Pray Around the World!
Pray for “S” Spain
Praying around the world this year. It is hard to believe we are already this far down the alphabet — all the way to the letter “S.” Today we are praying for Spain. Thank you for your heart for the nations!
Official language: Catalán, Galician and Basque are official languages in the respective autonomous regions. Castilian (Spanish) is the only official language for all the Spanish territory. Spanish is the first language of over 340 million people; the world’s third most widely used language
CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER
Key groups for outreach. Pray for these:
- The Basques are an ancient and proud people without a single Euskera-speaking Protestant church. The Basque ETA movement terrorizes and polarizes society in the Basque region. There are fewer than 100 evangelical churches in the four provinces where Basques live (Guipúzcoa, Vizcaya, Alava and Navarra) and all of these are Spanish-speaking. The few Basque-speaking evangelicals there find it difficult to worship or witness in their own language. Only now are Christian resources in Euskera appearing. The differing dialects in an already difficult language complicate the task. Pray for those involved in ministry, including AoG, YWAM, WEC and OM. Pray that centuries-old suspicions and fears, and the reserve of the Basque people, may be broken down.
- Muslims may number over two million and are growing rapidly. The Moors ruled much of Spain for 700 years, and Muslims long to win back what they lost. The vast majority are immigrants from Morocco, but from many other African nations as well. South Spain is a key base area for many agencies committed to evangelizing Muslims in North Africa and in Spain; very few have been won to Christ. Pray for the Malaga Media Centre and the Ibero-American Institute of Islamic Studies (PMI). Pray for Muslim hearts to be opened and for believers in Spain to reach out in love.
- Chinese numbers have increased to over 100,000. COCM, CMA and OMF work among them. There are now over 30 churches among the Chinese, who still number only 2% Christian.
- Drug addiction is a blight on Spain (see point 1c ), which has one of Europe’s highest rates of heroin and cocaine addiction. This in turn is a major contributing factor in the AIDS epidemic and the crime rate. Over 100,000 former addicts have been set free, and many of them won to Christ through these vital ministries.
- Young people need the gospel, having given themselves over to postmodern materialism and hedonism. They distrust organized religion. Their lifestyle is based on experience. Ministry to them must be highly relational and authentic. A growing number of alternative and underground ministries among young people are proving effective.
- The elderly and retirees. This is a growing segment of the population, both among Spaniards and immigrants which will only get larger in the future. Some ministries are already proving quite effective in outreach to this generation; Doukonia is one such example.
Pray for the effectiveness of these Christian help ministries:
- Bible translation. New versions are being produced in regional languages and in dialects of Spain. A conversational Spanish Bible, an Aragonese NT as well as Bibles in Euskera (Basque), Galego (Galicia), Asturian, Catalan and Romani are examples. Pray that many will read and be impacted by these translations.
- Christian literature is a major factor in church growth, although literature work is expensive and bookstores hard to finance. Pray for Christian bookstores; CLC has six centres and a distribution network serving evangelical bookstores throughout Spain. Pray for more Christian authors who can write from a truly Spanish perspective.
- Pocket Testament League impacts Spain through literature, well-publicized research and promotion of missionary vision.
- Christian radio. Evangelicals run over 90 radio stations. However, licensing for evangelical radio remains a problem, while Catholics easily obtain AM, FM and TV licensing.
- Christian TV. There are now around 30 small evangelical TV stations, all without a licence but tolerated by the state. Evangelical programmes on public TV maintain an evangelical presence in the secular and mainstream media.
- There are countless evangelical websites in Spanish. Protestante Digital is Spain’s leading evangelical news agency. Solidaria is a Castilian TV channel on the Internet and satellite, run by REMAR. Pray for the growing number of Internet radio stations in Spanish.
- Christian camps are a ministry through which many youth in Spain come to Christ. Some 37 evangelical camps do wonderful work in evangelism, discipleship and leadership training. Pray for their continued impact and effectiveness in breaking down negative preconceptions of evangelicals and in winning many to Jesus.
- Pray for The Light of the World to fill the dark void left by secularism.
- Pray for spiritual renewal in the Church with genuine Christlikeness among believers.
- Pray for Jesus to be made known among the millions of immigrants, many of whom are Muslim.
On July 6th every year, thousands of people from around the world gather in Pamplona, Spain to watch The Running of The Bulls, one of Spain’s famous cultural traditions. Works by renowned artists Velazquez, Goya, and Picasso, Cervantes’s novel, Don Quixote, and flamenco music and dance are further examples of Spain’s rich cultural gifts to the world. Occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula in southwest Europe, Spain at its southern most tip is less than 16km (10 miles) from Africa. The Canary Islands off the northeast coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and two cities on the North African coast are also part of Spain.
From the 16th to 18th centuries, Spain ruled the seas and much of the world economically, but the rise of English sea power steadily weakened Spain’s influence. Civil wars, dictatorships and general instability followed through the 20th century dictatorship of General Franco. Franco’s death in 1975 opened the door for the current constitutional monarchy and a release from earlier closed economic policies. Spain’s entry into the European Union in 1986 helped to transform its slow economy to a vibrant one in the subsequent years. Economic upturn also brought about an improved the standard of living for most of Spain’s citizens. Recent recessions, however, have hurt Spain’s economy, resulting in mid-2010 unemployment rates of over 20%, double the EU average. Austerity plans by the government to reduce the public debt have been met with some dissent.
Roman Catholicism has long been a part of the culture of Spain, but it became the state religion under General Franco. With the new constitution in 1978, religious discrimination ended, opening the door for evangelical immigrants to bring their vibrant faith to Spain. The Catholic presence is still strong in Spain, but the church’s authority and influence is diminishing as secular materialism is rising. The resulting spiritual confusion has many engaging in foreign cults, the occult, gambling, and increased drug use. Spain currently has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, which in the future could result in health, social, and demographic problems.