Conservation Group Tries One More Thing to Preserve an African Woodland: Prayer

A Rocha Kenya cites WhatsApp intercession group as key to saving habitat for owls, shrews, and other endangered creatures.

The Dakatcha Woodland is home to Africa’s tiniest owl; a long-legged shrew with golden fur found nowhere else on earth; and weaver birds so rare it took Kenyan ornithologist Colin Jackson 13 years to track down their breeding grounds.

The East African habitat, which stretch over about 465,000 acres north of the coastal town of Malindi, Kenya, are under constant threat from climate change, expanding farms, and charcoal production.

“We’re fighting against a huge wave of destruction,” Jackson, who is also head of A Rocha Kenya, told CT.

There are only so many things you can do to save a forest. You can lobby for environmental laws. Buy land and place it in a trust. Raise money. Raise awareness. Promote scientific research on the importance of the habitat for biodiversity.

And, according to Jackson, you can pray.

“There have been times when things have looked pretty desperate and yet we’ve managed to break through and things have improved,” he said.

A Rocha Kenya, the local branch of the international network of environmental organizations with Christian ethos, has set up a “wall of prayer” to protect the Dakatcha Woodland and other key sites. It consists of a WhatsApp group of about 80 or so Christian conservationists around the world that A Rocha Kenya can call on for intercession when faced with a crisis.

Many people are skeptical of the power of prayer, and there is an especially fierce criticism of those who invoke “thoughts and prayers” as a way not to take action on pressing social issues. But Christians who care about the environment have been increasingly turning to intercession as a spiritual tool commensurate with great need.

Believers from Asia, Europe, and …

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