In This City is a challenge to journey with us in prayer for 12 key cities in 2019. We ask you to commit to praying for fruit that will ripen and bear the seeds for mature, vibrant and multiplying churches across the Arab world. Find out more in this article from the leader of Pioneers’ Middle East Region.
With more than fifty per cent of Jordan’s population residing in its vicinity, Amman is the heartbeat of Jordan.
Known as Rabbath Ammon in the Old Testament, and later as Philadelphia in the New Testament, Amman continues to be a key capital city in politics, culture, development and stability within the Levant.
During the recent decades of conflict and war throughout the Middle East, Amman has remained stable and secure, opening its doors to various waves of refugees. This openness is a national extension of the warm hospitality for which Jordanians are famous.
In spite of great openness, Amman has reached a point where the general populace feels overextended and is less willing to receive others. Continual economic challenges brought on by years of regional conflict and large influxes of refugees have led to a growing unease among the population.
Population: >5 million
Religion: Muslim (97.2%), Christian (2.2%), Other (0.6%)
Ethnic groups: Mainly Arab (Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi, etc). Small numbers of Circassian, Armenian and Chechen.
Geographical size: 648 sq miles / 1680 sq kilometres
Location: Northwest Jordan
Key historical events: Inhabited from as early as 3500 BC. Known as Rabbath Ammon, capital of Ammonites, 13th century BC. Rebuilt and renamed Philadelphia during 3rd century BC. Conquered by Rashidun army (first Islamic caliphate) and renamed Amman, AD 630s. Annexed by Ottoman Empire, 1516. Captured by British and Hashemite Arab armies, 1918. Named capital of Emirate of Transjordan (later Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), 1921. Large influx of Palestinian refugees following Arab-Israeli War, 1948 and Six-Day War, 1967. Large influx of refugees following Gulf War, 1991 and Syrian Civil War, 2011-present.
Large waves of refugees have almost doubled the population of Amman in twenty years, and the city is now struggling to balance its limited resources and economic opportunities. Prices of commodities and rent have risen significantly, while job opportunities have greatly diminished. There is an undercurrent of unrest and dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the refugees, and reconciling people’s expectations with the reality of the situation will be an ongoing challenge for Amman’s future.
As with many other urban Islamic cities, Amman is displaying greater levels of sensitivity to the gospel. Disillusionment, following the Arab Spring and emergence of ISIS, has led many people to ask questions. Discussions are taking place on spiritual and societal topics in ways that have never been seen before.
However, the challenge remains for many seekers to engage in depth with believers, to be discipled regularly, and to find ways of gathering with a community of believers. Cultural, community and governmental pressures are substantial.
Consumerism and materialism also directly affect the attention and willingness of seekers, providing new obstacles for those who seek to share the gospel.
For many years, Amman has been a primary location for Arabic language learners before their transition to a long-term location. Pray for more workers to come and join teams here.
- Amman will continue to be stable and secure in the midst of its current challenges.
- The growing number of sincere seekers will find ways to hear the gospel. May the Lord embolden local and foreign believers to share clearly. May he guide seekers to resources (both on and offline) and make it possible for them to request follow-up through media.
- New teams will establish ministry efforts with long-term potential for their geographical area or people group. May God provide them with wisdom, diligence, perseverance and tenacity to overcome obstacles.
- The Lord will continue to strengthen the historical church in its witness as well as interaction with various refugee populations. He has awakened the local church to new levels of service in recent years, so may it be empowered to continue as the Syrian refugees begin returning to their home country.
- The Lord will lead the growing networks of believers from a Muslim background to take greater strides in sharing and discipling new seekers. Pray that leaders in these networks will emerge and step up to provide vision and encouragement towards new levels of engagement with their families and communities.
One last thing…
Our colleagues write:
‘As you walk through the streets of Amman, you will hear the common refrain from shopkeepers and residents, “Tafadal, tafadal”, which means, “Welcome. Come in”. These words characterise Jordanian hospitality towards both longtime friends and strangers.
‘For a city that continues to extend great hospitality, we desire that the people of Amman hear the loving refrain of the Lord Jesus, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB).’
Thank you for praying with us
Next month we pray for Sohar in Oman.