Buddhism has been the Cambodian national religion since the 15th century. Cambodians were scarcely reached by the Gospel until just before Pol Pot’s infamous regime in the 70s, during which the majority of Buddhist monks and most Christians perished. Deep psychological wounds need healing and true restoration by the Holy Spirit. Recently, four new churches have been planted in Cambodia, and one of these churches has sent out three workers into world mission and is preparing three more. Praise God for these new churches and pray that they would be beacons of hope and truth within their communities.
Tourism in Cambodia is the second largest industry after textiles. Although the government have made great strides to ensure visitors safety and comfort, people are staying away because of travel restrictions and costs of airline tickets. This has a huge impact on the small businesses that make their living off tourists. Please pray for the Cambodian families that will be struggling, be this a self-employed taxi or tuk-tuk driver or a hotel cleaner.
Recently Cambodia has recorded its first localised Covid-19 transmission, most previous cases have been imported from foreign travellers. This is worrying as it is very difficult to ascertain how many people may have been infected. Cambodia does not have the means to combat a large widespread outbreak of Covid-19, therefore let’s pray that all the efforts that are being made to quell the spread will be successful. Please pray that people will adhere to the government’s restrictions and advice and that the country will not become griped with fear.
With Covid gripping the world, Cambodia has been spared with low infection numbers and no deaths but the knock-on effects on the economy are truly an area of concern and prayer. Many Cambodians depend on a salary that feeds a number of family members. Factories are shut, tourism has been curbed and therefore wages have been either reduced or suspended. Please pray that Cambodians will not become victims of predators, willing to borrow money at very high rates. Pray that the industries that fuel the economy will start to reopen and Cambodians will be able to return to work.
Pray for the Hakka, a Han Chinese people group, in Cambodia. They have their own distinct culture, and number around 8,500. They have access to the Bible, so pray that many would read it and meet Jesus. Pray, too, that the Lord will send workers who will speak his truth into this culture, so that the unreached Hakka will come to know him.
The IFES movement in Cambodia – SONOKO, ask us to pray with them: “Praise God that the staff and students have encouraged one another by praying together and sharing the word of God online despite the Covid-19 pandemic. As all the schools have been closed since last March, the students went back to their home town. Most of them are new believers and the only Christian in their families and face various spiritual pressures. Pray that God protects their faith and they can boldly share the gospel with their families.”
Pray that the coronavirus stops. China is the largest source of tourist and businessmen visiting Cambodia - up to 2.5 million this coming year. Cambodia has a growing population of resident Chinese people who are coming back and forth from mainland China. With the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Cambodia is one of those countries that can be affected. Movement in Cambodia is easy and difficult to monitor and with the department of health announcing the first case of the virus in the country on 27th January, pray that people become not only aware, but proactive in stopping the virus. China has a huge economic impact on Cambodia, so pray that this will not affect the average Cambodian family. Pray also that despite the fear of the virus, the church will work together to bring faith and hope to Cambodians.
Apart from being incarcerated, prisoners in Cambodia have to put up with a lot of difficulties while being in jail. Food and medical support is in short supply and most prisoners depend on the kind handouts from family and the work of local NGO’s in providing medicine. One such prison in the Kampong Cham province is an overcrowded prison with 2,000 men and women. Cambodia Action’s partners Sunrise work tirelessly in this prison to bring the love of God through skills building, providing nutritional meals 4 times a week, and supplying medicines at an in-prison clinic. Pray that God’s heart would be felt in the men and women’s lives that are being they are trying to reach.
In November 2019, the Cambodian churches are holding an evangelistic crusade which they are calling the 'Love Phnom Penh Festival'. Franklin Graham, President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will speak at large-scale meetings on three days. Please pray for the organisers; for permission to use the city’s stadium for the event; for Franklin Graham and his interpreter; for people to come, hear the gospel and be saved; and for Cambodian Christians to pray, prepare and invite friends.
There are currently 16 million people in Cambodia. Close to 2% of the population are Muslims with most of those being Sunni Muslims. One group of people are the Cham or Khmer Islam. These are people that have remained within their own communities with little of the gospel reaching their villages. The Cham believe in the power of magic and sorcery, and they attach great importance to magical practices in order to avoid sickness or violent death. They believe in many supernatural powers, so we need to pray that God would encounter them with His supernatural power. Cambodia Action has a number of associates that are trying to work with the Cham, looking for opportunities to share the love of God. Pray for an effective door of witness among the Cham, that Jesus will become known to them.
