Slovakia has a strong Christian heritage, but the many Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed Churches struggle with low attendance. Praise God for renewal movements, especially among Lutherans who focus on young people and small groups (Family Fellowships). Pray that the Holy Spirit would bring new life to the strong foundation of Christianity here.
Slovakia is a nation in the midst of significant change. Economic reforms and EU membership both created as well as solved problems. Increasing wealth (for some) is accompanied by the new influences of materialism and moral relativism. Depression and suicide rates are among the highest in Europe; pray that many might seek for hope and truth, and find these in Christ.
Evangelical denominations are few and small. The growth of recent years has slowed, but there is a new desire to reach out and be more active in church planting. The difficulty in registering as a religious organization complicates church life for smaller denominations. To recapture vitality, each congregation must understand what being the Church actually means. Pray for the quality of spiritual life and for fervour in evangelical churches. Another huge challenge to the Church is the growth of Jehovah's Witnesses - their attendance outstrips that of Protestant evangelicals.
Vision for the future must be recaptured. Previous church planting initiatives have waned, but there are new ideas via the Slovak Evangelical Alliance, Natural Church Development and others. Discipleship, evangelism and church multiplication - on the grassroots level - are essential for the gospel to reach the entire nation. Many desire to see churches in every city and town, but to achieve this, thousands of new congregations must be planted. Pray for this ambitious desire to be achieved.
Hungarians make up more than 10% of the population. Tensions persist over minority rights and language use; pray for fair and just solutions. A Hungarian-specific political party enjoys strong support from this community. Most Hungarians are Catholic, but with a number of Reformed congregations and a few evangelical groups. Pray that Hungarian Christians may be mobilized to reach their kin in Slovakia.
The Romani (Gypsies) are usually misunderstood and marginalized and suffer from low education and a high level of poverty - but they are the most responsive people to the gospel in all Central and Eastern Europe. Persistent efforts to reach them overcame resistance and now see encouraging responsiveness. Pray for those reaching out to them, for love that will overcome all barriers and stereotypes.
Youth work remains an exciting area with diverse activities and ministries. SIET is a network of national youth organizations with an excellent record for cooperation among denominations, including Lutherans, and a strong focus on training. Josiah Venture is central to this vital network. Pray that God may raise up a new generation of holy, faith-filled believers through these movements. Pray for IFES and Cru as they minister to tertiary-level students.
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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.