|% Urban:||21 %|
|Population Under 15 Yrs:||29.6 %|
|Literacy Rate:||85 %|
|Life Expectancy:||68.4 yrs (172/236)|
|HDI Ranking:||142 / 189|
|% Christian:||2.9 %|
|% Evangelical:||2.8 %|
|% Largest Religion:||75 %|
|Least Reached People Groups:||275|
|% Unevangelized:||55 %|
A new chapter for Nepal began in 2008, when the absolute power of the Hindu monarchy finally ended after years of Maoist rebel fighting and then pro-democracy protests. This was an answer to the prayers of most Christians in Nepal! A new era of opportunities for Christian ministry has now changed into an era of deep concern for eroding religious freedom. Religious conversion and the “hurting of religious sentiment” have been criminalised. Although Nepal is a secular country, this harsh new law is meant to target Christian mission in particular and defend Nepal’s Hindu traditions. Pray for wisdom and courage for all who wish to be witnesses for Christ in Nepal.
The Church in Nepal continues to flourish amid pressure as a remarkable indigenous movement; the large majority of Nepali Christians worship and fellowship in thoroughly indigenous structures and networks. The Church is growing in numbers, diversity and maturity, but prayer is still needed regarding:
- The public image of Christianity in Nepal is as a foreign, mostly Western, intrusion that undermines traditional culture and society and appeals only to lower castes. Despite this, Nepal’s Christians are, with increasing confidence, defending their rights and building a fully Nepali, fully Christian identity. Pray for discernment, courage and faithfulness for those seeking to overturn two generations of negative opinion.
- Denominationalism. Many foreign-based denominations as well as indigenous networks of churches are established. Pray that the Church may be kept from division and error. Pray specifically for the Nepal Christian Society (NCS) as it seeks to provide a forum for prayer, sharing, unity and cooperative ministries.
- Persecution remains, and is intensifying. It can come from the religious majority but also socially from within families and communities. Pray for grace and perseverance for believers, and that Christians may be accepted and appreciated for their contribution to the country’s well being. Pray also for the efforts of NCS and others seeking to secure the legal and religious rights of Christians regarding arbitrary arrests, evangelism, property, discrimination and other maltreatments.
- Partnership between Nepali churches and foreign agencies. As the Nepali Church matures, it increasingly takes stake in ministry and mission to its own country. Foreign input, especially through finance, often generates tension or dependency and continues to be an issue. But the national Church is flourishing, and indigenous Christian NGOs are mushrooming around the country.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.