Area: 462,840 sq km
Eastern half of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world, and many smaller islands in the north and east together make up the nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG). A land of high mountains, dense forests, lowland swamps, coral islands, torrential rainfall, many rivers and great biodiversity.
Population: 6,888,387 Annual Growth: 2.40%
Capital: Port Moresby
Official language: English, Tok Pisin (Melanesian/English Creole) and Motu Languages: 830 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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There are many challenges facing the churches:
a) Effective discipling is the most urgent and prevalent need. Nominalism, syncretism and pollution of Christianity with spiritism and the occult are sadly widespread. Culturally appropriate ways of building biblical faith, character, lifestyle and worldview must be developed; pray for creative, insightful groups to achieve this.
b) Failure to engage with Scripture. Lack of Scripture translations and widespread functional illiteracy generate both spiritual stuntedness and vulnerability to nominalism or theological error. Pray for more Bible and discipleship material specifically developed for oral learners.
c) The Wantok (one talk) system is one of mutual sharing important in a society of subsistence hunting and farming. Yet the communal, trans-generational sense of obligation and mutuality can not only hinder economic progress but also restrain those who wish to press on in their Christian walk.
d) Continued divisiveness based on ethnicity. Strong tribal ties, ancient animosities and diversity of languages persist. These barriers hinder fellowship and the flow of spiritual blessing.
e) Denominational division is less now than in the past, but unity and cooperation are far from achieved. The PNG Council of Churches draws together mainline denominations; the Evangelical Alliance does the same for most Protestant and many independent groups. They see good progress at the leadership level. Pray for divisions to be broken down, particularly on the local congregational level.
f) Attempts to Islamize PNG are underway and will be an increasing challenge to the Church. Pray for adequate preparation and equipping that will enable Christians to wisely face such encroachment.
For an additional 10 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 Papua New Guinea.