United Kingdom consists of two main islands: Britain and the northeast of Ireland. A union of four countries: England 103,400 sq km, Scotland 78,800 sq km, Wales 20,800 sq km, Northern Ireland 14,100 sq km. Also three small autonomous states that are dependencies of the British Crown: Isle of Man 588 sq km (in the Irish Sea); Channel Islands 194 sq km (Guernsey, Jersey).
When I started reading about the United Kingdom, I was really shocked at the numbers. Only 60% are Christians and of those 8.8% of Evangelicals. Since the United Kingdom is made of four countries, I thought I would put all four Prayercast videos on my blog today and let them speak for themselves. The videos will give you some ideas of what you can be praying for, but revival is definitely one of them.
Ukraine, a former member of the communist USSR, achieved it’s independence in 1991. It is a country of just under 48.5 million people. Of those 48.5 million people around 79% claim to be followers of Christ while just under 4% claim to be evangelicals. Since 1991 it has been a struggle to take advantage of it’s economic resources. There has been a rapid increase in alcoholism and the number infected with the AIDS virus.
While Chernobyl seems like a distant memory to most people in the past, it still very much is influencing the lives of those in Ukraine. Even though it occurred in 1986 it is still impacting the environment and causing disease and death.
There is hope though, for sure. Ukraine was once considered the “Bible belt” of the former Soviet Union, but major persecution of the church occurred during Soviet rule. The perseverance of believers through that persecution and oppression has paid off as there is a new spiritual ambition and vision that has not been seen before in Ukraine. A blossoming of agencies also followed independence with Ukrainians now working in outreach (evangelism, literature, media), with children (in summer camps and schools), and especially in humanitarian work (with prisoners, hospitals, orphanages and soup kitchens). Pentecostals/charismatics and Baptists minister both within Ukraine and without, sending missionaries to other former Soviet states
Please join me in praying for:
- Those affected by Chernobyl.
- Forgiveness towards the communists.
- The continued missions work, both in and outside of their country.
- The different churches to come together and work towards a common goal of seeing others come to Christ.
Turkey straddles two continents, but by far the majority (97%) of it lies in Asia. Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country with 96% belonging to that religion and less than 1/4 of 1 percent being Christian. That is around 163,000 out of the almost 76 million people. That number is in decline too. The Evangelical population only claims just over 7,000 people, but there is a small growth happening there. The most difficult thing for Christians in Turkey is fear of persecution and so discrete ways of distributing Christian information is vital. Bible correspondence course, online courses, websites and relationship witnessing are some of the most successful practices. The presence of Turkish immigrants in other countries (especially Germany and Austria) lead to a unique situation as well where Turks move to a new country, become Christians and then go back to their homeland and lead their friends and family to Christ.
Please pray for:
- Cultural barriers to be broken.
- Christians to have freedom to share their beliefs.
- The Turkish immigrants in other countries to hear, see and believe the truth about Christ and for them to have a desire to return home and share what they have learned.
- For creative outreach to be used and be successful.
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With just over 7.5 million people, Switzerland has a small but growing population of just over 300,000 evangelicals. I have seen first-hand what some evangelical groups have been doing just over the border in Basel. A while back they organized a city wide art event where art of all different types were on display in churches and other public locations throughout the town. Many churches were involved and it attracted a lot of people who may not have otherwise set foot into a church.
The Catholic and Reformed communities are struggling as there is a major shortage of clergy and liberal theology threatens the faith of the congregations. Though that is happening, modest growth continues in Free churches, an active movement for renewal lives in Reformed churches and Catholics are returning to a more conservative and traditional faith.
Please pray for:
- Pray for a national vision of evangelization.
- Continued answers to prayer for Switzerland’s involvement in the spread of the Gospel world-wide.
- Pray against the falling away of the Swiss people from the church and that more people will intercede on behalf of Switzerland.
- For the continued growth among the Evangelical population.
- Pray for various media to reach the foreign communities within Switzerland for the gospel.
Sweden is the largest Scandinavian country in Northern Europe and has prospered from its political neutrality. It prides itself on being a nation of equality. It has not been at war since 1814 and is one of the world leaders in gender equality. Described as “folkhemmet”, meaning the people’s home, Swedes take care of their own and place family first. Among the most cherished values are materialism, hedonism and individualism. 57% of Sweden claims Christianity and 7% are Evangelicals, but only 1-2% of the members of the church actual attend.
