Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka


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Area: 65,610 sq km

Large island 80 km southeast of India.

Population: 20,409,946    Annual Growth: 0.88%

Capital: Colombo

Urbanites: 15.1%

HDI Rank: 102 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)


Peoples: 76 (84% unreached) All peoples
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card

Official language: Sinhala and Tamil, with English as the link language    Languages: 7 All languages


Largest Religion: Buddhist

Religion               Pop %Ann Gr


Challenges for Prayer

Evangelism and church growth are priorities, but also present are many sober and serious challenges that need a major shift:

a) The fixation with rapid growth has led to prioritizing winning converts rather than making disciples, to attracting crowds with promises of miracles rather than with Christ-like character, to filling seats instead of meeting needs, to a lack of accountability and to unhealthy competitiveness.

b) The need for workers pushes undertrained and immature Christians into roles for which they are not prepared. It also allows unsuitable people to assume positions of ministry and church leadership on the false assumption that secular success equates to spiritual anointing.

c) The disunity and lack of a centralized strategy can create an environment where splinters, duplicated efforts, competition and unscrupulous sheep-stealing occur.

d) Dependence on outside funding in some ministries can lead to exaggerated reporting of converts, and it displaces accountability from national leadership to foreign backers. It also gives ammunition to accusations of both Western religious-cultural imperialism and, in the case of Tamil churches, harbouring and financing terrorism.

e) The failure to root Christian practice in authentic Sri Lankan forms hampers church growth, the process of discipleship and the acceptance of Christianity by society at large. Pray for inspired, thoughtful, biblical ways that Sri Lankan Christians can fellowship, worship and witness.

Christian presence in Sri Lanka is patchy and uneven, but this is changing rapidly. Most Christians are concentrated in the urban areas of Colombo and Jaffna and on the northwest coast. However, recent evangelism sees Christian witness extending into every administrative division of Sri Lanka. Many trained workers emigrate, and few are willing to work in the less-privileged areas. There are many new Christians from the Buddhist and Hindu communities. Pray for ministers who are willing to serve in the humble and challenging – but responsive and open – rural environments.

     For an additional 9 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.

More Information

The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Sri Lanka.