Capital: Manama Population: 1,100,000 (only 50% expatriates) Religion: Islam 2/3 Shi'ite, 1/3 Sunni among locals)
Language: Most locals speak Arabic, but a significant percentage speak Farsi as their first language.
Muslim Background Believers: There are a number of local believers, some meeting with Arabic or English-speaking churches.
Bahrain, situated in the Gulf between Iran and Saudi Arabia, is made up of over 30 islands, the major ones connected by causeways. Iranian rule of what is now modern Bahrain lasted for 180 years until they were expelled by the Kalifa family who took control in 1782.
Bahrain was a British protectorate for more than 100 years before regaining its independence in 1971. Formerly a pearling and trading center for the Arabian Gulf with a tradition of independence, it is diversifying from oil into banking, aluminum production and tourism.
Bahrain was the site of the first Arabian Gulf oil well. Ironically, it will be the first Gulf country to run out of oil. Bahrain, compared to its neighboring countries, is poorer with significant unemployment.
Bahrain became a Kingdom in 2002. King Hamad is overseeing a gradual transformation led by his son, Crown Prince and Deputy King Salman, with the new government modeled on the United Kingdom two-house parliament system. Bahrain is an oasis of freedom compared to the surrounding countries which have restrictive laws. The king’s uncle, Prime Minister Khalifa, has ruled for the 40 years since independence.
Political unrest in Bahrain has re-emerged as a part of the “Arab Spring”. Many Shi’ites are frustrated by unemployment and the lack of political development over the last decade by the Sunni royal family, and want the Prime Minister to step down.
Great numbers of Saudis and Kuwaitis flock to Bahrain every weekend and for holidays because of greater personal freedom. While open evangelism is not allowed, Christians can worship and minister in Bahrain.
Pray that Jesus would reign over the spiritual authorities that seek to blind, bind, and divide people, and that the attraction of worldly pleasures would pale.
Pray for the King, HM Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and other authorities in Bahrain. Pray that the Lord would give them wisdom to lead their people into peaceful political and social development.
Pray that promised reforms would be implemented as a beginning to ongoing reform.
Pray for the Shi’ite majority who feel suppressed job-wise and politically. Pray for jobs, for more equitable representation in the parliament, and for wisdom to seek change peacefully and with a long-term view toward positive development in mind.
Pray for the expatriate churches in Bahrain - Indian, Filipino, Western and expatriate Arabic. Pray for a renewed vision of God's purpose in bringing them to Bahrain.
Pray for the Arabic churches, which along with English-speaking churches include some locals. Pray that they would build up Christ’s Kingdom and bless others around them. Pray for leadership to equip their members for the work of the ministry, modeling servant leadership.
Pray for the isolated Bahraini believers, many of whom do not regularly fellowship with others. May the Lord show these believers the importance of meeting together. Pray against fear of social ostracism if those around them find out that they follow Christ.
Pray for believing Bahraini husbands and wives to reconcile where needed, and to grow closer together as they serve Christ. Pray for believing wives for the single young men.
Pray especially for the youth in view of many economic frustrations.
Pray for the living witness of the Christian establishments in Bahrain - the churches, the Christian bookstores, the mission hospital and the mission school. Pray that this might expand in new ways.
Pray for more tentmakers to come and participate in the harvest in Bahrain and nearby countries.
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