The evening of April 15, 2014, armed men stormed into a boarding school in northern Nigeria and herded hundreds of girls into their vehicles; 50 girls escaped but 276 are still missing. They were taken by Boko Haram, an extremist Muslim group whose name in the Hausa language means "Western education is sin." (New York Times) Most of the girls are between 15 and 18 years of age, and there are reports that they are being sold off to become "wives" of militants or sex slaves. It is believed that the girls have been divided into smaller groups and have been transported into neighboring Cameroon or Chad. Other countries have sent law enforcement experts to the area to try to rescue the girls, and an international protest (#BringBackOurGirls) has drawn attention to their plight.

Speaking as a member of the, Nobel Peace Laureate Jimmy Carter notes that "the abuse of women and girls is the most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on earth." Here is our prayer for this distressing news.

She Who Hears the Cries of the World, we pray for our Nigerian sisters who have been violently torn away from birth families, school, and communities and taken to places they do not know. Dry their tears and fears of abandonment and give them both the courage and the strength to endure this ordeal that took them by surprise. May they soon find their way back to their loving communities which had faith in their ability to learn and become doctors, teachers, and scholars.

We pray for all the girls across the globe who have no status, no protection, and no prospects.

Many were rejected as soon as their parents saw their sex; others have grown up and watched boys get first priority in food, healthcare, and support.

Many girls have been forced into marriages while others have been sold into prostitution and slavery. Girls also face rape and other sexual assaults.

We pray for all these girls who deserve equal rights with males and an end to the deprivations and abuse they have suffered. Sacred Mother, we join the millions of voices worldwide calling out #BringBackOurGirls. We know you will not forget these innocent ones, but do not let us forget them either. Let this event embolden us to do more to help the girls of the world so they can find the freedom and happiness they dream about and we seek for them. Amen.

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