May 7 - Pray for: Czechia

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Over 70% of the population consider themselves non-religious, although many use horoscopes and mix together different spiritual ideas. The successful transition to a market economy was a positive change for the country, but it put economic stress on the most vulnerable people. Crime, sexual immorality, substance abuse, depression, and suicide all have notably higher rates today than they did during Communist times. Ask God to lift the spiritual heaviness from over Czechia. Social changes create new opportunities for ministry. The ageing population and new immigrants (especially Russian speakers, East and Southeast Asians) need loving outreach.


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The Catholic Church is in what could almost be described as freefall. Despite outnumbering all other confessions nearly 6 to 1, its influence is waning quickly. The openness of the 1990s was a window of opportunity that was passed up. Instead of offering a living faith, traditionalism ("religion for grannies") and a failure to act decisively relegated Catholicism to a minor role in society - a strong contrast to neighbouring Slovakia and Poland. Increasing adaptation and renewal movements may not be enough to save Catholicism from declining further, since both laity and priesthood are generally quite old.

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Czech Protestants must both reclaim their heritage and demonstrate new life. Since the defeat of the Bohemians by Catholic forces in 1620, Protestants have suffered in one way or another. There is now freedom but also spiritual decline; the remarkable legacy of both John Hus and then the Moravians is under threat (and has been so for some time). Pray for evangelicals - the traditional but shrinking Protestant denominations and the smaller, younger groups such as Baptists, Pentecostals and others. Determined, deliberate and loving outreach and evangelism are necessities, as is the prayer that must precede them.

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New expressions of Christian faith. Czech antipathy toward institutions weighs heavily against established denominations, but the grassroots church-planting movement (spearheaded by the Czech EA) is seeing much greater openness to alternate forms of Christian fellowship. Small congregations, house churches and cell groups all fare better than top-heavy structures. The growth of charismatic elements in many denominations coincides with this, since a more experiential faith appeals to many Czechs. An effective approach appears to be consistently applying principles of discipleship in a more organic context rather than maintaining more Western-style structures oriented toward large events.

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There are new ministry challenges in Czechia. With many younger people leaving to work in other lands and a low birthrate, the population is increasingly aged. This requires new and specific approaches to ministry. Likewise, increasing numbers of immigrants are coming into the country - especially Russian speakers and East and Southeast Asians. These groups also need loving and focused outreach tailored to their needs and communities.

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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.