Area: 603,700 sq km
A flat, fertile, forested plain with few natural boundaries.
Population: 45,433,415 Annual Growth: -0.65%
Capital: Kyiv (Kiev)
Official language: Ukrainian, but Russian widely spoken Languages: 42 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
|Religion||Pop %||Ann Gr|
Ukraine has a strong Christian legacy, and evangelicals emerged stronger and more numerous from 130 years of sustained persecution in which millions of Christians were killed. Freedom of religion is vastly improved but not yet enshrined in both law and practice. Pray for the Church to engage this new context with boldness. There are several challenges:
a) Reconciliation and unity. Ukrainian religious life is marred by strife among and inside all major groups. Competing schisms within Orthodoxy in particular, but also factions within Catholicism and Protestantism, blunt the effectiveness of religious faith. The Communist era is over, but scars of intimidation and betrayal need further healing all three major confessions were split between collaborators and resisters. Pray for right responses to those who yielded to pressure, those who stood firm but often remain inflexible today, and those who emerged on the scene post-independence. Often divisions are the result of personal pride, unforgiveness and financial disputes rather than theological differences alone.
b) The emergence of the newer churches is a great blessing, though it has upset the balance of the religious establishment. Dynamism, Western style and African leadership have ruffled some feathers amongst more traditional groups. Pray for sensitivity and gracious attitudes for all, and for ways to maximize both the spiritual fervour of newer groups and the remarkable spiritual heritage of more traditional ones.
c) Growth is somewhat limited by current needs for training, infrastructure, adequate facilities and active input from lay Christians. Opportunities for holistic and compassionate ministries abound, and to miss this open door would be a shame. Pray for a mentality of abundance and generosity that provides for the material needs of church growth without too much recourse to foreign funds, which can bring their own complications.
Leadership training is probably the primary church need in Ukraine. Twenty years of sustained growth created thousands of new congregations requiring leadership formation. There are dozens of seminaries, Bible schools and institutes, the capacities of which must grow to meet current and future demands. Western agencies contribute helpfully in this area, including SGA, GEM, Calvary Chapel Mission, Baptist and Pentecostal groups and others. Pray for them to serve professionally and humbly. Ask for Gods provision for good academic resources and textbooks, for building projects and also funding for student scholarships.
For an additional 7 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 Ukraine.