Area: 70,285 sq km
Comprises 80% of the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland is a constituent part of the United Kingdom.
Population: 4,589,002 Annual Growth: 1.85%
Official language: Irish, English. Irish spoken as a first language by less than 4% of the population; 40% of the Irish population can speak Irish Languages: 5 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Immigration sees a new Ireland emerge, complete with radical change in ethnic, cultural and spiritual spheres. The pastoral Celtic image of days past has given way to a context where 90% of population growth is from immigration, and where foreign religions and denominations thrive. Ireland willingly adopts these new arrivals, who in turn bring cultural diversity and spiritual passion. Pray for those who do not know Christ or who come from other religious backgrounds, that Ireland may be the land where they meet the Saviour.
Evangelicals are experiencing sustained growth, especially among charismatic and Pentecostal groups. The immigration surge contributes to this, with around one-third of evangelicals coming from non-Irish ethnicities. Pray for:
a) Unity amid the new diversity. The recently formed Evangelical Alliance in Ireland will be a major help in this area, drawing believers together from across denominational (and racial) lines. Anglicans (Church of Ireland), traditional Protestants and newer immigrant or multi-ethnic Independent and/or charismatic fellowships can all benefit from shared vision and cooperation.
b) Continued growth. Ireland still has the lowest percentage of evangelicals of any English-speaking nation, but they have shifted from a huddled and marginalized minority to a confident and dynamic movement. Some Christian leaders speak of a 20/20 vision, wherein 20% of Irelands population has a personal relationship with Christ by the year 2020.
c) Good Bible-trained leadership to be raised up. The Irish Bible Institute launched in 2000 as a merger of two Bible colleges and subsequently merged with the Global University-based ministry of the AoG.
d) The further development of holistic ministry by evangelicals. This already includes helping the unemployed find work, assisting those suffering with AIDS and reaching out to the urban poor, especially children. Urban Soul and Serve the City focus on blessing neighbours through community service and acts of kindness. Pray that evangelicals might be salt and light in their communities and demonstrate the whole gospel by word and by deed.
For an additional 8 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Ireland.