So now we stand on the verge of yet another year. What lies ahead for the Danish church in 2023? What lies ahead for Denmark?
If you’ve been following the past year’s prayer requests in the Pray For Denmark blog, you’ll notice one word that stands out.
We pray for revival, that God would renew his church in this small land. That he would draw believers closer, and that he would draw unbelievers to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
But let’s be clear about our definition of true revival. As pastor and Christian commentator Tim Challies recently wrote, true revival is “supernatural, unexpected, deeply desired work of the Holy Spirit in which God’s people hunger for his Word and long for his glory. It is accompanied by an unusual sense of the presence of God, a deep awareness of sin, an overwhelming joy at forgiveness, and a passion to reach the lost.”
And revivals happen, as Challies reminded us, “when God deems them good and necessary, not when humans do.”
So this is what we pray for in Denmark. Not a human-manufactured version leveraged by technique or entertainment, but God-breathed and orchestrated. In every country village church, in every big-city gathering. In the schools and youth groups. In the places where a half-dozen faithful old people still gather, and the gyms where junior high kids laugh. Among recent immigrants, and among those who trace their Danish heritage back a thousand years. From the summer camps to the candles lit to the hygge of warm living rooms. From the tip of Skagen to the hundreds of islands to the cobblestone streets of market cities.
In the year to come we pray for nothing less than revival in God’s country of Denmark. We pray for revival among all 5,882,261 souls who make this lovely place their home.
Pray with us.
Hello, I am a devout, Bible-believing Christian from Australia with some Danish ancestry (my forebears emigrated out here in 1871). Thank you for your blog. I will definitely pray for the land of my forebears.
It is sad to see Denmark in such a spiritually-barren state.
Could you please give readers like myself some more context, though? When did Danes lose their faith? When did the state Lutheran church run off the rails? Was it due to the influence of German liberal theology in the 19th century, the cultural upheavals of the 1960s or something else? When did Lutherans stop teaching Luther's doctrines? When did Danes start drifting away from Biblical orthodoxy? When did they reach the tipping point where church attendance fell away and more and more people embraced atheism? Any background info will definitely help me in my prayers. Huge thanks in advance.
Christ be with you in 2023,
I thought I would add a little anecdote: I don't know if my Danes were particularly religious but the family into which their daughter (my great-grandmother) married certainly was.
However, there is one indication that they hopefully were a sincerely-devout family. The father (my great-great grandfather) was a very skilled craftsman and, after emigrating to Australia, he was invited to display some of his work at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. Whilst he was there, he purchased a huge Bible which he lugged back to Australia and inscribed as a gift for his wife. We still have it in our living room today as a family Bible.
Hi, David -- You're asking great questions. I'm no historian, but I'll answer as best I can. When did Danes lose their faith? I don't think it was the fault of German liberal theology or 1960s cultural upheavals. In fact, I don't believe there was a time when you could say that one generation in Denmark was faithful, and the next was not. Denmark has a long, long history, deeply rooted in paganism. And the echoes of this history continue even today. King Harald Bluetooth (in the 900s) declared Denmark a "Christian" country, but his declaration could no more save his people than does today's proclamation that every Dane who is baptized in the state church is a member of the church. Because being a church "member" saves no one! Less than five percent of Danes today attend church services regularly. (Not that church attendance necessarily means anything.) Taxes go to support the state church and pay the salaries of state church pastors. Most Danes still accept this system as part of their cultural heritage, but that's about as far as it goes. And that's the way it's been, for generations.
That's not to say that there are not a number of faithful believers in the country--there are! And there are signs that God is doing a work in the country that was unknown even a few decades ago. So at Pray for Denmark, we're dedicated to digging up the good news and posting what's happening so that concerned Christ-followers like you can keep praying for revival in this wonderful little country.
Thank you for the question, David. I hope that helps.
Robert Elmer, editor
Pray for Denmark
Thanks for taking the time to answer. I really appreciate it. Yes, I can understand how a top-down imposition of Christianity byy the monarch means it might not have taken deep roots in the hearts of the people. It is very sad.
I can more or less see an analogous situation in England: Protestantism is introduced by the king, not as a grassroots movement. We now see widespread atheism there and the Anglican Church is largely dominated by liberal Anglo-Catholics after the influence of William Laud, the Tractarians and more recently, liberal thinkers. Evangelical Protestants are now in the minority in the Anglican Church in its very heartland. :(
I have never had an opportunity to visit Denmark but, God willing, I hope I will have a opportunity to visit one day.
I will certainly pray for the land of my ancestors. It is very encouraging that you are starting to see some positive signs. Let us pray many Danes will yet be saved.
God bless you in your ongoing work. I will keep reading your blog.
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