This is the second post in a collection of posts which are simply notes of my recent prayers in the morning as I have been praying for specific countries. If you’d like to read more about this, read my first introductory post to the series here. I write this mainly for my own records, but also so that others may join as we lift up these countries—because prayer really changes things, even if we don't see how.
This post will finish the countries of Africa. I covered countries starting with A through M in my first post, and will cover countries starting with letters N through Z in this one. As you read/skim the following information, I encourage you to lift them up to the sovereign ruler Jesus. It may seem like a lot, or overwhelming, or pointless, but for those of us in Christ, prayer is always heard and it amazingly moves God’s hand. So, join me, as we feebly and yet forcefully pray for Africa.
For each country, the whole population and then evangelical population and percentage is listed. Each name is a link to the Operation World site for the country, in case you want more information. For the most information, however, you can buy the Operation World book, or the abridged Pray for the World, which is where I am getting this information.
Prayer for Africa (countries N-Z)
2.2 mil. people | 270,000 evangelicals | 12% evangelical
Suffers scars from colonial past, from the legacy of apartheid, and from terrorism from independence. Pray for victims and perpetrators to find hope in Christ
Pray for the biblical faith to return to Namibia's many churches
15.9 mil. | 22,000 ev. | .14% ev.
There are Christian groups, but they're like a small trickle. Pressure from Islam prevents many, and many return to Islam.
One of the world's most underdeveloped countries.
Christians in the past have served with much love here—with aid, education, development, etc.—but need more laborers.
158.3 mil | 48.8 mil. ev. | 31% ev.
Deep divide between north and sound, and among the 37 different states.
Pray that corruption will be removed from its root
Their greatest challenge actually is discipleship. False teaching, prosperity teaching, mixing of African tribal religions. They need a balanced approach to spiritual warfare, healings, and miracles.
Persecution of Christians continues to increase, especially in North in Muslim areas with militant Muslims.
10.3 mil. | 2.8 mil. ev. | 27% ev.
Made great progress after genocide in 1994. Then, 800,000 people killed in 100 days and a million fled. Recovery is still difficult
They need more spiritual leaders since so many fled.
The pastors who stayed need prayer to help with all the damage done.
Orphans from genocide, war, AIDS may number up to 900,000. That's 1/3 of all the children there. Pray for the church to help.
12.9 mil. | 26,000 ev. | .20% ev.
Even after much Christian presence and outreach, a spiritual heaviness covers the land.
Muslims know Christians simply as "those who drink," not as "those who follow Christ."
5.8 mil. | 229,000 ev. | 4% ev.
Has ranked as the world's poorest country for most of the last 10 years
Highest infant mortality rate and mother mortality rate.
Widespread disease (malaria, HIV)
Life expectancy around 47 years.
Needs more pastors/leaders involved in holistic ministry.
Needs Bible translation
9.4 mil. | 4,300 ev. | .05% ev.
Dangerous environment and strict Islam prevent most aid
Somali women: most suffer genital mutilation. Many are raped and then disowned and abandoned.
Traffickers smuggle many children out of Somalia.
High infant mortality rate
Somali church went underground in 1991. Maybe 4,000 evangelics. Many die as martyrs. Most are men. Pray for families to come to know Christ.
Negative views of Christianity. When they think of Christianity, they think of the Western moral decline.
95% of people have strong ties with clan structure, and so they have much difficulty with the Western church structure.
Somali Bible is distributed in USA and Kenya, but can't be sold in Somalia itself
50.5 mil. | 10.6 mil. ev. | 21% ev.
Biblical Christianity is strong in South Africa. Many Christian agencies minister much aid to rape victims, victims of crime, AIDS victims, prisoners, etc.
Effects of apartheid still strain the nation. Pray for reconciliation for all races
Over 60% of people are urban dwellers—shantytowns, squatter camps, slums, townships. Conditions are poor or terrible. Most are unemployed.
12.2 mil. | 3.6 mil. ev. | 30% ev.
Civil wars broke out. Newest country in the world since 2011.
Civil war between north and south lasted 21 years. Around 1.5-2 million killed, most from the south.
One of the world's poorest nations: 27% can read and write; 2% only have access to clean water; 33% suffer from chronic hunger.
Christianity grew rapidly over the last 20 years through the chaos and war
35.7 mil. | 1.9 mil. ev. | 5% ev.
Tention remains between north and south
Although the conflicts were terrible, it made Christians more mature
Out of 114 languages, only 10 have the Bible
Mostly Muslim and Arab, while South Sudan is mostly black and Christian.
1.2 mil. | 302,000 ev. | 25% ev.
HIV/AIDS devastates the population and the economy: 26-40% of adults are HIV Positive
Life expectancy is as low as age 32.
Evangelism isn't helpful unless AIDS is addressed
Genuine Christian love could win many to the Lord
Too many Christians live the same as non-Christians
45 mil. | 8 mil. ev. | 18% ev.
Remains "island of peace" amidst troubled nations
Witchcraft mixes with both Islam and Christianity. Spiritual superstitions have great cost, often lead to sexual abuse or even death of victims of the practices.
Need more leadership and theological training. Many pastors care for 10 congregations, often miles apart.
