An estimated 200 million women and girls aged 15-49 live with the consequences of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C). Behind this chilling statistic are females whose lives have been forever changed – many of whom now suffer long-term injuries. Tearfund is committed to ending FGM/C – and we would love you to join us.
In this prayer guide you will find how you can pray for survivors of FGM/C, as well as for the work that’s being done across West Africa to bring an end this harmful practice. This guide can be used individually or in groups. There are five prayer topics, which you can split up into your schedule to suit you, or you may want to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in what topic to pray for.
We hope you find the guide helpful and we thank you for standing with us and those we serve.
What is female genital mutilation or cutting?
FGM/C involves the cutting or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The often-traditional practice has zero health benefits for girls and women.
As well as being a traumatic experience for women and girls, FGM/C can also cause life-threatening and long-term health problems – including severe bleeding, infections, infertility, and complications in childbirth.
FGM/C is mostly carried out on young girls up to the age of 15.
Tearfund works with local churches and partners across West Africa to help end FGM/C. We also support survivors and advocate at local and national government levels to create change.
These are the latest updates from our work on this issue – and how you can be praying.
Section one: praying for survivors of FGM/C – stories from the frontline in Chad
‘My aunt forced me to undergo excision [FGM/C],’ says Luiza*, who is just 13 years old. ‘I have experienced suffering and I am still haunted by fear.’
Luiza’s story is common among survivors – family and community pressures are the main drivers of this practice.
Amira* tried fleeing to prevent being cut, but her parents found her and brought her back. ‘They in turn stripped me completely and threw me among other naked girls to wait for our turn,’ she shares with us.
Amira managed to escape – running six miles to a local church pastor’s home. She now lives with other girls who have escaped FGM/C at Beth Elphia – the house of hope – run by Tearfund’s local parnters, SERBAD.
Although she is safe now, she cannot go back. ‘My daddy disowned me and doesn't want to see me at their house anymore,’ explains Amira.
Other girls in the home are scared their parents will track them down at the home and force them to go through the cutting.
Zahra*, who fled with her younger sister, shared this prayer request with us: ‘Pray a lot for us because we are always worried… Do not forget us in your prayers until total victory. Thank you and God bless you.’
How to pray:
Read through the stories of Luiza, Amira and Zahra and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in praying for them and other survivors of FGM/C based on their testimonies.
Other helpful things to pray for include:
- asking God to protect girls at risk of FGM/C.
- praying for healing for survivors of FGM/C – physical healing over complications they have suffered as well as peace and comfort for any trauma and stigma they live with.
- asking God to change the hearts and minds of their families and other community members on FGM/C so that relationships can be restored and healed and so that other girls do not have to go through this.
- praying for justice for survivors, as well as strength and courage for them to be able to speak their truth and live their lives free from condemnation and stigma.