• Pray for a unified government that will rebuild the nation with justice and peace.
• Pray for the tiny Libyan Church to be united and established despite intense persecution.
• Pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to moderate and extremist Muslims alike.
Great sand seas, exotic oases, extinct volcanoes, and a nomadic people make for intriguing scenes and stunning landscapes in Libya’s expansive Sahara Desert. Equally stunning are the ancient cities along the 1770 km (1,100 mi) of Libya’s coastline on the southern Mediterranean Sea, home to most of Libya’s 6.5 million people. These coastal cities showcase a diverse history steeped with the ancient Greek, Roman, and Ottoman empires and those of other invaders. This water poor but oil rich country’s earliest inhabitants were Berber tribes, most of which have blended into the Arab majority today. Surrounded by Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt in North Africa, Libya is experiencing political turmoil like several of its neighbors.
Vast oil reserves discovered in 1959 have made Libya one of Africa’s wealthiest nations. Libya’s recent past, however, has not flowed as smoothly as the oil that has fueled its economy and funded its government. For the last 42 years, Libya, under the dictatorship of Muammar Qadhafi (Gaddafi), has supported terrorists and developed weapons of mass destruction. Libya’s activities resulted in UN sanctions which were formally dropped in 2003 after Libya accepted responsibility for several terrorist acts, dropped its weapons programs, and began combating terrorist groups in their country. Recent internal political unrest and violence has led to the collapse of the government and the death of Qadhafi. A transitional government is ruling the country with plans to make Libya a pluralist, democratic state. Economically, the new government will also need to address the problem of the nearly one third of the people living at or below the poverty line who have not benefited from Libya’s oil wealth.
Libya is 97 percent Sunni Muslim. It is the state religion and under Qadhafi was seen as more moderate. The recent unrest has brought more radical groups to the forefront and it is uncertain what stand the new government will take on religious freedom. The small number of Christians in Libya are mostly immigrants from other nations. Few indigenous Libyans are followers of Jesus. Christian evangelism is illegal, yet slowly more Libyans are accepting Christ in spite of the probability of persecution. Radio, satellite television, and the internet offer viable and effective ways to evangelize and disciple, but Bibles and other Christian materials are also needed.
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14
Capital City: Tripoli
Government: Jamahiriya (a state of the masses)
Major People Groups: 97% Berber and Arab, 3% Other
Religion: 96.6% Muslim, 2.7% Christian, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.2% Unafilliated
Language: Arabic, Italian, English, Berber
GDP Per Capita: $9,800
Literacy Rate: 91%