Praise God for the stability, progress, and freedom that allows believers to preach the good news! Many Poles dreamed of new wealth after independence from Communist rule. Sadly, unemployment and poverty still affect many, especially in rural areas. Even those who found riches did not find true satisfaction. Young people have more material possessions, but now struggle with violence, immorality, and meaninglessness in society. Pray the people might search first for God, above all other pursuits.
The Catholic Church was long the guardian of Polish culture and nationalism in the face of Russian imperialism and Soviet communism. It performed this role admirably, to the point where it is difficult to separate Catholic identity from Polish statehood. Poland is one of the most religious states in Europe.
- Renewal in the Catholic Church has a significant legacy, both among leaders and laity. Poland is rare in that applications for the priesthood are rising; it currently has about 6,000 priests serving in other countries. Movements such as Oasis/Light of Life had much influence in the 1980s when many came to personal faith in Christ as a result of Bible study groups. Pray for all Catholics to find spiritual vitality and new life in the person of Jesus.
Evangelical Christians have always been a very small minority, but some positive development is evident. Unfortunately, the growth immediately following Communism's fall was replaced by relative stagnation in the new millennium.
- The multiplication of foreign sects and religions brings confusion. Jehovah's Witnesses outnumber evangelicals two to one. Pagan, Wicca and especially New Age groups steadily gain followers, with many practitioners comfortably combining these with Catholicism. Pray for the defeat of every ideological assault on biblical truth and a demonstration of the power and lordship of Jesus Christ.
- The large Polish diaspora consists of millions who live and work elsewhere in Europe, particularly in the UK (peaking at up to one million). Of these, a large number are exposed to the gospel in a new way and in a more open environment. Pray for their responsiveness and for host cultures to take the opportunity to reach out to them.
There is a great need for witness in Poland, with 90% of municipalities having no evangelical church. There are more evangelicals in Saudi Arabia than in Poland. Most Poles are resistant to the gospel due to either their cultural Catholicism or their spiritual apathy. Proecclesia, Proem Ministries, RealnaNadzieja.pl and Life and Mission Ministry are among the local evangelistic ministries, supplemented by SGA, ECM (Project Poland), International Messengers and the Baptists. There is certainly a need and an open door for missionaries to come and serve alongside the national church. Pray for evangelicals to rise to this great challenge and catch a vision for the salvation of their countrymen as well as of their European neighbours.
The younger generation are caught up in the secular materialism that has rapidly emerged in Poland, although many are spiritually responsive. Cru, with almost 100 full-time staff, works in several major cities. The IFES-linked student movement has 30 groups with 330 students served by six full-time staff and 20 volunteers. SU and CEF focus their ministries on younger students and children. Summer camps are a major ministry for nearly all evangelical denominations and agencies. Pray that Polish youth and children might have plentiful opportunities to meet the living Christ.
The Bible is important in Poland, and The Bible Society plays a vital role in printing and distribution in Poland and surrounding lands. There are already two Bibles and two NTs, but another two translations are in progress.
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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.