Levels of persecution: Extreme Very High High
The leader of Sri Lanka is President Maithripala Sirisena, who was elected president in January 2015.
There are almost 2 million Christians living in Sri Lanka, who make up 9.4 per cent of the population.
Sri Lanka is a majority Buddhist nation, and so while Christians from more historical churches enjoy a little more freedom in expressing their faith, believers from Buddhist backgrounds are treated as second-class citizens and can face slander and attacks.
Believers from Buddhist or Hindu backgrounds face harassment and discrimination from their families and communities. They are pressured to recant their new faith, as conversion is regarded as a betrayal of their ethnicity. The majority of state schools do not teach Christianity as a subject, so Christian schoolchildren are forced to study Buddhism or Hinduism. Churches in rural areas have been attacked or closed, and Christians have been assaulted. In April 2019, 253 people were killed and at least 500 people wounded during a series of bomb attacks by Islamic militants on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.
Open Doors strengthens persecuted believers in Sri Lanka with Christian literature, income-generating projects, medical assistance for victims of violence and persecution survival training.
Following the Easter Sunday attacks, Open Doors teams are working to provide long-term trauma care and counselling, and help families who have lost their main breadwinner to survive. We’ll support approximately 250 families in the affected areas.
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Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
Father God, thank You for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. Be amongst them as they meet in their churches. We pray for all who were caught up in the attacks on their churches and communities on Easter Day. Bring healing to those who were injured and comfort those who have experienced loss. Give them the strength and grace to forgive, and raise them up to be a light in the darkness, that others may be drawn to Your love and compassion.
We have created a free, downloadable guide to help individuals, churches and groups pray for Christians in Sri Lanka at this time. It contains information, prayer points, meditations and reflections to help you pray.