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.
After years of language study, cultural learning and preparation for what we (missionaries) thought were appropriate Bible stories for the groups we were working with, the Christians were heartbroken to find out that Bhaget people considered the salvation message nonsense! Their religious communication takes place through music and if you, the story teller, do not consider it worthy of putting to music, then why should anyone listen to it?
Each people group has its own Bhagets, traveling religious communicators who always put their stories to music in their own language.
If we were to successfully communicate the message of Christ to these people, we had to become like the Bhagets. Bible stories, teaching and memory verses all must be put to music so they are given credibility. When we did this, it was amazing to see the openness to what God was saying to them through their own way of communicating. God has used some especially gifted missionaries and local believers to tell the good news in this culturally acceptable way.
Pray for the Lord to raise up hundreds of Bhagets for His purposes. Pray for Bhagets to put their faith entirely in Jesus Christ and tell of His glory to thousands. Pray for missionaries writers to put God’s word to music.
Ps 150:4-6, NLV
Praise Him with timbrels and dancing. Praise Him with strings and horns. Praise Him with loud sounds. Praise Him with loud and clear sounds. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Pray for the Hindus of Pakistan to express their devotion to Jesus through music and dance, so that all may understand what they might miss through other evangelistic means.
“These are new songs!” said Bejal to Kaara, a traveling musician. “Where did you learn them and who is this new guru, Jesus, that you are singing about?” After completing his repertoire of Hindu songs, Kaara had started singing Christian songs he had learned from a missionary. Kaara had chosen Jesus as his guru but continued his career as a village singer.
Bejal was intrigued by these songs. He said, “Stay with us a few days and sing more songs about this new guru.” So Kaara stayed and the whole village listened to the songs with interest. This illustrates the importance of music in teaching the gospel message. People gravitate to music from their own culture. In fact, St. Patrick, the 5th century missionary, won all of Ireland to Christ largely by using music.
Bejal went with Kaara to the town of Matli where he met the missionary. After more teaching he wanted to be baptized. As a result, 110 in his village were baptized. These were the first believers in the Kachi Kohli tribe. At present there are about 1,000 Kachi Kohli believers out of a tribe of about 50,000.
Thank the Lord for these new members of the heavenly family! Pray for them to be used by God to disciple people from other people groups with the truth. Pray for many to take the gospel to rural Pakistan through songs and dramas.
Ps 149:3, NLV
Let them praise His name with dancing. Let them sing praises to Him with timbrels and a harp.
Pray for joyful, worshipful music to fill the hearts of the Kachi Kohli people of Pakistan.
Punna Lal, a young Tharadari Kohli living in Sindh, Pakistan, had learned much Hindu teaching from his father, a well-known and respected Hindu leader. Punna Lal had been attracted to believe in Jesus and had been baptized. This infuriated many of his father's disciples, but Punna Lal was able to give convincing proofs of the superiority of Christ to Hindu mythological heroes.
One village leader had never met Punna Lal, but he vowed that he would hunt him down and kill him. When Punna Lal heard this, he hunted his enemy up and said, “I heard that you wanted to kill me. I wanted to spare you the trouble of hunting me down. Here I am. You can keep your vow now.” The man fell down before him, weeping and asking forgiveness.
Boldness and love go a long way towards softening hard hearts that oppose Christ. In some cases, such a situation would result in the evangelist being killed, but in others, it can result in people surrendering to Christ.
Punna Lal has become the first pastor of the Tharadari Kohli tribe that numbers approximately 30,000 with about 200 believers. Pray for thousands to hear of His mercy, and give Him their hearts, like the man described above. Pray for them to be discipled by those who love the merciful Lord.
Acts 7:59-60, NLV
While they threw stones at Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” After that he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will raise up many believers in Pakistan who will willingly face injustice and even death for the sake of Christ.
The low caste Balmikis are scattered widely throughout the Punjab and Sindh where they work as sweepers. Some have worked hard, gained an education, and found employment higher up in society. Balmikis are Hindus, and they seem to have little spiritual interest; they are mainly concerned with earning a living.
A number of these people identify with the Punjabi Christian community, which gives them more social acceptance. There seems, however, to be only a few Balmiki people who have a personal saving faith in Christ.
In the 1980s and 90s I knew a Christian man who was Balmiki. His name was Maqbool, and he was a head man of a group of Balmiki sweepers in the city of Bahawalpur. He was a regular attender of the Calvary Baptist Church in that city where the renowned Pastor Umar was serving. Maqbool had a deep love for the Lord, and he was a man of prayer and strong in faith. He had a zeal to serve the Lord and bear witness to his faith in Christ, but I knew of no others of his people who came to faith.
Pray that the few Balmiki believers will shine the light of the Holy Spirit in such a way that others will be eager to be discipled. Pray for a Disciple-Making Movement to thrive in the Balmiki community.
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 that the Lord will raise up the “lowly” Balmikis, just as He raised up this “lowly” Samaritan woman to gossip the gospel to their neighbors.
