In Denmark there is complete religious freedom, but the nation retains a core of Christian tradition and values, while the Lutheran Church is recognized as the national church. Over 80% of the population are members of the Lutheran church, but over 50% of theses members are reported to be agnostic or atheists and the church attendance is around 2%.
Fortunately many Christian organizations have their influence on the state Church, promoting renewal or revival - Indre Mission, Luthers Mission, Evangelisk Luthersk Mission, Oase and Nyt Liv. There are also other independent Lutheran churches and free churches contributing to spiritual life of the nation.
In many ways there is spiritual progress in nation. While the number of people believing in a personal God still being low (33%), the number has increased remarkably in the last couple of years. The danes are being more open to the “spiritual life”, new churches are being planted, new ministries are being founded and unity among believers is increasing.
In Sweden there is complete freedom of religion, but a secular and postmodern worldview dominates the society, which makes it difficult to express biblical faith in public. On the other hand there is an increased unity among evangelicals; groups across theological and denominational spectrums meet in prayer, workship and work together as they see themselves as minority in a secular society.
Until 2000 the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) was the State Church. Because of its size and history it still has a important role. But the Church has been very much influenced by the secular society, since politicians (often without any clear faith in Jesus) are chosen to sit as parish councils. This means that the Church allows same-sex marriage, believes in universalism and rejects the divine authority of the Scripture.
Even though the nation experiences many spiritual challenges, the nations has an amazing heritage with a rich Christian history. There is a legacy of revivals, a vigorous Free Church movement and great commitment to missions.
Lithuania is the last country to be Christianized. The nation has religious freedom and therefore there is an open door for the gospel to be preached and also possible for evangelical churches to have an influence on the society. With this freedom the nation has also experienced challenges with increased materialism, hedonism and nihilism.
Catholicism has had a great influence in Lithuanea because of strong Polish influence before the Soviet occupation. Catholicism still has a crucial role in the society and about 73 % of the Lithuanian people belong to Catholic Church, but very few of them attend church weekly. Pray that the Catholic church will be a church that draws people to Christ and pray for a more godly influence on the society. Pray that fellowship and acceptance of other Christian groups also will improve.
The other confessions of Christianity also face many challenges. In a society where Catholicism is so strong, evangelical churches are often considered as sects. Most denominations are struggling to maintain members of their churches. Newer Pentecostal and charismatic churches grew quickly in the last decade and continue to grow, but there is a need for quality discipleship of new believers. For a greater impact on the nation more unity between the evangelical churches needs to grow.
Estonia is one of the countries that has managed very well as a former-Soviet nation and it has a very Western structure in economy and politics. But poverty has not vanquished. In society materialism, secularism and pluralism grow and the nation experiences a crises in values.
In the time under the Soviet Union all faiths were harshly persecuted in Estonia. Now there is religious freedom. This opens a door for Christian ministry, but also makes it possible for Christian sects to have a great influence on the country. There are more missionaries from Mormon churches than from any Christian agency. It is therfore important to pray for more Christian missionaries and a culture of evangelism in the Churches, so the truth and light of Christ will shine clear for the Estonians.
Christian education and formation remains essential as the nation is changing. It is important that the Christians are strong in biblical faith and can live a more effective life as disciples and wittnesses of Christ. Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist and Pentecostal seminaries or Bible schools all train pastors and lay Christians; all which are helpfull in preparing believers in biblical faith and in effective Christian life and witness.
Latvia has long and deep pagan roots and is among the last European countries to be Christianized (13th Century). Latvians were early supporters of Luther and much of the population converted to Lutheranism.
The country was in many years a part of the Soviet Union. Since the independence the society has experienced a lot of new challenges such as problems with alcohol, drugs, a rapidly growing sex trade, high abortions rates, corruption and the country has the world’s fourth highest suicide rate.
The churches of Latvia were harshly persecuted under both the Nazis and the Communists. Although 60% belong to a Christian confession, only a small minority actually practice their faith. Since religious freedom in 1988 there hase been a lot of different religious expressions. The spread of cults, both Christian and pagan, is a challenge to Christianity.
Because of challenges to biblical morality in society the different churches have developed a very strong unity. Pray that the leaders of these churches may stay strong together in prayer and worship and that this unity might reverse the moral tide in society.
Finland has freedom in religion, but Evangelical Lutheran and Finnish (Greek) Orthodox Churches are recognized as national churches. The Lutheran Church has a stronger evangelical tradition than most others state churches, but does still experience the same challenges; such as liberalism.
The Free Churches are relatively small, but spiritually vigorous; charismatic renewal has had a marked impact. The churches are not growing, but are enjoying a greater unity than in the years past. Pray for this to continue and for a greater cooperation in evangelism and missions.
In the society humanism, secularism and materialism have strangleholds on most Finns, and spirituality has more or less become privatized. Only 8% of Finns attend any kind of religious service monthly or more, and only 3% of Lutherans attend weekly. Pray for a spiritual breakthrough that will make people seek God. Pray especially that the younger generation will be reached trough the different ministries.
Finland has a strong tradition in sending out missionaries, but this tradition is now under threat. The mission sending has manly been trough parachurch agencies or independent movements within the larger Lutheran framework. The mission vision has to come more into the churches, so the churches get more involved in the sending process, rather than only relying on agencies. Pray for a greater mission culture in the different churches, and pray that there will be more workers and supporters.
The official state church in Norway is the The Lutheran Church, but there is complete freedom for other religions and denominations. About 90% of the Norwegians are church members, but less than 10% of young people are committed Christian, and only 4% of the Nations attend church every Sunday.
The Lutheran Church has a lot of good history with revival, prayer and mission houses and has formed a lot of mission and volunteer agencies. But the church is experiencing the same moral challenges as many other European countries are facing about homosexuality, marriage and other issues. Pray for new revival and for a deep commitment to biblical faith and practice
Norway has one the strongest mission-sending tradition in Europe and still has a lively mission vision today. Pray that this will keep on being strong and that more young people will bold to step into their calling.
The (non-state) Free Churches also play big part in the Norwegian church life. Pentecostal and charismatic churches are the largest, with the Mission Covenant Church, Methodists, Baptists and others also present. These churches are too struggling with retaining church members. There is big need for praying that more people will meet Jesus and be faithful church members.
All religions have equal rights before the law, but the Roman Catholic Church is the most dominating church and denomination in the society. About 85% of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church and the church is a big part of the polish culture and nationalism.
Polish Catholicism is in particularly known for its focus on Mary. Polish Catholics define her as the spiritual queen of Poland, co-redemptrix and intercessor between humanity and Jesus.
Division between different evangelical churches has been a problem for some years, but unity is now growing. Pray for even more reconciliation, fellowship and unity in Jesus.
Pray that the gospel will be clear for all people in Poland and pray that all churches will have a strong biblical teaching. Pray that there will bigger opportunities for church leaders to get strong bible training; which is very needed in a time, where the multiplication of foreign sects and religions brings a lot of confusion. At the moment there are more Jehovah Wittness than Evangelicals. Megan, Wicca and New Age groups also gain more followers, with many practitioners who combine their beliefs with Catholicism. Pray therefore for biblical truth and that Jesus will be revealed as the only Lord and Savior.