Area: 1,285,216 sq km
Three main zones: dry coastal plain in the west where most of the cities and industry are located, high Andean plateau which is more agricultural, and Amazon jungle in the east.
Population: 29,496,120 Annual Growth: 1.17%
Official language: Spanish, Quechua. Spanish-speakers 80.3%. Most Amerindians areSpanish-speaking or bilingual; 16.5% of the total population speak Quechua Languages: 93 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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The Catholic Church faces a crisis following a large loss of membership to evangelicals, foreign sects, atheism and revived Andean paganism. Catholics who remain are polarized between the traditionalists and those who espouse liberation theology. The majority of clergy are foreign. Only 5% of Catholics are regular in church attendance; many are syncretistic Christo-pagans. Charismatic movements (such as the Christian Life Movement) have had widespread impact, but those touched often formed autonomous groups or joined evangelical churches. Pray for many to come to the light and liberty of the biblical gospel.
Recognition of evangelicals as a genuine religious presence and social force has accompanying expectations and challenges. Pray for:
a) Unity. Evangelicals have become a significant source of leadership, stability, social aid and hope since 1980. There are sharp divisions within and between some denominations, and with recent success has also come pride. Countless congregations are springing up with little or no wider accountability or fellowship. Pray for a national body that will ably bring together all the diverse groups of believers.
b) The deeper issue of discipleship. All the euphoria and self-congratulation at growth will be for naught if believers slide into nominalism, remain immature or are picked off by cults. Churches must make discipleship, accountability and quality teaching priorities; implementation will require both great commitment and resource availability.
c) The prophetic role of the church in society. Serious and widespread social ills should be actively opposed, especially as believers political and social influence grows. A poor record in this area and unwise political allegiances have compromised the reputation of evangelicals.
d) Ministry to the poor. Political and economic upheaval, climate change and urbanization add pressure to years of entrenched poverty. Many Christian ministries (WVI, Food for the Hungry, Compassion International, Agape Network, Tearfund) have contributed to programmes for both rural and urban slum areas.
For an additional 11 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 Peru.