The rise – or arrival from elsewhere - of radical jihadist Muslim groups has brought great turmoil to Burkina Faso. Both Christians and Muslims have been targeted and murdered by these Islamist groups. These attacks, combined with existing ethnic tensions, rebel groups, and political instability, led to not one but two military coups in 2022. Over 2 million people have been displaced and at least 10,000 killed. Burkina Faso is seen as a strategic key in the region. Violence here could easily spill over into the whole Sahel region. Pray for God to restrain those with wicked ambitions and intentions. Pray for wisdom and courage for the nation’s leaders, and for faith and fearless love for Christians in this land.
As a landlocked, resource-poor, underdeveloped country, Burkina Faso naturally struggles with poverty. There is little likelihood of immediate or rapid improvement of the situation, and both the economic reality and the poverty mentality that grip the land must be dealt with. Pray for:
- Aid, development, microfinance and microenterprise projects that will actually lift the people out of poverty rather than create further dependence. Pray against corruption in the government and the aid industry that siphons resources away from the people most in need of it; pray for creative solutions to this longstanding problem.
- The many Burkinabé who emigrate for work. An estimated three million Burkinabé worked in Côte d'Ivoire before violence broke out there in 2002. Large numbers fled back to Burkina Faso, but are now returning to Côte d'Ivoire. As many as 70% of these emigrés convert to Islam while away from home. Burkina churches are taking up the challenge by sending pastors and missionaries to reach these Burkinabé abroad, especially AoG, CMA and WEC, but more are needed.
- Rapid urbanization continues as subsistence agriculture and traditional rural life prove inadequate to support families or to keep young people occupied. Rural churches now set up branches in the capital to maintain contact with their students and educated members; this also strengthens the church in the home territory.
Christianity increased steadily across recent decades. Evangelicals grew from 10,000 in 1960 to as many as 2 million today, and continue to increase! The Church now faces a leadership crisis, as many new believers need discipleship. Pray for the Bible schools. Pray for godly wives for the pastors and evangelists who struggle to find a helpmate. Present and future Bible translators need prayer to complete their enormous task (28 active translation projects, with 12 more needed).
Pray for the unreached. Despite church growth, increased evangelism and mission and continued responsiveness, 27 unreached peoples remain without an effective witness; 17 of these are Muslim. Most unevangelized lie within the area of witness of several existing mission projects. Churches and missions working in areas with unreached people often tend to favour more responsive or closely related peoples. Pray for the recruitment and deployment of pioneer workers from Africa and the world to evangelize the unreached. Specific challenges include:
- Muslims, who are stronger in the north but continue to grow in nearly every ethnic group. Only a fraction of the missionary force in Burkina is specifically committed to ministering among Muslims.
- Unreached non-Muslim peoples. Most of these groups are being steadily Islamized, and time is running out before they are inoculated against the gospel by Muslims. They include the Dogose, the Senufo and sub-groups such as the Karaboro (CMA, Mennonites) and the numerous groups related to the Lobi (WEC). They are concentrated in the west and southwest.
Missionaries working in Burkina Faso have a vital role in this land with so many physical and spiritual needs. The work is hard and victories long in coming. But receptivity is high, and missionaries are welcome. Major missions working in the country are WBT, SIM, CMA, Mennonites, AoG, IMB, Apostolic Church, WEC, Lutherans, CAPRO and Deeper Life. Pray for their protection and encouragement. Missionary reinforcements are needed in a wide range of ministries.
VIMAB (the Burkinabé; AoG) is becoming a success story of indigenous missions. More than 150 couples serve as missionaries in home and foreign missions. Despite the fact that 25% of VIMAB churches are involved in missions support, most of these missionaries will face hardship and poverty on the field. Thus far, most of their work is among the more evangelized Mossi. Pray that these dynamic churches might truly catch a vision to reach the unreached peoples among them and in neighbouring nations. Pray for their growth as a mission-sending body, and pray for the sacrificial ministry of both the missionaries and their supporters.
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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.