Today the Brazilian church is undergoing a monumental awakening of sound doctrine and the growth of healthy churches in several regions. There is no denying that God is at work in the nation.
Brazil, however, is a country with a syncretistic religious population and a history of social unrest. As a native Brazilian, I have seen many seeds planted that are now bearing fruit. Despite all of this growth, there is much to be done.
Conservative estimates say there are over 65 million evangelical Christians in the nation spread across several hundred denominations. Therefore, our church’s needs are much larger than the prayer points I will be suggesting. Still, I hope to offer a helpful blueprint based on guiding principles from Scripture, social and cultural trends, and my own experiences.
Ways to Pray for the Brazilian Church
However, before outlining these, I would sincerely thank you for taking the time to lift up our people in prayer. God only knows how far the ripples of these intercessions will reach as a result of his answers to prayer (James 5:16). Please pray for our growth in godliness, social witness, missions, and unity.
Pray for the Brazilian Church to Prioritize Discipleship
You may not know this, but the world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer is more than a post card for the country. It captures much of our religious culture that is manifested in everyday conversations, TV broadcasting, and family relationships. Christian jargon, symbols, and a generic belief in God are present in most circles.
Yet, most Brazilians have a significant tendency toward superficial commitments to faith and their local church. Though this is by no means a unique trait for Brazil, large numbers of our people mistake their occasional church attendance, Christian family ties, or general belief in God with living the Christian life. This means that discipleship is needed yet rare. While new resources are being made available to assist in filling this void, there is a great need in our country.
Pray that God would call and empower more workers to labor in discipleship among his people (Matthew 28:20). Please pray that we would call nominal believers to repentance and genuine faith in Christ, faithful service to their local church, and a vibrant relationship with God through Christ.
Pray for the Unreached in Brazil
From my personal experience, many Brazilian believers have little to no knowledge of the amount of lost people groups within our national borders. According to the Joshua Project, there are over 120,000 unreached people spread across 49 different groups. Most of them are located in hard-to-reach forest areas. Still, it is a shocking number if you contrast it with the large size of the Brazilian church. Just imagine if the church were wholly mobilized towards missions within its own borders (Luke 10:2). What a glorious vision!
In recent years, governmental policies have added difficulties to an already challenging task by making it extremely hard to obtain permits for pastors and missionaries to reach indigenous tribes and villages. In 2021, the Brazilian Supreme Court made the headlines by adding yet another significant barrier. The iconic decision strictly forbade all mission work among unreached people groups under the reasoning of risks related to COVID-19.
Pray that (1) God would soften the heart of government officials to allow missionary work to advance among the unreached, and that (2) Brazilian believers would have a heart for missions in their own nation among the unreached by giving, going, and praying.
Pray for the Younger Generations of Brazilians
In light of recent Western cultural tendencies of secularization, many people from younger generations in Brazil have a suspicious view of the church, as if it represented a bygone age of unreasonable customs and unloving practices. This could not be further from the truth of the gospel. There is a real need to reach such people inside and outside our church doors.
Pray that God would (1) awaken Christian parents to their privilege of teaching the gospel in the safety of their homes; (2) call student believers in schools and colleges across the country to witness boldly and lovingly even while facing opposition; (3) raise evangelists to herald the biblical gospel online and through social media.
Pray for Our Social Witness in Times of Unrest
Brazilian society has undergone social and political polarization in recent years, as in most Western nations. This situation has left many Christians fearful, concerned, and reluctant to share their faith publicly with unbelievers. This is a dreadful reality that has reached believers in the remotest areas of the country.
We need the courage to hold to our convictions, as our people are in dire need of overcoming (often misplaced) shame (2 Timothy 1:7). In Brazil, we face the temptation to minimize controversial doctrinal points, or to hold them fast without explaining the goodness of God’s will and design. This trial becomes even more concerning in light of the low levels of biblical and theological literacy, even among pastors and leaders.
Pray for pastors and leaders as they face social pressure to be silent over controversial biblical issues regarding human life, sexuality, and family. Pray that church members would be loving, genuine, and faithful to God in their dealings with unbelievers. Please pray that God would bless and guide our governmental leaders toward the common good and minimize unrest in the upcoming election season (2 Timothy 2:1–3).
Pray that Brazilians will Actively Love their Local Churches
Despite the genuine growth of Bible-believing churches across the country, many believers have had negative experiences within their churches. Unfortunately, it often translates into a litany of unchurched people who still want to identify with Christ while denying any association with his bride (John 13:35).
In my conversations with pastors and others, this “movement of the unchurched” has presented itself as a real concern. The honor and reputation of the bride of Christ is oftentimes more harshly attacked by professing believers than unbelievers. It goes without saying how hurtful this is to the cause of the kingdom. For many pastors, it is an ongoing challenge to reach this demographic of isolated, professing Christians who may or may not be regenerate.
Pray that God would soften the hearts of professing Christians to see their local churches as Christ sees them—with tender love. Pray that God would strengthen pastors to not give up on cynical and frustrated weak believers who need to be taught to forgive, be patient, and love well (Romans 12:10).
My Prayer for The Global Church
As you pray for the Brazilian church, my desire is for you to be encouraged that despite the hardships, Christ’s church is going forward and growing tremendously in our land.
Our green grass is brimming with hope. As the seed of the gospel is sown daily in multiple hearts, the tropical sun is shining over pulpits ablaze with the gospel every Sunday. God is raising up preachers, authors, and evangelists to spread his message of radical love. May hope fuel your prayers that God’s kingdom would come—for the sake of Brazil and beyond—for His glory and our joy (Matt. 6:10).