The Jaislmiri Marwari Bhils are among the neediest of all peoples. Until the 1960s there were no disciples of Christ among them. In 1964 a man called Domji became instrumental in leading hundreds of his fellow Jaislmiri Marwari Bhils to Christ.
Domji was born in 1926, the son of a tribal leader. His father arranged for him to receive an education, and he spent 11 years in a Hindu school. But Domji left disillusioned, realizing that within the caste system he was considered an outcast because he was Bhil.
Domji sought to improve his lot, and in 1953 he enrolled in the police force. He began to have contact with foreigners and he became friendly with a local Catholic priest. The priest gave Domji a Bible, and with hunger for truth still burning in his heart, he began to read about Christ.
Peace however evaded him until one day he found a flyer offering a free Bible correspondence course being offered by evangelicals. Domji’s eyes were opened. He sought out a Baptist missionary who lead him to Christ. After his baptism Domji began to share his new faith. At first, he experienced opposition, but soon many of his family also found new life in Christ. Domji continued as a faithful witness for the Lord until his death in 2006.
Pray for the Lord to raise up 10 more Marwari Bhils to continue the work of Domji.
1 Sam 2:8, NLV
He lifts the poor from the dust. He lifts those in need from the ashes. He makes them sit with rulers and receive a seat of honor. For what holds the earth belongs to the Lord. He has set the world in its place.
Pray for the Lord to do this for the Jaislmiri Marwari Bhils of Pakistan.
Surely one of the hardest of all people groups, the Sansi people, are found widely in Punjab and Sindh Provinces of Pakistan. We began ministry among Sansi people in 2003. Their occupations are stealing, begging, and polishing shoes. Many Sansi men have a little wooden box with shoe polishes and brushes and a strap to carry it around. Even the very few who have been to school have no work ethic and see no value in working to earn a living.
Raju Rahool had been to school, but followed the way of life of his people. Living in northern Sindh Province, we came across him and a number of other Sansi families living in one room brick houses amidst squalid surroundings. We began to regularly visit and share God’s word. Raju and five other young men were taught tailoring skills. During the six months while this was happening, they heard the gospel and several of them made profession of faith in 2006. These were the first known believers in Christ among Sansi people. There may be about 25 Sansi people who have come to faith in Christ. Today Raju is a teacher and supervisor in one of our six village primary schools being run in this area.
Pray that this small flock of God’s sheep will grow into a Disciple-Making Movement among the Sansi people.
Is 1:27, NLV
Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
Pray for these “hardest of all people groups” to repent and be spiritually refreshed by righteousness.
The Gagra are a nomadic tribe, living along the Ravi River where they fish and hunt animals nearby. Ayub, a Pakistani believer, began teaching reading among this pre-literate tribe. Seeing the great burden God had placed on Ayub’s heart for these low-caste people, we made arrangements for him to begin literacy classes with them even though this meant riding his bicycle up to 25 miles a day to keep up with these constantly moving nomads. Months went by, people were learning to read, and they trusted Ayub. Some leaders were ready to accept Christ and be baptized.
Suddenly, Ayub became very ill and he was brought to our mission hospital. Although doctors felt he would recover, two days later he suddenly died. How disheartening to learn that it was actually his wife who had killed him. The family was embarrassed that he was associating with low-caste people. His wife got a “death charm” from a holy man, sewed it into his clothes, and then she poisoned him.
The movement among the Gagra was stopped. This was one of our first attempts at reaching an unreached group; we learned not to walk into Satan’s territory without prayer cover.
Please pray for God to protect missionaries and national missionaries who go to the Gagra people. Pray for God to raise up many national workers to go to low caste tribes and they would have the prayer protection they need.
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 like the Samaritan woman at the well, people in Pakistan will realize that they are missing God’s blessing when they reject other communities.
One day in 1991 I arrived in our Land Rover with two Marwari evangelist colleagues in the remote village of Mudd Wala, in southern Punjab Province. There were no known followers of Christ living in this area and the Bhatipar Marwari Bhils we had come to reach were all illiterate … except for a boy called Punu, who was in his third grade at a local government primary school. I wondered if any good could come from such seemingly futile travel.
Nearly 10 years later Punu, then a teenager and a young follower of the Lord Jesus, was himself teaching a ‘raggedy’ bunch of children in our mission village school. Two of his pupils were Ajmal and Bhauru. Fast forward another 15 years and Ajmal and Bharu completed their higher education. Ajmal became an assistant judge in the local Alipur Civil Court and Bhauru became a teacher in a government middle school. More importantly these young men are bearing a Christian witness in their home village, where they have a key part in leading worship and witness for Christ. Today Punu is an evangelist and a gifted gospel singer with a wide ministry among Bhatipar Marwari Bhils. Yes, there were purposes of God our heavenly Father in our long, seemingly futile journey to Mudd Wala on that day in 1991!
Thank the Lord that He can use a seemingly “futile” effort to win people to His kingdom for His glory.
