Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
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The Global Prayer Digest is a daily devotional encouraging prayer for Unreached Peoples. A ministry of Frontier Ventures (formerly the US Center for World Mission), this devotional is available as a daily subscription from the GPD website (see link above).
Keith Carey, the editor-in-chief of the Global Prayer Digest, has graciously given me permission to post their daily devotions here in order to encourage more prayer for the Unreached Peoples. Please join in the prayer for the gospel to go to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14). If you find these devotions helpful, you can subscribe to their daily e-mail or to the printed publication - or just check them out here on Pray.Network! Past monthly issues of the GPD are also available on their site.
Sikandra overheard a missionary talking about a strange new God; he was intrigued and wanted to know more. He accepted Christ and boldly won his extended family to the savior. His own people, the Marwari Khadali, rejected him. How could someone leave the gods of their fathers and accept this foreign God? They would not listen to him. As we taught him each week we shared the authority he had through Christ and encouraged him that prayer was the key. God would make a way for him to share.
It was harvest time and everyone except the elderly and the very young were in the fields cutting wheat. By God’s providence, Sikandar was not in the fields. The village homes of mud walls and thatched roofs were close together and in the middle were two large stacks of kindling wood. A man walking through the village dropped his lighted cigarette near the kindling. The fire roared through the village consuming trees and jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Children and the elderly were screaming. Seeing the devastation, Sikandar was overwhelmed by the impossible situation. He simply raised his arms and yelled, “Jesus, stop this fire!” The fire stopped immediately – leaving half burned roofs. People came from miles to see this and Sikandar was able to share with them about a God who could do the impossible.
Pray for a Disciple-Making Movement to spread like wildfire throughout Marwari Khadali communities.
Mark 6:12-13, NLV
Then they left. They preached that men should be sorry for their sins and turn from them. They put out many demons. They poured oil on many people that were sick and healed them.
Pray for many new disciples to be empowered by faith and the Holy Spirit to emerge among the Marwari Khadali people this year.
Though the sunrise was beautiful that morning, we were greatly saddened. Many from the Vagari tribe near Karachi were worshipping the sun. They said that they had been taught that it was right to worship it for it had great power over us and gave life to everything on earth. I had to admit that was right, but I asked the question, “Who made the sun? It did not just happen, but the sun was created.” They did not have an answer for that.
We later found out that the Vagari men exchange their wives, using them as pawns for sexual pleasure. How could we, as visitors, teach them about what Christ has taught us through His word? They are a needy but spiritually responsive tribe who need follow up teaching and fellowship to grow in the ways of Jesus Christ.
There are 20,000 Vagaris, and the only believers are from one family. That family invited us to come, and they led us and others in worship. We preached about Jesus and sang songs about our savior.
Pray that this family will lovingly teach others the way of the One who created the sun they worship, the same God who gave Jesus to die to pay for their sins. Pray for many from the Vagari people to learn about Him and disciple others so that they can live life to the full, just as Jesus offered.
Deut 4:19, NLV
Be careful not to lift up your eyes toward heaven and see the sun and moon and stars, all the things of heaven, and be pulled away and worship them and serve them. The Lord your God has given these things to all the nations under the whole heavens.
Pray for the Vagari people to have a healthy fear of the living God that will cause them to worship Him alone.
Khatu was a strikingly beautiful woman, and her husband was one of the Sindhi Meghwal tribal leaders. In spite of outward beauty, she was oppressed by all the demonic spirits and beliefs that Satan had brought into her early life. She had only heard of gods of hate, wrath, and death. I often shared Christ with her husband, but culture dictated that I could not talk to her.
Yet she sometimes followed me from village to village, so one day I asked her why. She replied, “Because I want to hear about the love of Jesus again.” Later in the conversation I asked if she believed Jesus is real. “Oh yes. He is the most powerful. I have seen Him perform miracles in answer to your prayers.” I asked if she was ready to accept Jesus. Tears ran down my face when she answered, “I am a woman. I do not have a soul.” Lots of teaching followed sharing how much Jesus loved her, a woman. With tears streaming down her face, she cried out, “Jesus, if you have given me a soul, please come right into the middle of me. I want to accept you.”
