*Christians worldwide are urged to join a Sudan Global Day of Prayer on Sunday for the country’s first democratic elections in 24 years.

Sunday’s event is the culmination of a week of prayers. Christians around the world joined Sudanese churches to pray for peaceful elections to take place from April 11 to 13. The historic elections could help pave the way for lasting peace, or, in a worst case scenario, spark another civil war.

“In 17 years of doing relief work in Sudan, we’ve witnessed so much horrific violence in this nation,” said Gary Lundstrom, vice president of Samaritan’s Purse International. “Yet with this historic election, Sudan sits at a crossroads and has an opportunity for long-term peace.

“We are asking every Christian to join us in prayer for the people of Sudan.”

For more than 21 years, Sudan was embroiled in a civil war sparked by a government effort to impose Islamic law on the mostly Christian south in 1983. The civil war was one of the longest lasting and deadliest wars of the late 20th century. About 2 million civilians were killed in southern Sudan and more than 4 million people displaced because of the violence.

The war also destroyed an estimated 500 churches in southern Sudan.

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