Read, understand and pray for Brazil
Population: 195.4 million, Capital Brasília (3.9 million).
Christians: 178.6 million, Evangelical Christians 51.3 million.
Highest Level of Faith: Christian
Religion that grows the most: No religion.
Official language: Portuguese. Total languages 193.
Economy: Recent growth, which has made the country an economic power, is at risk of regression. With an immense tax burden; a bloated, deficient, and inefficient state; a tax system that does not promote justice; the maintenance of the privileges of some classes, especially in the public sphere; investment and economic growth have receded.
Politics: The Federative Republic, multiparty democracy since 1985. The country has experienced a deep political crisis, with widespread complaints of corruption and significant setbacks in the quality of education. In recent years, the Car Wash Operation has revealed a deep diversion scheme, involving state-owned companies, large companies, politicians, and even former presidents. The Judiciary needs profound reforms, so that justice, especially against powerful ones, is maintained and applied with equity.
1 – Evangelicals in Brazil grew from 2 million in 1960 to over 50 million in 2010. They makeup one of the largest evangelical populations in the world and are very strong in meetings and prayer movements. Great meetings, women’s networks, events such as Global Day of Prayer, and the March for Jesus bring together great masses for prayer and celebration of Jesus. Praise God for the Brazilian prayer warriors!
2 – Brazilian society has improved in the last decades but faces enormous challenges. Accountability and transparency in government have begun to show widespread corruption. The economic opportunity has grown, but poverty affects tens of millions, and many still live in communities dominated by crime. Brazil is the world’s second-largest consumer of illegal drugs and has the highest rate of firearm homicide. There must be serious spiritual, social, and economic changes. Pray that future governments will seek to end corruption. Pray for a wise response from the Church.
3 – Brazil is spiritually open, but it is necessary to pray that people who suffer spiritual oppression will be freed through the power and truth of Jesus.
4 – Evangelicals face serious challenges. An excessive number of groups pay more attention to numerical growth than to discipleship. This leads to immature churches, spiritual error, and the constant change of believers from one church to another. The “prosperity theology” is added to the problem. Celebrity lifestyle, scandals, and lack of accountability among pastors hurt churches. Pray for leaders dedicated to humility and faithfulness. A greater commitment to pastoral formation is encouraging, but with more than 200,000 congregations there is still much work to be done. Pray also for greater unity and cooperation. The diversity of churches is a blessing, but sometimes it leads to rivalry and jealousy.
5 – Brazil became a leading nation in sending missionaries in one generation. Nearly 2,000 Protestant, independent and Anglican missionaries have left the country. Brazilian faith, energy, adaptability, and talent (sports, music, dance) open doors! Unfortunately, poor preparation and lack of support sometimes undermine their efforts. Pray that more churches will have a vision of missions. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send and support these workers. Pray that they will persevere and bear fruit.
6 – Many regions of Brazil still lack the evangelical presence. The Northeast, poor and less developed, has the lowest percentage of evangelicals, especially Piauí and Ceará. Pray for a greater response to Pentecostal evangelism there. Cities have many churches, but also many needs. Almost 1/3 of the population of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo live in communities dominated by crime. The rich and powerful, as well as the ethnic minorities, have few evangelicals. Wars between criminal faction bosses and the police often turn innocent into victims. Brazil has 8 million children at risk, 7 million children in child labor, and 600,000 girls in prostitution. Churches and agencies help children through orphanages and vocational training ministries, but it is not enough. Pray for Christian ministries in all areas of need.
7 – Indian people. The Amazon River basin has 36,000 communities, in which there are no churches. Most of them can only be reached by boat. Church planting is difficult because of isolation and poverty, but several organizations send missionary ships. Pray also for sensitivity in ministering to the Amerindian groups scattered throughout Brazil. These indigenous peoples have suffered centuries of oppression, exploitation, and worse. The problems still persist. Also, ask God to bless the 45 ongoing Bible translation efforts and to send workers to assist in working with the ten languages that still lack the scriptures.
8 – A greater vision is needed to reach the immigrants who arrive in Brazil. The largest Japanese community outside Japan lives in Brazil (about 1.5 million). Many claim to be Catholic, but their spiritual practice is mixed with Shinto and Buddhism. More than 200,000 Chinese now live in Brazil, and multiple agencies plan to reach them. Jews have few followers of Christ, and so do Arab and Turkish Muslims. Pray that the Church will find effective ways of reaching these groups.
Adapted from MANDRYK e WALL (2017). MANDRYK, Jason; WALL, Molly. Pray for the World: A New Prayer Resource from Operation World.InterVarsity Press: 2015.
Photo: http://crossfit9dejulho.com/bandeira-brasil/. Access: 29/05/2018.