During the 40 days of Lent I’m committed to praying each day for Christians in the 40 countries where the cost of being a follower of Christ is highest. I invite you to do the same. The information on the prayer needs of each country comes from a combination of Open Doors, Barnabas Fund and Operation World.
Today we are Praying for the Maldives
The fragile ecosystem of the Maldives is threatened by rising sea levels that could flood and destroy. Coral mining and rises in sea temperatures have killed much of the coral that is the foundation of these islands. The 2004 tsunami and the 2008-2009 economic downturn demonstrated how fleeting life on these islands could be; pray that this would cause many to seek eternal assurance obtainable only through Christ.
The pleasant paradise of the Maldives is not so pleasant for non-Muslim residents. While foreigners are free to worship in the privacy of their own homes, meeting for prayer is illegal and Christians who number less than 0.2% of the population are discriminated against and carefully watched. Legislation forbids the practice of any religion except Islam; churches are forbidden; and the import of Christian literature is prohibited. New regulations governing religious practice were unveiled by the government in 2010, and stricter policies were also imposed on tourists after some were caught bringing in Bibles.
The Challenge for Prayer
Behind the facade of island paradise lies a darker reality. Freedom of expression and belief is strongly curtailed by powerful societal and regulatory forces. One of the highest divorce rates in the world, rising crime and gang activity, abuse of children and endemic drug use among teens (possibly up to 70%) indicate that all is not well. Beyond Islamic beliefs lies a widespread adherence to pre-Islamic occult practices called fanditha.
- Pray for the light of the gospel to shine into the lives of Maldivians.
- Pray against strongholds of pride, fear, duplicity and sensuality.
- Pray for courage for the few Maldivian Christians and migrant workers, that they will hold strongly to Christ
- Pray for the President to lead the country towards greater tolerance for non- Muslims