Rescued from Satan’s lies, she was the first woman believer among her rejected and lost people, the Sindhi Meghwals.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts of many men and especially women among this people group this decade.
Jn 4:28-30, NLV
The woman left her water jar and went into the town. She said to the men, “Come and see a Man who told me everything I ever did! Can this be the Christ?” They went out of town and came to Him.
Pray for Pakistani Hindu women, who are taught that they don’t matter. May they be bold to risk everything to share the Savior after they meet Him.
The Roman Catholics have concentrated their evangelistic efforts on the Parkari Kohlis and have a girls’ boarding school in Pakistan for them. They have been quite successful and have a growing church.
One Protestant Parkari evangelist, Megh Raj, worked in Badin. His teenage daughter attended our Protestant boarding school in Hyderabad, Pakistan. She had been named “Rubbish” in Parkari in an attempt to fool evil spirits into believing that she was not valuable. Much to her parent’s alarm she gradually lost her ability to walk. Medical testing revealed that she had an inoperable cancerous cyst in her spine. The family moved to a small village close to our mission hospital. Her first wish was to be baptized and change her name to Maryam, the mother of Jesus. She steadily grew in spirit.
We contacted Joni Ericsson who provided her with a wheelchair and wrote encouraging letters to her. As Maryam grew weaker, she pleaded with her father, “Please take me with you to visit all our non-Christian relatives so we can urge them to believe in Jesus!” Maryam had the joy of sharing her faith until she peacefully went to be with Jesus.
There are about 500 believers among the Parkari Kohlis; pray that the Lord will raise up many of them to joyfully go to their neighbors and share what the Lord can do for them.
Jer 9:23-24, NIV
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
Pray that many from the Parkari Kohli people will put their identity and trust in the Lord, and Him alone!
Rana and Sita were trophies of God’s grace! As youths living in the northern Sindh Province they came to saving faith in Christ. As is customary they were given Christian names and known to us as Timotheus and Martha. Although described geographically as Khadali, they were of the sub tribe of Jhaktia (Timotheus) and Lirieani (Martha). It is a strong cultural tradition for marriage arrangements always to be made with a girl of a different sub tribe, yet always within the framework of the main tribe, in this case, the Marwari Bhils. There are some 40 sub tribes of Marwari Bhils. The vast majority of Marwari Bhil believers are from the Lieriea, Jhaktia or Malkhat sub castes. We need to pray for believers from all 40 sub tribes.
Rana Timotheus was one of the first to come to faith. He learned skills as a bricklayer, which is unusual for a Marwari. He and Martha regularly received teaching as we visited them in their village home. They moved to a settlement in southern Punjab. With a deep love for the Lord and desire to serve, they were asked to serve as hostel parents to care for Marwari boys who were chosen to attend a local Christian school. Latter in retirement Timotheus served as a village church pastor near Daharki.
Thank the Lord for those Marwari Bhils willing to serve Him! Pray for a Disciple-Making Movement among every Marwari Bhil sub tribe.
Is 60:17, NLV
I will exchange your bronze for gold, your iron for silver, your wood for bronze, and your stones for iron. I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler.
May this be our prayer for the Khadali Marwari Bhils today!
The Ugnia group of Marwari Bhils are very different culturally from other Bhil peoples. They do not mix socially, and they do not intermarry with other Bhil sub tribes. I know of virtually none from the Ugnia group who have come to faith in Christ.
In the 1980s I came to know a Ugnia Bhil family. One family member was a young man named Mohan who lived in a village near the northern Sindh Province town of Daharki. Despite efforts to make contacts with these people there seemed no way to bring them under the influence of Christ. Mohan himself did come to profess faith, and there was a little contact with him for several years. He somehow improved his social standing and received an education. He went for teacher’s training and got a job as a teacher in a primary school. But he had psychological problems and lost his job.
Sadly, this seems typical of this group. Not only are they outcasts in a world of Islam, but also outcasts within their own Marwari Bhils. The contact with Mohan was lost and as far as I know there was no lasting work within his family or with others from the Ugnia Marwari Bhils. We must pray for the light to penetrate this people group whom God dearly loves.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to penetrate the Ugnia Marwari Bhil community with His light. Pray for many disciples among them.
Jn 4:9, NLV
The woman of Samaria said to Him, “You are a Jew. I am of Samaria. Why do you ask me for a drink when the Jews have nothing to do with the people of Samaria?”
