Places to pray for: the countries that could do with your prayers right now


We all pray for our neighbours' needs as well as our own but in some cases we can feel that our prayers for others aren't as strong as we would like because we know so little about the people we're praying for. To help make our prayers for our neighbours in faraway destinations more meaningful, it's useful to build up an understanding of what issues Christians and non-Christians face in such places. While we can't know everything about every place, the following suggestions can act as a starting point in improving the focus of your prayers for others.

Countries with the most 'convinced atheists'
Regardless of how much we know about someone, one thing that we can always pray for is for them to become closer to Christ and to know the power of God's presence. As more and more people turn away from God, prayers like this are increasingly relevant. According to research carried out by Statista and The Independent, these are the top six countries with the most 'convinced atheists' - China, Japan, Czech Republic, France, Australia and Iceland. Each day this week, why not pray that non-believers will come to know Christ in one of these countries, and ask God to provide the Christians in these places with the confidence, strength and protection required to share their faith?

Countries where children are in danger of being forced into marriage
Jesus said: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them," but people everywhere still try to stop them from doing so. Every year, 15 million girls around the world are forced to become brides before their 18th birthday. Although a global issue, Niger, Central African Republic and Chad are the top three countries in which child marriage takes place, according to Girls not Brides. The organisation's website also lists India, Nigeria and Bangladesh as the top three countries where girls are married before they reach 15 years of age. Add these countries to your prayer lists and specifically spend time praying that God will protect his daughters in these countries.

Countries where people are at risk of being trafficked and sold into slavery
The current European refugee crisis has led to a devastating rise in the number of people being smuggled internationally. Men, women and children who've fled places where they've managed to escape torture, human rights abuses and even death are vulnerable to becoming victims of the crime because of the lack of effective intervention by the authorities. Pray that God will help those in Syria, Greece and Turkey who've broken free from poverty and persecution from falling into the hands of people trafficking gangs.