Please join me:
- Pray for a God-planted curiosity among secular, humanistic Swedish youth.
- Pray for Christian leaders and educators to be strong apologists for the Biblical worldview.
- Pray for continued unity within the Church as well as a compulsion to tell Jesus’ story.
A country of over 45 million people, Spain is home to over 35 million people who claim to be Christian. Just under 500,000 of those people are considered Evangelical Christians, actively trying to reach others for Christ. Spain is the home country for the third most used language in the world (Spanish).
Here are some praying points for this week:
Evangelical numbers have grown, but not as fast or in the ways hoped for. Many evangelical churches are concentrated in Catalonia (especially Barcelona), along the east coast, in Andalucía and in the areas around Madrid. Pray for:
a) Revival. Spain has never experienced a national outpouring of the Holy Spirit in revival, and, as secular attitudes predominate, the general spiritual atmosphere is drier than ever.
b) Greater cooperation among denominations. Unity is actually a positive point overall, but deliberate collaboration is scarce. FEREDE, the Federation of Spanish Evangelical Religious Entities, is a key network hub for evangelical denominations, giving focus in ministry and speaking for evangelicals to the government. The Evangelical Alliance of Spain has promoted unity among evangelicals for more than 130 years.
Pray that a revival in Spain would not only radically change Spain, but expand then to the rest of the Spanish speaking world.
Welcome back to my prayer Monday posts. I again apologize for my absence with these posts and i hope you continue to join with me these last 7 weeks as I finish up the European countries and start a new weekly prayer posting.
Nestled in between Austria, Italy, Hungry and Croatia lies the country of Slovenia. Slovenia boasts lush vineyards, snow-capped mountains, ski resorts and despite it’s communist past it has a strong and is politically stable. Present day Slovenia became independent of Yugoslavia in 1991. It is roughly the same size of new Jersey but has 2 million people as compared to New Jersey’s almost 9 million. Of those 2 million people just over half claim any sort of Christianity and of those 1 million just under 2,000 consider themselves Evangelical. That is less than .1% of the total population.
Please pray for:
- Quality Christian resources to be written in the Slovene language.
- The new, modern translation of the works of Primoz Trubar, the Slovene Protestant reformer who wrote the first books in Slovene (a language he helped to synthesize). He is highly regarded, although few have read his works. Pray that the Catechism and others of his books may lead many to a right understanding of God.
- Church planting to be received well and successful in their outreach.
You might remember this country as one half of the former Czechoslovakia. In 1993 Slovakia became independent from the Czech Republic. Within the past few years there has been an increase in evangelical Christians from .2% to 1.2%, but recently that growth has slowed down. As of right now there are more Jehovah’s Witnesses in Slovakia than evangelical Christians.
Please pray for:
- Quality of spiritual life
- Increased excitement within the evangelical church
- The Slovak Evangelical Alliance to be a strong force in discipleship, evangelism and church multiplication.
Serbia is a country of just under 8 million people. While 80% claim to be Christian only .6% are Evangelical. A majority of the people in Serbia equate religion with nationality so if you are Serbian, you are Orthodox. Among all of the main faith groups (Orthodoxy, Islam and Catholicism) only the Evangelical communities worship in multi-cultural communities. The Balkan Wars left a range of unresolved issues: the devastated economy, a fragile democracy, and poor relations with neighboring countries and treatment of minority groups (including in Kosovo).
Please pray for:
- the Evangelical communities to strengthen in numbers and be a catalyst for good.
- the Serbian youth to not fall prey to the evils of the world and to find a new reason to live in Jesus Christ.
- more missionaries to be led by God to Serbia.
Russia is the world’s largest country, extending across 9 time zones between the Baltic and the Pacific and lying in two different continents. With a population of over 140 million just under 94 million (67%) claim to be Christian while only just over 1.6 million are evangelical. After the fall of communism there was an influx of Christianity but within recent years it is becoming more difficult for missionaries to get into Russia, let alone stay for longer periods.
Please pray for:
- The Russian Christians to unite and reach their fellow Russians for Christ.
- Pray for sustainable, balanced growth that matches quality with quantity.
- Religious freedom to stay a reality.