Area: 1,218,363 sq km
A republic with nine provinces at the southernmost point of Africa. Relatively well watered in the east; arid with increasing desertification toward the west coast.
Population: 50,492,408 Annual Growth: 0.99%
Capital: Cape Town (legislative). Pretoria (administrative). Bloemfontein (judicial)
Official language: – all the major ethnic languages. English and Afrikaans are the main languages in higher education Languages: 11 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Prayer initiatives started in South Africa have gone on to impact the entire world. The Global Day of Prayer started in Cape Town and is now observed in every country in the world by hundreds of millions of Christians. Groups such as Transformation Africa and Jericho Walls also have profound spiritual influences far beyond South Africa. The Mighty Men weekend conferences impacted the hundreds of thousands who attended with a muscular and uncompromised gospel message.
Christianity faces many challenges not least is the question of how a nation that is 75% Christian can be crippled by poverty, violence, crime, AIDS and racial strife. Yet, believers are at the forefront of addressing all of these issues in many ways. Pray for:
a) A prophetic voice for the Church in a society that no longer holds to moral absolutes, and where the post-Christian worldview has centre stage in the media and has pushed through legalization of abortion, gay marriage, pornography, prostitution and gambling. Groups such as The Evangelical Alliance, Christian Action and Christians for Truth mobilize believers to oppose legislation that contravenes biblical standards and to reinforce positive laws.
b) Transformational ministry. South Africa needs the Church to step even further into radical engagement with all the ills besetting society. The life-changing power of the gospel can bring about change that no government policy ever will, but Christians must make the sacrifices, take the risks and live out Christs love in the hard places. The temptation to withdraw to a safe, comfortable, but unengaged existence is ever-present.
c) Unfinished church planting. To effectively reach and then disciple the millions of unchurched (but usually nominally Christian) South Africans, an estimated 30,000 further congregations are needed.
d) Deep reconciliation. Since evangelicals were slow to denounce apartheid, divisions and unfinished business remain. A number of denominations have gone through painful periods in dealing with the past. The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa now offers a context for churches to work out healing and develop unity. More work is required for real trust, understanding and cooperation to fully develop across cultural barriers. Pray that the whole Church may put the sad conflicts of the past to rest and demonstrate the powerful reality of unity in Jesus.
e) Revival, particularly in mainline denominations. While there is much spiritual life, there also is much traditionalism, nominalism and churchianity in the Dutch Reformed family of churches, Anglicans, Methodists and others.
For an additional 10 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 South Africa.