August 20 - Pray for: Malawi

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Malawi faces serious challenges in the future, such as the combination of poverty, high population growth and increasing pressure on agricultural land. High levels of national debt, AIDS and unemployment, when added to the aforementioned economic factors, produce challenges that will require wisdom, long-term planning and proactive policies by the government. The grip of poverty hampers development not only in the financial sense but also in terms of education, AIDS prevention, family life and even effective ministry and discipleship. Pray for leaders in Malawi, most of whom are church members, to act with wisdom, humility and long-term planning on biblical principles.


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Malawi remains a stable and peaceful land in a region troubled by wars and violence. The people have a peaceful and rural nature, the democracy is healthy, and the president speaks out against corruption. Praise God for the peace that allows Christian ministry and national development to continue. The country still faces complex challenges of poverty combined with high population growth, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, and migration of many people into and through Malawi. Most leaders in Malawi are church members. Pray God would help them act with wisdom, humility, and long-term plans based on biblical principles. Pray that churches might be better equipped to face HIV/AIDS with helpful ministries.

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The increasing activity of Islam is a significant issue in Malawi. Over 80% of the Yao are Muslim, and make up the largest block of Muslims in Malawi. The Qu'ran has been translated into Chichewa. A Quranic movement (Sukuti) is trying to replace the prevalent Qaddiriya folk Islam with a more scriptural version of the faith. Malawi has a great influx of funds via the Africa Muslim Agency. These extend Islam's influence through primary education, scholarships for tertiary students to go to Muslim nations, aid distribution, drilling wells, medical aid, mosque building and many other means. Although the impact of these has thus far been quite limited, pray for awareness and training for the equipping of Christians to meet this challenge. Pray also for a persistent, loving witness to Muslims throughout Malawi.

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The CCAP (Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian) is the largest Protestant denomination and the direct fruit of the vision of 19th Century explorer David Livingstone. It is a union of the churches planted by the South African Dutch Reformed Church, the Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland. Pray for revival as nominalism and the influence of African traditional religion are commonplace, yet there are also many strong evangelical leaders and congregations. Pray for unity within this diverse denomination, and for many to come to genuine faith within the framework of the CCAP.

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Student ministries flourish (Life Ministries/Cru, SCOM/IFES, SU, Chi Alpha), with over 500 SCOM student groups, involving 30,000 young people. Cru moves beyond the campus to partner with churches in discipleship and evangelism training. Students are spiritually open, but not just to the gospel. Pray for a lasting impact from student ministries - that lifelong disciples be formed and the entire nation transformed.

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The least evangelized. Pray that both Malawian and expatriate workers may effectively share the love of Christ with:

  • The Yawo, mostly Muslim, remain the biggest missional challenge in Malawi. Currently, outreach attempts are made by a partnership of evangelical missions - SIM, Brethren in Christ, AoG, Frontiers, Australian and South African Baptists, FEBA, CAPRO, Deeper Life and others - but few have come to Christ. Bible translation, audio resources and radio broadcasts are all being developed, and a Yawo church is coming to life!
  • The various tribes that still practice traditional ethnic religion. All of these have some Christians among them, but usually a smaller minority. They include the Southern Nyanja (11.6% of the population), the Kokola (1.7%), Nyungwe (0.1%) and a few smaller groups.
  • The Asian peoples, including Gujaratis, Kachis and Tamils. Only sporadic attempts are made to evangelize these predominantly Hindu and Muslim peoples.
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Media ministries:

  • The Bible Society. There are great demands for Scripture for local use and for the refugee community - but limited funds to meet them. Many rural Christians have no Bibles. The Bible in audio format is a fast developing ministry; Scriptures and/or teaching already exist in 26 languages (Bible Society, GRN, TWR).
  • Literature is much sought after, but expensive. Pray for an adequate supply of quality reading material for the literate, growing, but poor Church. The bulk of available literature includes secondhand Christian books in English and some locally published material.
  • Christian radio. The national broadcasting network regularly airs Christian programmes. Local channel All Nations Radio covers half of the districts in the country. TWR now broadcasts 24/7 from Lilongwe along with six other private local Christian stations, including the African Bible College and FEBA.

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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.