6.8 mil. | 723,000 ev. | 11% ev.
Political and economic situation remains unstable. Military coop and unfair election occurred, created fraction between south and north peoples.
Poverty makes orphans and unwanted children (300,000+) vulnerable to human trafficking and makes prostitution common.
Strong powers of darkness are at work in Togo. Most still do animistic/voodoo rituals, and many Christians join in.
10.4 mil. | 1,200 ev. | .011% ev.
Many have grown more devoted to the Islamic faith
Most Christians there today aren't from Tunisia. There's about 500 indigenous believers.
A century of missionary work produced little fruit—but keep praying!
33.8 mil. | 12.5 mil. ev. | 37% ev.
Strong evangelical presence. Some consider it one of the most truly Christian nations in the world. Prayer is common even in government and judicial buildings, and many attend church.
Government and churches worked together to bring AIDS rate from 25% in 1992 to 10% in 2001.
Prosperity gospel leads many astray.
Street children of Kampala need prayer. There's 2 million AIDS orphans.
In some areas, pagan shrines double the number of church buildings.
13.3 mil. | 3.9 mil. ev. | 29% ev.
Evangelicals grew from 3.8% in 1960 to 25.7& in 2010.
As many as 1/2 children are malnourished.
75% of Zambian houses care for relatives orphaned by AIDS.
12.6 mil. | 3.9 mil. ev. | 31% ev.
An economic disaster. Government land reform program was a big failure. Up to 90% were unemployed in the past. Many schools and hospitals closed
Praise God the church grew through the trials.
(The Pray for the World book grouped many of the smaller African island countries together. The larger work Operation World provides more details on each smaller country.)
Isolation on these islands makes discipleship and training difficult as it is costly
Indigenous people of Mayotte are 99.9% Muslim. Magic and spirit-possession dominate their Islam. Pray for spiritual breakthrough.
Things that Stuck Out to Me
As I was praying through these countries, and then also tying it all out, here are some things that stuck out to me:
Sierra Leone's poverty. I had no idea that this was the poorest nation in the world, and it has been for the last 10 years. Moreover, they have the highest infant and mother mortality rate. This opened my eyes to see how blind I am to the world's needs and what's going on in it. I pray Jesus grants the church to grow and help this country.
Somalia, their Bible, and the church structure. Somalia has so few Christians, it is weep- and prayer-worthy. But I was surprised by two things there: 1) there is a Somali Bible, but it isn't distributed in Somalia because it can't be. It is only sold in Kenya and USA. 2) Somalians have a trouble with Western church structure because they are so used to clans. This is an interesting things to consider concerning contextualization.
Tragedy and hope in South Sudan. South Sudan was interesting to me. They went through terrible tragedy in the past years with the war. Up to 2 million people were killed in it. That's a ton of people. Moreover, even after gaining independence, South Sudan remains one of poorest nations, with only 27% literate, and a shocking only 2% have access to clean water—only 2%! That's prayer provoking. And yet, the lining of hope and praise is that in the midst of all this the church grew rapidly. Praise God. He doesn't need prosperity to work. In fact, often evidently the church grows stronger in the trials. (The same is true for other African countries, such as in Zimbabwe, where there was economic disaster and yet Christian growth.)
AIDS epidemic, especially in Swaziland. HIV/AIDS occurs all throughout the prayers for these countries, but I was surprised that it was most evident in Swaziland. Up to 40% of adults are HIV/AIDS positive! That's unreal. And as the book understandably states, evangelism apparently doesn't have much effect unless the evangelists deal with the AIDS epidemic.
10 churches for 1 pastor in Tanzania. Much could be said about Tanzania, but I was shocked and sobered by the fact that many pastors shepherd up to 10 congregations in Tanzania, even miles apart. These unknown brothers are truly pouring themselves out like a drink offering for the sake of the kingdom. They are the unknown heroes. It is sobering.
Tunisia and the tiny number of evangelicals. I was shocked by this much like I was shocked by the tiny number in Morocco. It is so tragic. There's maybe 500 indigenous evangelicals out of 10 million people.
ganda possibly the most Christian nation in the world. See above for the details, but I was surprised to hear about how the country has become so Christian, even evangelical, and how the government and churches work together for good.
So, Will You Pray?
As I said at the end of my last post of the African counties A-M, much more could and should be said. I encourage anyone to get the Pray for the World book and read it and pray. I will be doing it more and more.
But we can talk and read all day about prayer, and yet not pray. So, will you pray? Will you join me and the Christian church all over the world as we pray for God's world and especially God's church? I post this for my own records, but if fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would pray too, I know Jesus would hear and act upon their prayers too. There's power in prayer because the God we're speaking too is the all-powerful One.
I personally acknowledge my insufficiency, the small amount I know, the tininess of myself and my prayers—but I also acknowledge my massive Lord who created and loves the hundreds of millions of people represented above. And amazingly, in the book in which he speaks, he makes it clear that speaking to him on behalf of others actually does things. So, none of this is ever in vain.
May many African people enter into the kingdom; may my African brothers and sisters continue in faithful living, witness, and love; may the missionaries there show forth the compelling glory of Christ; and may the Lamb receive the reward of his suffering from these nations.