March 4, 2018 – Please pray for Finland
Finland is a sovereign state in Northern Europe. The country has land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east. To the south is the Gulf of Finland with Estonia on the opposite side. Finland is a Nordic country and, together with Scandinavia.
Finland’s population is 5.5 million (2016), and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. Written Finnish could be said to have existed since Mikael Agricola translated the New Testament into Finnish during the Protestant Reformation.
There are presently two national churches (as opposed to state churches): the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which is the primary state religion and represents 71% of the population (approximately 3.9 million members) by the end of 2017, and the Finnish Orthodox Church is an Episcopal church, to which about one percent of the population belongs. Those who officially belong to one of the two national churches have part of their taxes turned over to their church. People can also belong to one or more registered religious communities (there were 96 in 2013). Other religions practiced in Finland include Islam (about 60,000 in 2013) and Judaism. Prior to the 11th century, Finnish paganism was the primary religion.
Traditionally, the church has played a very important role in maintaining a population register in Finland. The vicars have maintained a church record of persons born, married and deceased in their parishes since at least the 1660s, constituting one of the oldest population records in Europe. This system was in place for over 300 years. It was only replaced by a computerized central population database in 1971, while the two state churches continued to maintain population registers in co-operation with the government’s local register offices until 1999, when the churches’ task was limited to only maintaining a membership register.
Between 1919 and 1970, a separate Civil Register was maintained of those who had no affiliation with either of the state churches. Currently, the centralized Population Information System records the person’s affiliation with a legally recognized religious community, if any. In 2003, the new Freedom of Religion Act made it possible to resign from religious communities in writing. That is, by letter, or any written form acceptable to authorities.
The above are from en.wikipedia.org. These statements have not been fact-checked and are only used here to help us gain a better understanding of this nation.
When I discovered Finland taxes those who are members of an organized church, I was surprised and questions begin to flood my mind. This is religious opposition by government. Thank God for the freedom we have to worship free of state and national involvement. I pray and hope there are many believers who secretly worship in homes.
1. Pray for the nation of Finland that many will serve Jesus without fear of the government.
2. Pray for the spiritual leaders of Finland to recognize the oppression by the government and for them to rise up and carry a message of change.
3. Pray for favor and faith for the believers in Jesus to share the Gospel and take whatever measure is required to worship in freedom.