Poverty and its many causes need to be tackled wisely but aggressively. Consider the following: up to 86% of the population are below the poverty line; agriculture and copper mining, which employ the large majority of the population, are dependent on erratic weather and markets. Between 33% and 50% of children are malnourished; 40% of the people do not have access to clean water or adequate sanitation. Illiteracy in rural areas is 90%. Current economic growth cannot offset the high birthrate or AIDS prevalence.
The “brain drain” of many of Africa’s brightest and best to richer nations impacts Zambia deeply. While Zambian doctors, lawyers, businessmen, professionals and pastors set up shop in South Africa, Europe and North America, their home nation cries out for precisely the skills and resources they have to offer. Pray for conviction to return to be blessings and the ideal missionaries to their country.
Zambia is a major destination and thoroughfare for people. Instability in nations surrounding Zambia has sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing into Zambia, especially from Zimbabwe of late. Also, Zambia is vulnerable to traffickers of both child labourers and sex workers. Thank God for a recently passed law specifically criminalizing human trafficking; pray for its effective implementation. Pray that Zambia might be the location where many uprooted people find succour and discover the Living God.
Zambia has 710,000 orphans, mostly due to AIDS; nearly 20% of all children are suffering the loss of their parents. Over 90,000 live on the streets. Almost 75% of Zambian households care for a relative orphaned by AIDS.
Leadership training is an urgent need, the natural outworking of sustained church growth. This is a massive priority in a land where nominalism and syncretism are common.
The urban satellite towns of Lusaka, the Copperbelt and Kabwe are spiritually needy. Many are squalid shanty settlements, rife with poverty, AIDS and little hope.
Witchcraft and sorcery, based on animism, strongly affect the lives and worldview of many Christians. They rarely are expressed as a separate religion but often overlap with and pollute Christian belief. Widespread superstitions and occult practices hamper spiritual growth, compromise believers and leave the door open for the enemy to work ill in peoples’ lives. Pray that Christians might cast off all ties to the spirits and live pure and holy lives that depend on God alone for spiritual empowerment and blessing.
Islam is aggressively targeting Zambia, especially in the east, and is growing twice as fast as Christianity here. Muslims take advantage of the freedom of religion to propagate Islam, and they make liberal use of funds from oil rich Muslim nations to entice Christians. Mosque building, free education and material inducements are effective in this poor country. Pray for powerful outreach to Muslims. Few Zambian Christians are equipped for this.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are already numerous and very active in outreach, particularly in the east. Their literature floods the nation, while Christian ministries cannot afford to print and distribute the truth.