• Pray for harvest workers to embrace the younger generation before they follow in the footsteps of their atheistic ancestors.
• Pray for despair and suicide to melt away before the hope of the Living God.
• Pray for renewal and revival among lethargic churches filled with nominal believers.
Latvia’s national anthem, God Bless Latvia, is very telling of the history of this Baltic European country. Themed around song and dance, the anthem shows how central music and family are to Latvians’ cultural identity. Indeed, singing and community played a key role in the three Baltic states’ independence in the 1990s, the peaceful Singing Revolution. Despite the name of the anthem, Latvia was one of the last European states to receive the Gospel. Historically taken advantage of due to its location between two Baltic republics and Russia, Latvia has been ruled by various countries for centuries, including Russia, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.
Home to the world’s fourth highest suicide rate, Latvia paints a landscape of hopelessness across a backdrop of beautiful natural scenery and strong and centered family life. The hope and optimism of emerging from Soviet rule were met with the emptiness and equally bleak colors of many social problems. Alcohol, drugs, a rapidly growing sex trade, and high abortion rates rushed to fill the void of the moral vacuum left by their new found freedom. Latvians desperately need healing and light as they continue to stumble along in the darkness.
The burst of religious activity Latvians experienced when they finally gained freedom as an independent nation in the 1990s has since died out and been replaced with nominalism. Latvia has pagan roots; cults – both pagan and Christian – are on the rise and are a barrier to authentic faith in Christ. Sixty percent identify themselves as Christians, but only a small minority actually practice their faith. The Russian minority, mostly non-religious or Orthodox, remains a struggle for relationships because of a dark and painful history between them and the Latvians. The rural population lacks consistent access to the Christian church. It is crucial to reach the youth of the nation before they adopt the spiritual apathy or the atheism of their forefathers. More workers are desperately needed to advance the Gospel.
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14
Source: latvian christian worship; Mārcis Jencītis
Capital City: Riga
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Major People Groups: 61.8% Latvian, 25.6% Russian, 3.4% Belarusian, 2.3% Ukrainian, 2.1% Polish,
1.2% Lithuanian, 3.6% other
Religion: 60% Christian, 38% Non-religious, 0.9% Other, 0.4% Muslim, 0.2% Jewish
Language: 56.3% Latvian, 33.8% Russian, 0.6% other
GDP Per Capita: $27,300
Literacy Rate: 99.9%