Pray that the Lord will do the impossible by bringing together various peoples in Pakistan just as He brought this Samaritan to the Jewish savior, Jesus.
Akbar, a tailor from the Marwari Bhatipa people and a new believer, was rejected by his tribe when he accepted Christ. Customers no longer came to him. How was he to care for his wife and children? Then his wife died. With difficulty, he was able to remarry, but this woman did not share his faith. The tribe hoped she would pull him back into the old religion.
He met weekly with other believers for prayer and teaching and eventually his wife and other extended family members came to Christ. People began to return to him for their tailoring needs. Even Muslims used his skills to make special wedding and festive-occasion clothes.
His four older sons followed their father and became exceptional tailors. It was time to make marriage arrangements for them. Having experienced so many problems with his second wife being an unbeliever, he was determined to find Christian girls for his sons.
We made arrangements for him to meet with Christian families from two other tribes who had daughters for whom they were seeking husbands. To us it seemed the ideal answer. But none of the families were willing to cross that caste barrier. Unless believers marry other believers, it is very difficult for them and the next generation to follow the Lord.
Pray for the Marwari Bhatipas to be able to find Christian mates. Pray believers in other ethnic groups will be able to find spouses who follow the Lord.
1 Kings 16:31, NLV
He thought it was a small thing to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. He married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. Then he went to serve the false god Baal and worshiped him.
Pray for Marwari Bhatipa marriages to reflect the character and deeds of the servant King rather than the wayward kings of Israel.
Weddings, funerals, the birth of a baby; All are observed by various cultural traditions, including the unreached Hindu people groups in this issue.
For example, after the birth of a baby the mother must remain in her house for six days. She then emerges, sits in front of religious leaders, and worships the sun. This is expected to bring blessing and health to the newborn baby. Other festivals have some very demonic rituals that tie them to the evil one.
We asked those who had become believers whether their culture or obedience to God was more important. They found that hard to answer. These rituals have a strong grip on them.
We wrote down every detail that takes place in each ceremony. Then we asked believers what glorified God and what brought glory and honor to evil spirits. We replaced those elements that exalted Satan with something honoring to God, something people were happy with and would recognize.
I remember the first time we performed a Christian wedding ceremony. Weddings last several days and nights in their cultures. The last morning the tribal leaders came to talk to me. How surprised I was when they said that rather than changing their culture, this helped them understand the meaning of marriage for the first time. Christians now wanted to use this ceremony.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will use local cultural traditions that help Hindus understand the redemptive work of Christ.
Acts 18:9-10, NLV
Paul saw the Lord in a dream one night. He said to Paul, “Do not be afraid. Keep speaking. Do not close your mouth. I am with you. No one will hurt you. I have many people in this city who belong to me.”
Pray that there will be many people who are “His” in the towns and cities of Pakistan when believers go to share Christ.
Pastor Chagan John invited us to accompany him to a Mayvasi Kohli wedding. When we arrived, he asked to see the bride so we could pray for her. When he found that the bride was not the oldest sibling he asked why she was being married first, since that was the custom among the Mayvasy Kohli people.
They told us the sad story about Rudhi, her older sister, who was crippled. For the last six months she has had this disease and has been unable to walk. They had taken her to the best doctors and had bought the best charms and amulets to heal her, but to no avail. But they said we were welcome to pray for her.
Rudhi was brought out to this open room and placed on a mat in the center. We began praying for her. Suddenly Pastor Chagan said to Rudhi, “Stand up and walk.” We were very amazed at this; what if she couldn’t walk? As Pastor Chagan took her hand, she stood up and began walking! People asked us to pray for them as well. As a result, Rudhi and her family were baptized.
There are about 30,000. Mayvasi Kohlis, but only about 20 believers among them.
Pray for many from the Mayvasy Kohli people to put all their faith in Jesus Christ.
Jn 2:11, NLV
This was the first powerful work Jesus did. It was done in Cana of Galilee where He showed His power. His followers put their trust in Him.
Pray that weddings will be places where Jesus shows His power among the peoples of Pakistan.
