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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Praying for Sudan

Earlier this month, I wrote a story about a lost boy from Sudan. Youth from Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Spotsylvania County paid for Joseph Awol to see his mother 22 years after they were separated by war. While talking with Awol, he told me how worried he and the other Sudanese refugees are about the upcoming referendum. Some feel that the vote for possible separation between the north and the south could lead to more violence. Many people in the faith community are also worried, and today I received this invitation to prayer from the Evangelical Lutheran Church:

A referendum on self-determination for the people of South Sudan is scheduled for January 9. On that same day, a referendum is also scheduled for the Abyei region where the people will vote on the question of whether to retain Abyei’s special administrative status in the north or become part of Southern Sudan.

What Can You Do?

Our sisters and brothers in Sudan are in prayer now and will continue in prayer until, through, and after the referendum. We have a number of opportunities to join them. One is through the Season of Prayer with the People of Sudan. In this initiative, a number of faith communities will come together in prayer in Sudan and in the United States in the month before the election.

Specifically, we are invited to pray for thirty minutes on:

Friday, December 3

Friday, December 10

Friday, December 17

Friday, December 24

Friday, December 31

Friday, January 7

Saturday, January 8

Sunday, January 9

Monday, January 10

Our sisters and brothers in Sudan will pray at 6:00 p.m. in their country. In the United States, we would join them by praying at Noon (EST); 11:00 a.m. (CST); 10:00 a.m. (MST); 9:00 a.m. (PST). Many in Sudan plan to engage in the spiritual discipline of fasting on January 7 through 9. If this is a spiritual discipline that speaks to you, consider joining them.

This season of prayer is open to all people. Pray wherever you are; pray individually or gather with your community or an ecumenical community or an interfaith community; pray in a manner you feel comfortable praying.

Please feel free to share this invitation widely.