Buried beneath the soil of the streets and fields of Europe – and often in such shallow ditches that they spring up all too easily – lie many dark forces of authoritarian Fascism, inveterate racism and anti-Semitism, with communism (mainly in the eastern half of the continent) deepening the waters and speeding the flow of such dark streams.
As you know, I love focusing our attention on particular countries in prayer. At this time when the Baltic states are in a great state of alarm, it may seem somewhat of a tangent to focus on Hungary, given that it is one of the least likely candidates to be on the receiving end of Russian aggression. Nevertheless, I thought that some of you might be interested in knowing a little more about this landlocked country, long run by a man with strong ties to Russia and considerable antipathy towards Brussels.
Hungary was the first nation to break free of the Soviet bloc, but the spiritual openness that was widely felt at the time has long since passed, and many suffer from feelings of disappointment and even hopelessness beneath its post-modernist exterior. Let those with a heart to do so pray for many to experience a greater desire to seek the Lord and the freedom that comes in knowing and serving Him.
During the Second World War, Hungary aligned itself with the Nazis, and introducing anti-Semitic laws. That was followed by a period of considerable oppression under a communist regime. In the autumn of 1956, a general uprising toward greater democratic freedoms was brutally suppressed by Russia, and thousands were killed as the tanks rolled in. Another quarter of a million people fled the country.
A young villager called Viktor Orbán began to rise to prominence, persuading his countrymen that the nation could unite and throw off the Russian repression and, whilst still very young, he was elected Prime minister. At that time, he was all in favour of democratic reforms and a free press. As so often happens, though, the instinct to preserve his position in power gradually became the driving force in his life, and he and his rich cronies bought up virtually all the press and media outlets.
Power often induces paranoia and Orbán began inventing enemies where there were none, and making spurious claims that Hungary was the victim of threats from (largely non-existent) Muslim migrants and unfair demands from the EU. Beliefs such as these, of course, have made it hard for Brussels to know how to deal with both it and Poland. Orbán has since begun clamping down on other political forms of expression, assuming the authoritarian powers he once railed against, and boasting that he presides over an ‘illiberal’ democracy, and taking a strong stance against migrants passing through the country’s borders.
Hungary is almost entirely dependent on Russian energy. Given his close relationship with Vladimir Putin, it has been something of a miracle that Orbán has consented to be part of a number of united European measures to oppose what Russia has done in Ukraine, permitting NATO materiel to travel through the country, as well as allowing refugees from Ukraine.
And also a brief but excellent chapter about Hungary in Rory Maclean’s highly acclaimed travelogue / overview of many of the contemporary forces at work across Europe in Pravda ha ha. (For a brief overview of his book, see this review.
I dedicated an article to prayer for Hungary on our blog back in 2015. Some of you might like to revisit this as it included a detailed guide to praying for a country where widespread dissatisfaction and disillusionment is causing many to seek answers in hedonism, materialism and alcohol, with false religions, cult activity and particularly eastern mysticism apparently overcoming its Christian roots. There has long been a dearth of Christian leadership in the country and Operation World stresses the importance of prayer concerning this, and for a great strengthening and increase of the renewal movements that do exist.
Let’s join in this brief video prayer cast for Hungary and then go on to pray our own prayers for it.