Paru was a tall lanky farmer from the Dhati Bhil tribe in the desert area of Pakistan. He was about 35 years old with a friendly personality and a ready smile for everyone. Paru had a serious case of tuberculosis that was treated at the Kunri Christian Hospital. One lung had to be removed, but he healed and was able to return to normal life in his village.
Paru was charged very little at the hospital, and more important than that he heard the good news of the savior there. After hearing about Jesus, he wanted to become His follower. There were others who wanted to be baptized along with Paru and his wife and their family. So when they confessed Christ, there were four others who joined them.
What we are describing is the beginning of what the great mission thinker, Donald McGavran, called a “people movement.” Outside of the West, people make their decisions in groups. These group decisions are usually decided by clan, village or tribal leaders. It is much less likely to have a people movement snuffed out by persecution if several families join together to follow Christ.
Today, the Dhati Bhil tribe numbers about 75,000, and about 50 of their families follow Christ. This people group is open to the gospel, and there is a good chance that other families will do the same, if someone goes to them.
Pray for workers!
Acts 16:32-34, NLV
Then Paul spoke the word of God to him and his family. It was late at night, but the man who watched the prison took Paul and Silas in and washed the places on their bodies where they were hurt. Right then he and his family were baptized. He took Paul and Silas to his house and gave them food. He and all his family were full of joy for having put their trust in God.
Pray for many Bhil families to come to Christ as eagerly as this Roman family did 2,000 years ago.
Teku sat beside the road crying uncontrollably. I stopped to ask him what was wrong. “My silver and gold idols have been stolen from my worshipping place. I have lost all my wealth and influence as a religious leader.” I told him about Jesus who could not be stolen. For several months he followed me to hear more about the creator of the world who had more power than his man-made idols. One day he and his family accepted Christ.
In the coming years Teku suffered much persecution from his tribe, but his faith never wavered. His Jodhpuri Meghwals people saw God do miracles – even healing his cow whom they considered to be sacred.
Teku was not healthy, but he drove himself night and day to share Jesus with his people. He had the spiritual gifts of faith and miracles. One day he became ill and lay unconscious. As he died he suddenly sat up in bed and began talking to Jesus. Teku had repeatedly shared that Jesus would take him straight to heaven when he died, and he would not be reincarnated. It rained during his funeral. Later Jodhpuri Meghwal leaders told me that they had a belief that if it rained on the body that was a sign he had gone straight to heaven.
Pray that others from the Meghwal Jodhpuri people might come to the miracle-performing Jesus and be discipled in His ways.
Mark 16:17-18, NLV
These special powerful works will be done by those who have put their trust in me. In my name they will cast out demons. They will speak with languages they have never learned. They will pick up snakes. If they drink any poison, it will not hurt them. They will put their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.
Pray that the Jodhpuri Meghwal people will put all their trust in Jesus Christ, whether or not they see miracles in their daily lives. Pray that they will understand that forgiveness of sin is itself a miracle.
The Sindhi Bhils are a fairly large group in Pakistan’s Sindh Province, and they are responding to the gospel. By 1996 there were 34 families who were fairly active members of our Kunri Ashram Church, despite the fact it is far from most of their homes. They have an active Sindhi Bhil community, and we needed to have a fulltime evangelist to hold regular worship for them in their own language.
A young man named Jam was in eighth grade and doing well. We watched and waited for him to grow in spiritual maturity. After he graduated we approached him about working for us as an evangelist. He became part of our team of evangelists. He needed Bible training, so we sent him to our Bible School in Mirpurkhas. He did well there, and we were encouraged. We began training him in leading worship and evangelizing his neighbors. We were happy with his progress and his desire to serve as an evangelist to his own Sindhi people. Most of them are still unreached. We have only a few Sindhi Bhils believers among thousands of Hindus, but the door is open and they are responding. There are about 50,000 Sindhi Bhils, but only about 50 believers among them.
We need prayer and more workers who will share God’s love with these dear people. Pray for a Disciple-Making Movement to flourish among this people group.
1 Tim 4:12, NLV
Let no one show little respect for you because you are young. Show other Christians how to live by your life. They should be able to follow you in the way you talk and in what you do. Show them how to live in faith and in love and in holy living.
Pray that the Lord will raise up many young, Holy Spirit-filled evangelists and pastors to minister to the Sindhi Bhil people of Pakistan.