The nation of Sri Lanka is grappling with its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948. The government has declared that it is no longer able to pay its foreign debt of $50 billion and it has failed to pay $78 million in debt interest. With depleted foreign reserves, it is seeking help from foreign nations in the amount of $75 million, which it needs within days in order to import essential goods for its people. It asked for further assistance for a period of a full year. The world’s leading credit agencies have officially declared this as a default in loan payment, which will further affect Sri Lanka’s investor ratings and devalue its currency.
Citizens are protesting against high prices brought about by an inflation of 30%, which as projected by the prime minister will rise to 40%. Food prices have tripled. Cafes have stopped serving milk tea, a staple product in Sri Lanka, due to soaring prices in milk. There is a shortage in medicine, fuel, and essential items, and regular 13-hour blackouts. Violent demonstrations are also frequent.
During a televised address, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe declared that they are down to the last day in its fuel supply and described their economy as “broken.” He added, “The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives.” However, he assured the people that there will be no hunger crisis.
It is the result of a combination of the effects of the pandemic and domestic religious terrorism on its tourist industry, as well as economic mismanagement. Tourism, Sri Lanka’s largest source of revenue, has dropped 90% since the pandemic. The World Bank, India, and China have all lent money as aid, but this sinks Sri Lanka further into debt in the long run.
In 2012, after years of working in the UAE, Jude Manickam and Sanjaya Kotuwegedara returned to Sri Lanka with a vision to reach the youth and plant a church in their home country. We now have a thriving church, whose members were reached on campus and former Buddhists. They were in the middle of a building project when the economic crisis hit.
Pastor Jude gave us this update: “Thank you for taking the time to pray for our nation. Sri Lanka is in a really bad situation. All 3 crises have hit us at the same time: political, economic, and social. Due to these reasons, our country has now filed for bankruptcy.
“People are really struggling even for their basic needs due to high inflation. Prices have increased tremendously. We have many hours of power cuts due to lack of fuel. Queues at fuel stations are kilometers long. We are also lacking cooking gas and essential medicines, because of which even hospitals are struggling to treat patients. All of this is due to a depreciation in foreign reserves.
“As a church we have really been looking into the needs of our members and providing those struggling with dry rations, such as rice, milk powder, tinned fish, dhal, and sugar. We have also been focusing on strengthening their faith during these times through our preaching series. In spite of all these difficult situations, we see this as an opportunity to preach the gospel, and we know that our God is faithful.”
Let us hold the ropes for our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters.
- Intercede for divine wisdom on the Sri Lankan government to repay its debts, restructure the economy, and provide basic necessities to its people. Pray for grace as it enters a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.
- Stand in the gap for the Sri Lankan people for what is expected to be the most difficult next few months of their lives. Pray that they turn to God as a people in this moment of crisis and need. Ask God for a spiritual awakening over the nation as they turn to God and as they encounter His miraculous provision.
- Pray for our Every Nation churches in Sri Lanka. Ask for wisdom and grace over our pastors and leaders as they impart faith and hope during this difficult time. Ask for divine provision for our church and its members. May they know and see God as Jehovah Jireh.
Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.
To learn more about the situation in Sri Lanka, you can check the news and resources in the links below.