Dan 12:3, NLV
Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.
Pray for the Lord to raise up many others in the coming years to lead many of the Marwari Bhils to true righteousness.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness … (2 Tim. 3:16, NIV)
How can one understand God’s word if it is not in a language they can understand? Furthermore, language can become a very divisive wall when people will not accept a person who speaks a different language.
In the 40 years I worked in Pakistan, I was often asked for a Bible. A Bible in Urdu, the trade language of Pakistan, was usually the best I could provide. Men might understand it, but not the women and children who only understood their mother tongue. In the Bible we see families coming to Christ and having a Bible that everyone can understand is needed so entire families can come to worship the Lord. Missiologists have learned that without a Bible in one’s own language, it is difficult to see a growing church established or one that continues to the next generation. Bible translation is one of the main things Satan opposes.
There is a desperate need for a Bible for each of Pakistan’s minority groups. Of the people groups in this prayer guide, translation has begun in five or six of the larger language groups. We hope that with modern technology and other translations might be completed quickly.
Pray for Bibles to be accurately translated in each of the languages of Pakistan’s minority peoples.
Acts 17:11, NLV
These Jews were more willing to understand than those in the city of Thessalonica. They were very glad to hear the word of God, and they looked into the holy writings to see if those things were true.
Pray for the Lord to raise up many Pakistanis to be like the Bereans, who treasured God’s word.
Bagri people live throughout Pakistan’s Sindh Province. In the spring of the year they rent land and grow and sell vegetables, especially tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons. They are industrious, hard workers. With their earnings they buy trinkets, then take off to big cities like Karachi and Islamabad to sell them. All Bagri people live simple lives and their dwellings are made of tree branches and palm leaves. They make small shrines to display pictures of Hindu deities as well as images of local gods and folklore heroes.
Lachman Das and his wife live in a colony of Bagris near the city of Larkana in the northern Sindh Province. This couple are only two of about 15 known Bagris who follow Christ. They came to faith around 2010. Lachman teaches at a small Christian village school that we run in the colony. Even their other close relatives in this community are yet very far from having faith in Christ. The children in the school, however, have the opportunity to hear Christian truth and are being faithfully instructed in the word of God. It gives us joy to hear the children under instruction answering questions from the Christian catechism.
Pray that these children will grow up as disciples of Christ who will in turn disciple others in how to follow Him. Pray that they will understand that Jesus truly is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Ps 111:3, NLV
Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.
Pray for the Bagri people to become aware of the all-surpassing righteousness of the true God, and His son, Jesus Christ.
The Jogi tribe is found throughout Pakistan in scattered communities. We often met them at the beach in Karachi where they come around to put on snake shows. They are also found in Murree and other resort towns where they earn money by putting on snake and monkey shows. They used to come regularly to the homes of foreigners and rich people to charm snakes out of their gardens. This was a service that was much appreciated.
The Jogis are loosely Hindu or animist. Their spiritual beliefs tend to fall into the category of superstition rather than organized religion. They are included among the Hindu outcast groups. They are not respected since they are nomadic.
Juno was a Jogi who lived near Kunri, Pakistan. He saw the JESUS Film several times and was attracted to Jesus. He and his family were baptized in the 1990s, and they seemed sincere about their new faith. However, we left Kunri in 1997 and lost contact with them.
We don't know of any other Jogis who are following Christ. There are about 20,000 Jogis and this is the only family we know of that is following the Lord. It is a very needy group. They could be a strategic group to evangelize because they are spread throughout Pakistan and even India.
Pray for a movement to Christ among the Jogi people that will result in many being discipled in His ways.
Prov 16:19, NLV
It is better to be poor in spirit among poor people, than to divide the riches that were taken with the proud.
Pray that the Jogi people will soon find their way to the one who provides spiritual riches beyond what they can imagine.
We know that those who ask Christ into their hearts will be saved. The biggest problem for many people groups is they cannot call upon Christ because no one has gone to tell them. (Rom. 10) This was the compelling verse that called me to the mission field. God put a heavy burden on my heart for these people who had never heard, and 50 years ago I obeyed and went to those who some believe are the lowest, most despised people on earth. The most enjoyable years of my life have been seeing Christ work miraculously as these people came to Jesus and seeing them grow in Him, and to know that they are loved and have hope.
I can no longer be with these people, but the burden remains. Who will carry this burden to the next generation? Will Punjabi believers, who themselves came out of one of these caste groups more than 100 years ago, go to these unreached groups? The Punjabi believers live nearby so they do not need a visa. Though Punjabi Christian culture is very different from that of their Hindu neighbors, it is still closer than any westerner’s.
Pray for many Punjabi believers to receive a Macedonian call to reach the lost nations of Pakistan.
Rom 10:15, NLV
And how can someone tell them if he is not sent? The holy writings say, “The feet of those who bring the good news are beautiful.”
Pray for the Holy Spirit to make sure there are thousands who will answer the call to take Christ to the Hindus of Pakistan!