Kingdom of Swaziland
Area: 17,364 sq km
Small, landlocked enclave between Mozambique and South Africa.
Population: 1,201,904 Annual Growth: 1.34%
Capital: Mbabane Urbanites: 25.5%
HDI Rank: 142 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)
Peoples: 12 (8% unreached)
Official language: siSwati, English Languages: 8
Largest Religion: Christian
Challenges for Prayer
The Church faces many challenges:
a) Nominalism is widespread. Far too many Christians live no differently from their unbelieving compatriots. Pray for God’s Spirit to bring revival. Many churches, even traditional evangelical groups, are stagnating and losing their young people.
b) Traditional practices adopted uncritically lead to syncretism, but outright rejection of them leads to legalism and irrelevance. Pray for the wisdom and grace to practise a culturally relevant but biblical Christianity. Men especially need to be drawn into the Church – the large majority of the faithful are female.
c) The African Independent Churches claim more than half the population. Their beliefs range from an evangelical theological position to a high degree of compromise with polygamy, witchcraft, ancestor veneration and appeasement sacrifices. The large “Zionist” movement strongly emphasizes both pentecostal gifts and traditional African spiritual customs. Pray that these groups might be shaped by Scripture and directed by the Holy Spirit. Pray also for increased interaction between Zion and evangelical churches; this will teach and benefit both groups.
d) Quality Christian leadership is in short supply and sporadic in quality. Most pastors are unpaid and limited in the time they can contribute to the ministry. Few congregations are trained to share the gospel confidently with either traditionalists or intellectuals, and so have little impact on the unchurched. There are seven Bible schools or seminaries in Swaziland, and TEE is available through most of the major denominations. Pray for Swazi pastors and lay Christians to make use of the training resources in the country.
e) Youth ministry. The young people of Swaziland have little opportunity to be young due to poverty, unemployment and the AIDS devastation. Pray for churches to minister meaningfully to young people, both evangelizing and discipling effectively. Pray also for godly models and mentors for them.