From Bible times we know of Jordan as the home of Gideon and Ruth; the Kingdoms of Moab and Rabbath Ammon; and the cities of the Decapolis where Jesus preached.
Amazing Growth in Jordan
From an impoverished desert Kingdom 50 years ago, Jordan has grown to become an important crossroads in the Arab world. Wars between 1948 and 1974 and the recent Gulf War have brought 2 million Palestinians, outnumbering the native Jordanians. Since 1990 a further 400,000 Iraqis have fled to Jordan. With many Egyptian guest workers and visitors from the Gulf, Jordan is perhaps one of the most culturally diverse nations in the Middle East giving rise to both tensions and opportunities.
Though the majority of Jordan is Muslim (94%), churches are alive and growing, enjoying a strong Government commitment to freedom of religion. Twenty years ago it was unheard of for Muslims to come to Christ, however years of trouble (and much prayer) is bringing a new openness. Christians no longer ask, “How we can reach Muslims?”, but “How can we disciple the new believers?”
Jordan’s relative freedom and stability have made it possible for a lot of Christian literature and Bibles to be distributed and for the establishment of Bible correspondence courses. The media has been an effective means of communicating and promoting the Gospel. Pray for the government to continue allowing the use of media openly by Christians.
As possibly the only nation open to all Arabs, Jordan is becoming important in the training and preparation of new Christian leaders in the Arab world. Pray that Jordanian churches catch a vision of reaching the surrounding nations. As a popular holiday destination, Jordan annually hosts many Arabs, many of whom have never heard the Gospel. Pray for boldness and wisdom for the national church, that they would be able to bring the Good News to their visitors.
Prayer Guide for Jordan
* Pray for the large Palestinian and Iraqi communities. Pray that they would have opportunity to hear the Gospel and their hearts open to receive Christ.
* Pray for the important work of Bible and literature distribution and follow-up that serves in the Middle East.
* Over the years, Jordan has been a relatively stable nation in a difficult region. Pray for King Hussein whose moderation has helped build many bridges.
* Pray for churches as they overcome many years of hurt and fear to respond with love and faith for their Muslim neighbours.
Background on Jordan (World Factbook)
For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King HUSSEIN). A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, despite several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he reinstituted parliamentary elections and gradual political liberalization; in 1994 he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father’s death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. Beginning in January 2011 in the wake of unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, several thousand Jordanians staged weekly demonstrations and marches in Amman and other cities throughout Jordan to protest government corruption, rising prices, rampant poverty, and high unemployment. In response, King Abdallah replaced his prime minister and formed a National Dialogue Commission with a reform mandate. Some opposition groups also call for sweeping political and constitutional reforms, particularly on a controversial election law.
Economy of Jordan
Jordan is a small Arab country with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources. Poverty, unemployment, and inflation are fundamental problems, but King ABDALLAH, since assuming the throne in 1999, has undertaken some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards. Jordan’s export market, which is heavily dependent on exports to Iraq, was affected by the war but recovered quickly while contributing to the Iraq recovery effort.
Statistics on Jordan
Population: 6,508,887 (July 2012 est.) World rank # 104
Life Expectancy at Birth: 80.18 years. World rank #29
Ethnic groups: Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
Religions: Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shi’a Muslim and Druze populations)
Languages: Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
Literacy: 92.6% — Male: 95.8%, Female: 89.2%
School life expectancy: 13 years
Amman, Jordan – Video
Sights and Sounds from Amman, capital of Jordan, Middle East