• Pray for courage for Bahraini believers to be lights in the darkness despite daily hostility.
• Pray for justice and support for foreign workers who endure abuse, harassment, poor pay, and long hours.
• Pray for increased opportunities for visiting Saudis and Kuwaitis to encounter the Gospel.
Like its Middle Eastern neighbors, the desert island nation of Bahrain finds its identity in its Arab-Islamic roots. But, upon entering this Arabian gulf state, one will immediately notice a more relaxed and moderate atmosphere. Women's faces are often unveiled, and churches for expatriate Christians are relatively common. With much exposure to other cultures' influences (the labor force is 59% foreign), Bahrain has become more ethnically and religiously diverse. Overall, Bahrain enjoys a greater openness to modernization and westernization than surrounding gulf nations.
The cultures of Babylon, Greece, Rome, Persia, and the Arabs have all played their part in Bahraini history. Known as the gateway between the East and West, Bahrain continues to draw people from around the world. It is truly a land of contrasts, with its modern and drastic skylines juxtaposed with ancient architecture. The first nation to discover oil within the gulf, Bahrain has enjoyed many years of prosperity. Due to decreasing oil amounts, though, Bahrain has been forced to diversify and has turned to petroleum processing and refining as well as becoming an international banking center. The supreme political authority comes from the King. Great tensions and even civil unrest have resulted from the conflict between the Sunni Muslim ruling family and Shia Muslim majority. Protests directed at the Bahraini government erupted in 2011 as Arabs throughout the region spoke out against their leaders and plight.
Bahrain sits in a strategic position among Arab gulf nations. With a greater sense of freedom, Bahrain has opened its doors to some Christian influence. Proselytism remains illegal, though, and local Christians struggle to freely practice their faith, some worshipping in secret. But with religious freedom for expatriate believers, one will find quite a few churches within these borders. With 83.2% of the population claiming to follow Islam and 9.8% claiming Christianity (predominantly foreigners), Bahrain still remains desperately in need of the Gospel.
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14
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Capital City: Manama
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Population: 1,248, 348
Major People Groups: 62.4% Bahraini, 37.6% non-Bahraini
Religion: 81.2% Muslim, 9% Christian, 9.8% Other
Language: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
GDP Per Capita: $27,300
Literacy Rate: 86.5%