nigerians to avoid Christians, security guards and government officials, or face death.
A former Boko Haram member who later turned to Christ, said that the sect's rituals are reminiscent of an occult group.
"Once you join the group, it takes only the grace of God to come out of it," he said. "It seems like you almost lose your will and ability to think, and you only do what you are told."
Please consider joining Nigerian Christians during their time of crisis by fasting and praying with them.