France, western Europe's largest nation, borders seven other countries: Spain, Andorra, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Population is 60 million. Major cities include Paris (11m), Marseille (1.5m), Lyon (1.3m), and Lille (1m). Indigenous minorities (over 9%) include Breton, Occitan, Alsatian, Provençal, Flemish, Basque, Corsican, Catalan sub-cultures. One quarter of the 2 million Bretons speak Breton as a first language. French is spoken by 130 million people worldwide, especially in Africa.
On the religious side, although 68% identify themselves as Christian, principally Catholics, church attendance is extremely low. Evangelicals constitute less than 1% of all French citizens. Strict anti-sect laws make it difficult for authentic Christians to operate freely in France.
As you pray today for France, please keep in mind also the following (excerpted from Operation World, 2003 edition):
'The French Revolution in 1789-1801 was one of the defining moments of world history. While some good came from this upheaval, it also spawned much violence, desires for world domination, the deification of humanism and ultimately the ideologies that distorted world history for 200 years and only ended with the collapse of European Communism in 1989. The effects of that cataclysm still deeply affect French attitudes to themselves, other nations and to Christianity itself.'
Keep in mind also 'the insensitivity of Anglophone nations, especially England and the USA. Evangelical Christianity is seen as an Anglo-Saxon imposition on France together with the cultural, linguistic, and economic 'imperialisms' perceived to be eroding the French way of life.'
Finally, be aware of 'the surprisingly widespread involvement with occult practices. The 50,000 full-time practitioners of these black arts outnumber the 35,000 known Christian workers. Every level of society is involved, with its inevitable spiritual impact.'
As you pray for France, please also say a prayer for the Christian community of 150 persons I recently visited in Paris. Brothers and sisters sound in mind, heart, and doctrine are holding the torch and keeping the faith. Remember them.
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