The country of Cambodia is facing a deepening problem with possible sanctions from the EU. It was announced recently that the EU would take action if the government did not move to towards political reform. Cambodia has many poor people that depend on the garment industry to provide for their families, this could be the sector that is hardest hit. Please pray for the Cambodian Government, that the wisdom of the Lord would be evident and that change would come so that people in Cambodia will not have to suffer again.
On the 29th of July, Cambodia went to the polls to elect a government for the next 5 years. During the run up to the election we prayed that no violence would break out and, praise God, the vote was peaceful. However, within Cambodia there is considerable discontent with the election results. The ruling party won all 125 parliamentary seats and many NGOs and Christian organisations are concerned about the political vacuum that these elections have left. Please pray for the people of Cambodia, that they would find hope in Christ- the true hope - and not find comfort in the different vices that are on offer.
Cambodia has been in the news lately with the arrest of opposition party leaders. This does not bode well for the country and we should pray that the Lord would intervene in the up-coming elections. Pray that God would stop any violence that may try to erupt throughout the country. Cambodia Action has a number of people working in the country. Please pray for their safety and that peace and calm would be seen on the streets of Cambodia, and through their ministry. Please pray for those in government that God would have his say and have his way in this all important election.
Why still go to Cambodia? Some could argue that Cambodia is a country that is saturated with NGOs and development work. Is it still necessary to go there? The answer is ‘Yes’ - Jesus told us to go into all the world and that the harvest is ripe. Cambodia is still one such country that is ripe for harvest but sadly Christian witness is sparse. Well over 90% of Cambodians are still in darkness and need the gospel. Please pray for hearts to be opened to go to Cambodia and for Cambodian hearts to be open to the gospel.
“Men in Cambodia have been overlooked in the church, there is ministry to children, youth, women and the poor, when men come to Christ, the family follows”. These were the words of the Director of Good Real Men in Cambodia, a local NGO seeking ways to bring men to Christ. Pray for the men of Cambodia that are bound by religion, fear and vice, staring each day into a hopelessness that they believe cannot be filled. Pray for those that work tirelessly among men with the Good News, for change in their lives as they seek to bring the message of freedom, and for men called back to God. Finally, pray for Cambodia - a country that is still fragmented after many years of war.
Through times of fear and insecurity, and in a country where widespread poverty makes life tough, Kone Kmeng, an organisation working in Cambodia, sees a huge value in teaching children, and those who work with children, about the power of prayer. Kone Kmeng started the Children’s Prayer Movement (CPM) programme in 2007 to motivate churches in districts where it works with children at risk in areas such as community awareness about issues of child abuse, educational support, income generation training and relief and development assistance. In 2012, more than 700 children attended prayer groups at their churches, with more than 400 children attending CPM prayer fellowships. Pray that the children taking part in this programme would receive firm spiritual foundations to prepare them for whatever life throws at them in the future.
Please pray for the issue of violence towards women and children in Cambodia. Rape and acid attacks are all too common and human rights workers say that many incidents go unreported because the victims to not have funds for legal cases. Furthermore, of the roughly 320 rape cases recorded by human rights groups Adhoc in 2012, 201 were committed against minors. Pray for the ministry of Christian organisations offering comfort and support to the victims of these attacks. Also pray for the political and cultural issues that prevent cases being reported and for women’s human rights to be upheld.
Sexual exploitation is a serious problem in Cambodia and all too often the victims are children. It is thought that a third of all sex workers in the country - about 50,000 people - are prostituted children. Children sold into the sex trade often have no opportunities to escape a life that they did not choose for themselves, and even if they do escape, their physical and emotional scars go so deep that it is almost impossible for them to live a normal life. Pray for the children sold into sexual slavery in Cambodia. Ask God to break into the situations that these girls and boys are facing, to bring down the perpetrators and to open the eyes of tourists and locals who visit brothels, so that they see the appalling nature of what they are doing.
Since the early 1990s there has been relative freedom for churches in Cambodia. In the intervening years, missionaries and Christian development workers have made a significant contribution to the development of life in the country, but increasingly the national Church is now taking the initiative. In the early 2000s there was still a strong sense of insecurity, but this has changed. In 1979 there were 1,000 evangelical Christians; today the figure is estimated at between 220,000 and 300,000.
Population: 15,957,223 (2016)
Official languages: Khmer
GDP (PPP) per capita: $4,022 (2017 est.)
Life expectancy: 63 years
Religions: 95% Buddhist, 3% Muslim, 2% Christian