Area: 300,000 sq km
80 provinces; 7,250 islands, of which over 700 are inhabited, 11 of which contain the vast bulk of the population. The largest are Luzon (116,000 sq km) in the north and Mindanao (102,000 sq km) in the south. Over 75% mountains; prone to devastating typhoons.
Population: 93,616,853 Annual Growth: 1.83%
Official language: Filipino (based on Tagalog), English Languages: 181 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Spiritual vitality does not always equate to biblical truth. Philippines is awash with sects and cults that blend Christian ideas with all manner of false teachings. Some of these are schisms from Catholicism, some are independent groups that sprang from Protestant contexts, some are effectively neo-pagan religions with a Christian veneer. Most feature highly controlling and manipulative leadership and teachings. Pray for all lies to be exposed, and pray for effective Christian apologetics and ministry to the millions caught within these groups.
Many new challenges confront evangelicals, often in significant contrast to the typical Catholic hostility and poverty of earlier generations. Pray for the spiritual health of the Church and the right way to address:
a) The unabating fragmentation of churches. There are now over 2,000 registered religious denominations, not including the hundreds of unregistered cults and sects. Diversity itself is not a problem, since there are many strong umbrella networks for churches. Too often, the divisions reflect schisms, broken fellowship or unhealthy and authoritarian leadership patterns.
b) The lack of discipleship and solid biblical teaching for new believers and new congregations. Frequently, the results are lack of fellowship with other groups, erroneous beliefs, a syncretistic worldview and superficiality.
c) Spiritual complacency and second-generation nominalism. Growing in maturity and depth needs to take priority over mere numbers. The arrival of evangelicals as a force in the Philippines must not spawn apathy. Pray for new vision and for a new direction from God for setting biblical priorities and goals.
d) Poverty in many congregations, especially rural ones. Churches often take one of two extremes either unhealthy health-and-wealth teachings or equally destructive dependence on foreign funds and sponsorships. Pray that Filipinos in stronger financial positions might assist their less-well-off brethren. Pray that Christian organizations find and implement sustainable ways to empower and uplift the poor in churches. Pray also for loving sensitivity to this on the part of foreign workers and donors seeking to help.
For an additional 12 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 Philippines.