Austria is a country of beautiful culture, music, art, and scenery, but it mostly feels spiritually empty. Many believe in God (84%, which is high for Europe), but few know Jesus personally. Large numbers leave the Catholic Church every year, despite the longstanding Catholic culture. Sex scandals among the clergy and the church tax (1% of taxable income) both contribute to this. People do not tend to seek God outside the Catholic Church. Let us pray fervently for open hearts to discover Jesus in new places, and for the further growth of the renewal movement within the Catholic Church.
Pastors for the multiplying congregations are a great need. Locating leaders, training them capably, then supporting them adequately is a challenge. BAO (Bible Training on Location), a decentralized programme of non-formal courses based in Vienna, has over 500 students receiving training and is seeking to expand further in Austria. The Evangelical Academy (EVAK) operates a Bible college in three locations. Pray for these as well as the Evangelical Education for Austria and other training programmes. Pray for God to raise up men and women with passion for the Kingdom, for holiness and for people to be won.
Foreign migrants and refugees have flooded into Austria since WWII - fleeing Communism up until 1990, then the Balkan strife, and now increasingly hailing from Asia. Pray that Austrian believers may demonstrate compassion to these strangers in their midst as the Bible commands. The gospel is being shared through Bible Society material and ministries such as Oasis Christian Centre. Pray for fruitfulness.
Young people are more open to the gospel than the previous generation, but churches are poorly equipped for effective youth ministry. Pray for the necessary training for the churches and for a spiritual harvest amongst the youth.
- Witness among the 390,000 students is one of the most fruitful in the land today. The majority are in Vienna, which also hosts many thousands of international students. Most of the 22 universities have active ministry in them. Pray for the ministries of ÖSM(IFES), Cru and Navigators on the campuses of Austria. Both CEF and SU have ministries focusing on school-age children.
- Growing prayer movements among teenagers led to the formation of an Austrian Prayer Congress (APC) of over 1,000 meeting biannually. SU started a prayer movement within schools equipping and encouraging students to pray for peers and teachers. Pray for these efforts and others such as JAM among older youth in Vienna, and ABÖJ among younger youth country-wide.
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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.