Jonathan spoke at the 2012 Democracy Day Interdenominational Church Service at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
The President, who read the Second Lesson of the service from Romans 8: 28-39, said he was hopeful that with Nigerians rallying round him and his administration, the nation would overcome its challenges.
“The only request I ask of you in this trying times is stand by me,” he said.
Jonathan also thanked the Nigerian Army for its professionalism, especially for not taking the advantage of the crisis created by the ill-health and subsequent death of former President Umaru Yar’Adua to sieze power.
He said his administration was putting all things in place to end the spate of violence in the country.
Jonathan said, “I believe we will succeed. Nigeria will move forward.”
“I thank all of you for your prayers. That is why we are hopeful that even though we have challenges, we shall overcome.
“Half way into our tenure, the President had health challenges, you all know what later happened.
“Because of your prayers and commitment, we are lucky that Nigeria did not derail.
“As a nation, we have a major challenge: terror that we never expected. We are faced with the reality of terror.
“We shall overcome by your prayer and commitment. We are doing all we can do. We were caught unawares. They came like a thief in the night.
“I will address the nation on Tuesday. One thing I can say is that even though some people have predicted Nigeria’s disintegration. Nigeria shall never disintegrate. Our forefathers worked hard to unite us.
“People are interested in us and reckon with us not because of oil but because of the potentials, population, resources and size.”
But a former Primate of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), Most Revd. Peter Akinola, said the Boko Haram insurgency would not end soon.
He also warned the Federal Government against dialoguing with the sect, saying doing so would open the administration to ridicule.
The cleric said, “Boko Haram must be seen in the right context. It is a continuation of the past. We should shun all political claims that Boko Haram is not against Christianity. It is!
“It (the campaign of violence) has been going on since 1966. They are committed to Jihad. You can’t stop them, it is their religious obligations.
“This problem is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is not only Boko Haram, many other disenchanted groups are waiting for their time.”