Sri Lanka
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
October 17-18

October 17 next >

Answers to Prayer

1 Revival and strong evangelical growth since 1980 all during the most harrowing warfare and militant opposition from the majority religion and despite a high rate of Christian emigration

2 The multiplication of churches through the committed ministry of many humble Sri Lankan missionary evangelists

3 The raising up of world-class Christian leaders, evangelists, Bible teachers and Christian apologists who impact the nation and beyond

Challenges for Prayer

1 Claimed by some to be the site of the Garden of Eden, Sri Lanka is now an island of tears

a) The neutralization of the power and influence of Buddhist Sinhala extremists

b) The ending of the Tamil LTTE violence

c) For honest, fair government for this multi-religious, multi-ethnic country

d) For a meaningful cease-fire,

e) For the binding of unleashed demonic powers

2 Buddhists have long prided themselves on their non-violent religion and tolerance

3 Traditional, mainline Churches declined from 21% of the population in 1722 to 7% in 1990 and that decline continues

a) A return to Biblical theology and holiness in the major seminaries and in the congregations

b) Cultural adaptation to make worship, hymnology, language and structures relevant and welcoming to non-Christians

c) A vision for evangelism and outreach to non-Christians whatever the cost

4 Evangelicals have reversed the Christian decline with a surge of spiritual life and vision

a) The ongoing outreach of Pentecostal, charismatic and other evangelical groups

b) The growing Sri Lanka missions movement

c) Increased unity

d) Effective correction of weaknesses

e) The Church as a catalyst for national reconciliation

October 17 next >


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Area 65,610 Large island 80 km. south-east of India.

Population (2000) 18,827,054 +0.99%AGR

Capital Colombo (administrative) 2,400,000; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative) 150,000.


Sinhala 74.6%.

Tamil 17%.

Moor 7.6%.

Burgher 0.4%.

Other 0.4%.

Literacy 90%. Official languages Sinhala and Tamil, with English as the link language. All languages 7. Languages with Scriptures 3Bi.


Largest export earnings are from tea, textiles and foreign employment. HDI 0.721; 90th/174. Public debt 45% of GNP. Income/person $800 (2.5% of USA).


Independence gained in 1948, as a parliamentary democracy, after 450 years of successive colonial administrations by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.


Buddhism is the state religion and, as such, is protected and promoted.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Buddhist 71.93 13,542,300 +1.1%
Hindu 12.00 2,259,246 -0.6%
Muslim 8.00 1,506,164 +1.2%
Christian 7.62 1,434,622 +2.0%
non-Religious/other 0.20 37,654 +1.0%
Sikh 0.15 28,241 -0.3%
Baha'i 0.10 18,827 +1.0%
Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 20 0.87 164 +3.9%
Independent 41 0.58 109 +20.1%
Anglican 1 0.29 54 +0.7%
Catholic 1 5.58 1,050 +1.2%
Marginal 2 0.04 8 +2.4%
Unaffiliated   0.26 50 n.a.

Churches in Sri Lanka

Missionaries from Sri Lanka

717 in 18 agencies to 5 countries

Missionaries to Sri Lanka

145 in 39 agencies from 17 countries

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