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Sri Lanka, “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” can be described in superlatives. One of the longest documented histories in the world. Oldest democracy in South Asia. One of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world. First country in recorded history to have a female ruler. First modern nation with a female elected head of state. And, interestingly, the third most religious country in the world.

This Asian island off the southeast coast of India is reputed to have been King Solomon’s source for ivory, peacocks, and valuables, which he imported from the ancient seaport of Tarshish. An important stop on the Silk Road, Arab traders called ancient Ceylon “Serendip”, a Sanskrit term referencing the discovery of something by accident, which formed the root of the modern “serendipity”. Today, Sri Lanka, or “venerable island”, boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world with over 60% of the gross domestic product coming from the service sector. However, severe income inequality and ethnic prejudice have driven large numbers of its citizens to seek work outside of the country. As a result, these populations are exploited, abused, and at times, enslaved at the hands of unscrupulous employers.

Ninety-nine percent of Sri Lankans say that religion is important in their lives, and the most recent civil war speaks to these strongly held beliefs. The war, waged over religious and ethnic divides, lasted from 1983 to 2009. And yet, despite efforts to preserve their religion and culture, significant increases in alcoholism, suicide, casual violence, and rape reveal a crisis in the belief systems to which Sri Lankans cling. Buddhism, the national religion, is protected and promoted, and while freedom of religion is guaranteed by law, violence and persecution against the 8% mostly Catholic Christian minority are not uncommon. As the number of Christians in Sri Lanka grows, we pray they continue to search for the pearl of great price – the hearts of the Sri Lankan people.

quick facts

Buddhist 68%, Hindu 13%, Muslim 9%, Christian 9%, Agnostic 1%
capital city:
Sinhala, Tamil
Presidential republic
GDP per capita:
literacy rate:
major groups of people:
73% Sinhalese (Singhalese); 13% Ceylon Tamil; 7% Ceylon Moor; 6% Indian Tamil; plus 18 others

prayer points


The church, that it will become aware of the gospel need in Sri Lankan Muslim communities and will dispel inhibitions about relating to them and will learn how best to share the gospel


The salvation of the 2.1 million Muslims who live in Sri Lanka


God to send laborer’s from Sri Lanka and overseas to train the church to reach this community


Effective leadership of the Muslim Network in its efforts to come up with a common strategy for evangelism and church planting


More volunteers and unity in the network


New believers to become disciples and church planters among their own people


Two church planters to come forward to plant churches in each of the 25 districts of the island

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