Area: 9,529,063 sq km
The world’s third largest nation in area and population.
Population: 317,641,087 Annual Growth: 0.97%
Capital: Washington DC
Official language: English. The growing Spanish-speaking Hispanic population is 11.2% of the population and numbers 34 million Languages: 176 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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The nationwide impact of parachurch movements.
Countless ministries combat the evils of society and minister to those broken by these evils - drug abuse, promiscuity and pornography, crime, abortion and abuse. Christian opposition to these ills is often unfairly caricatured in the media, twisting the image of both Christianity and of the USA. But believers are at the forefront of the battle against poverty and structures of sin. Pray for the multiplicity of networks and bodies that have sprung up, that they may be effective in both loving those who are hurting and opposing structures of sin.
Movements that impact the wider world, including the work of Billy Graham, probably the evangelical of the 20th Century, who preached to live audiences totalling over 200 million. Graham's great support for conferences promoting world evangelization helped spark such strategic movements as the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in 1974. The AD2000 and Beyond movement also saw unprecedented attention and commitment to church planting and evangelism among the unreached. In the 21st Century, a multiplicity of movements and initiatives from the USA have had a wonderful impact on the global Church and the wider mission movement.
Renewal among Catholics - around one-fourth of US Catholics are charismatic, a figure that rises to 50% for Hispanic US Catholics. Catholics are an influential force in America, but they face a rapidly changing religious context within US Catholicism and without.
The American Church needs revival not the slick mass evangelism and theatrics associated with the word, but true revival with conviction of sin, repentance and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. More often than not, the public face of Christianity turns people away from Jesus rather than drawing them to Him. The gospel is often little more than a self-help philosophy. Thank God for the pockets where revival is happening; pray that it may spread. These are some of the prayer challenges for the 21st Century Church:
a) Notional Christianity illustrates a failure of discipleship. If all of the USs self-proclaimed believers were to actually practice their faith, the transformation in society would be incredible. Instead, a pick-and-choose spirituality and inconsistent application of Jesus teachings yield a disconnect between how Christians live and what the Bible instructs.
b) Syncretism is as common in America as anywhere. In the USs version, biblical Christianity is mixed with hyper-individualism, consumeristic materialism, moral relativism and national pride, creating a dangerous strain of faith that justifies selfishness, immorality and hubris. Pray for the ability to distinguish between what is scriptural and what is cultural.
c) The need for biblical holiness in a time when Christians display little difference from non-Christians in values and lifestyle this applies to divorce, sexual morality and attitudes toward finance. Image supersedes character in appraising giftedness. The succession of high-profile failures of Christian leaders in the Church and in politics undermines the gospel. Spiritual outpourings in Florida have blessed millions, but left just as many hurt, confused and disillusioned due to lack of holiness and discernment by Christian leaders. Pray that Christians may recapture the sense of being set apart, and then repent of carnality and change their ways of thinking and living.
d) Spiritual unity. The Church in the USA is conditioned to accept divisions and schisms. Churches split and split again on issues both weighty and petty. Homosexuality, gender roles, universalism, Bible versions, spiritual gifts, eschatology, prosperity theology, creation/evolution and countless other issues serve to divide believers while issues of world evangelization are sidelined. Pray for an earnest seeking after Gods priorities, and pray that, through love and grace, a sensitive and balanced handling of difficult areas might be found.
e) Church life, worship and leadership demand, in many instances, a revolutionary shift toward organic expressions of fellowship and away from showy spirituality. Pastors are often required to function as CEOs more than as shepherds. Worship and preaching can become performances rather than fellowship. Many disillusioned Christians opt for emerging church expressions or for house church movements or they simply practice their faith alone. Pray for the development of both the laity and the ordained such that those so gifted might serve Gods people effectively; pray that church culture might become a pathway rather than an obstacle to seeing the body of Christ built up to full maturity.
f) Leadership training possibilities abound. The variety and number of theological training possibilities defies full analysis! In the USA and Canada, there are over 2,000 recognized institutions that award theological degrees. These institutions graduate 30,000-50,000 students each year, most of whom desire to impact the nation or the world with a Christ-centric worldview. The Association for Bible Higher Education includes 200 accredited evangelical colleges; the Association of Theological Schools, 250. Pray that training would shape biblically-minded leaders who include the Great Commission and prayer as core elements of their ministry. Pray also for flexibility and innovation in leadership training, fitted for the times in which we live.
For an additional 14 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 United States of America.