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

Special ministry challenges:

a) The Lanka Tamil community, once relatively prosperous but now undone and scattered by the violence perpetrated by the LTTE and the Sri Lankan military. The diaspora is over 700,000 strong; pray for the many churches among them to be forces for the evangelization of Sri Lanka, rather than agitators pushing for an independent Tamil state.

b) The Estate Tamils have long been a despised, poverty-stricken and marginalized community, but growing numbers are turning to Christ. A significant amount of outreach is directed toward them by the Free Churches Fellowship, AoG and the Smyrna Church.

c) Young people. Ministry to young people in Sri Lanka is a growing area, but still needs more attention. Many congregations have no resources for ministry to youth and children. Pray for:

     i The groundbreaking and holistic ministries among urban youth of YFC and CCCI.

     ii The work of FOCUS(IFES) among students in half of the country’s universities. CCCI has an effective evangelistic ministry among students.

d) The villages still present a challenge. There remain 25,000 villages without a church. Many are devoid of any witness. The ravaged villages of the north and east are particularly needy. Ministries are recognizing the need for specialized training and strategy for rural ministry.

e) Compassionate ministry to victims of the tsunami’s destruction, the civil war and general poverty. There must be a clear separation of physical assistance and gospel outreach in a society highly sensitized to issues of proselytism, Western money and buying converts. Many local ministries operate aid programmes independently of their outreach work; pray for wisdom for and response to both.

Unreached peoples of Sri Lanka:

a) The Moors are generally traders, bureaucrats and farmers. Until recently there were few converts out of Islam, but now a few hundred are responding to the sensitive witness of Christians.

b) The Malays are syncretistic Muslims and are potentially more open. Pray for a specific ministry to them.

c) The self-named “Kaffirs” are descendents of African slaves brought by the Portuguese to work on plantations; they adhere variously to all of Sri Lanka’s religions.

d) Other unreached social groups – the educated Buddhists, the coastal-belt fishing communities and the Tamil and Sinhala militants, who continue to polarize the country.

e) Tribal groups – the Rodhiya (7,000), Ahikuntikas (Gypsies, 2,000) and Sri Lanka’s original inhabitants, the Veddah (2,000). Kithu Sevana Ministries has a work among the Rodhiya.

     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.