Area: 543,965 sq km
The largest country in Western Europe.
Population: 62,636,580 Annual Growth: 0.53%
Official language: French. Regional languages in decline. French is the first language of 136 million people worldwide Languages: 62 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
|Religion||Pop %||Ann Gr|
The accelerating decline of religious faith since the 18th Century has seen Frances Catholic and mainline Protestant legacies plummet in recent years, even as atheism has grown. Hostility toward organized religion as well as the privatization of spirituality mean that regular attendance in any church is below 8%. Some surveys show that over 30% of French people are non-religious. Most French have a profound ignorance of, or indifference to, the gospel, many having never meaningfully encountered it. Yet, the relativism of postmodernity has generated acute emptiness and existential angst; as many have noted, this in turn has created a spiritual hunger that has grown rapidly in recent years. Pray that such hunger might overcome the suspicion toward religion. Pray that Christians would be prepared to patiently and relationally share Jesus with those who seek.
Protestants were accepted at the Reformation, and at one stage some estimate that up to 25% of the French population had embraced the new teaching. But persecution (from the mid-16th Century until the late 18th Century), humanism and nominalism (in the last 200 years) have reduced this to 1.9% in 2010. Protestantism though widely respected is spiritually compromised by liberal theology, universalism and the acceptance of contradictory doctrinal and ethical views. Protestants are more numerous in Alsace and the south, but nominalism and decline are common. Yet there are staunch evangelical believers in most Reformed and Lutheran congregations. Pray for restoration to the faith and commitment shown by their martyr forebears.
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 France.