Nathanael Somanathan from Sri Lanka

Dear Friends,

Thank you for praying with us this week for Nathanael Somanathan from Sri Lanka.

A large island just southeast of India, Sri Lanka has been a center of Buddhist scholarship and practice since the 3rd century. Today, 70% of the country’s 22 million people practice Buddhism, while 13% follow Hinduism, 10% Islam, and 7% Christianity (mostly Roman Catholicism). The teardrop-shaped island nation has seen plenty of tears in recent years: ethnic riots, the 2004 tsunami, 26 years of civil war, and financial crisis leading to protests that toppled a president this past summer. Join us in prayer for the people of Sri Lanka and for the Church’s continued witness and ministry amid food and fuel shortages and political crackdowns.

Nathanael is pursuing a PhD in Theology at the University of Birmingham (UK). His research focuses on theological perspectives on humanity and their implications for South Asian Buddhist contexts. Upon graduation, Nathanael will resume teaching at Colombo Theological Seminary (Sri Lanka), a client of the Vital SustainAbility InitiativeNathanael is married to Skyler.

Nathanael shares the following message:

My wife and I are currently in Birmingham, UK where I am pursuing a PhD in Theology at the University of Birmingham. 

My area of research is theological anthropology. I am particularly interested in exploring distinctive ways to conceptualize the human person for the South Asian context to address mounting anthropological concerns. This work is especially pertinent for the Sri Lankan context, which has experienced several crises in the last few years and a severe one recently.

The Easter attacks of 2019, the unforgiving pandemic in the following year, and the economic and political crisis that reached its apex in 2022 all weigh heavily on the Sri Lankan spirit. 

As you may have seen in the news, long lines for fuel and other basic necessities, regular power outages, and severe limitations on transportation have become the daily norm. Apart from physical and financial challenges, psychological and mental health challenges have also drastically increased for young and old Sri Lankans alike.

Although there have been some positive developments, there is still a long way to go toward recovery. Therefore, prayer is vital for the nation, for the Church, and for the poor and needy who have been most affected.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

1. Swift and urgent economic revitalization;

2. Significant change in the political system, such that the deep corruption of the leaders will be exposed and eradicated;

3. New and competent leaders who can bring about a new era of prosperity and change for Sri Lanka;

4. Physical and relational healing as Sri Lanka reckons with its bloody history and strains toward a renewed unity across ethnicities, religions, and languages;

5. The Church, that it will continue to preach and embody the gospel, diligently maintaining its witness as a prophetic voice.

Best regards,

Nathanael Somanathan

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