Mar 25: Cambodia

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Kingdom of Cambodia


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Area: 181,035 sq km

Fertile, forest-covered state of southwest Indo-China on the Mekong River.

Population: 15,053,112    Annual Growth: 1.66%

Capital: Phnom Penh

Urbanites: 22.8%

HDI Rank: 137 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)


Peoples: 42 (71% unreached) All peoples
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card

Official language: Khmer    Languages: 25 All languages


Largest Religion: Buddhist

Religion               Pop %Ann Gr


Challenges for Prayer

The scars of the terrible genocide of 1975-79 remain evident. Nearly two million were killed, over 60,000 lost life or limb to landmines and most of the population over age 30 need deep healing from the trauma of their losses and suffering. Pray for:

a) Justice to be seen to be done regarding those who perpetrated the crimes. International tribunals face difficulty in bringing the Cambodian government/judiciary on board with the justice process, and the culture of corruption and impunity still holds sway. The beginning of Khmer Rouge trials should assist in this process.

b) Healing for the deep psychological wounds. Many cope with the trauma through detachment and suppression of trauma, some by inflicting pain on others. Pray that counselling and the Holy Spirit might bring true restoration.

c) A government that seeks the good of all, and is worthy of the trust of the people. Violence, manipulation, graft and selfishness hitherto have been the rule. The situation is so ingrained and endemic on every level that it must be torn out by the roots.

Spiritual darkness persists in Cambodia and must be lifted by prayer. That darkness is seen in the ubiquitous spirit shrines, Buddhism’s opposition to any ideological rival and a general moral collapse. Structures of sin are prevalent throughout, and the people of Cambodia are made to suffer by the enemy of souls. Pray for the light of the gospel to so shine that the structures of society as well as of individuals may be decisively changed. Beyond the gripping poverty are the following:

a) Land grabbing. Unscrupulous officials (who pocket the income) have sold huge swathes of Cambodia’s land to rapacious foreign developers and speculators, with locals driven out and evicted from their homes to make way for hotels and resorts. Cambodia is being sold/stolen from under the feet of its own people.

b) Children at risk. The genocide of the 1970s and 1980s created a very young nation where 60% of the population are 24 years old or younger. But many of this generation are sadly exploited by others. Pray for deliverance and salvation for these:

     i Child labourers. Poverty forces over 1.5 million children under age 15 to work to survive and supplement their family’s meagre income, often at the price of their education, their health or even their lives.

     ii Sex trade victims number up to 100,000. A recent study estimated 20% of tourists to Cambodia made use of the sex trade, often with the young or underage. Yet even this is a small amount compared to the widespread use of prostitutes by Cambodian men. That factor combined with others, gives the nation one of the highest rates of HIV in Asia. Many poor parents sell their own children to traffickers for as little as $10. The Vietnamese ethnic minority is especially targeted by traffickers, being both light-skinned and detested by most Khmer. The much-publicized rescues of these girls, as young as age six, are only the beginning of a long process of healing and equipping for a life after the sex trade.

     iii Homeless children and orphans. Family structures shattered by the Khmer Rouge and subsequent poverty caused high numbers of street kids and unwanted children. Many Christian ministries see a high response to Jesus’ love among these precious souls. At one point, orphanages were booming, but as the population stabilizes, drop-in centres and increased ministry to extended families are becoming more appropriate.

c) Drug trafficking and abuse have increased greatly in the last 15 years. Addictive drugs hold sway over many locals, while crime lords profit from the suffering.

     For an additional 6 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 Cambodia.