Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
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.
Fear is a terrible emotion that can affect all aspects of an individual’s life. It can create a type of paralysis. Most appearances of angels in the Bible were accompanied by a “Fear not…” to their startled onlookers.
A type of fear affects the Kunbi people of India, particularly in the state of Gujarat where most of them live in rural settings. The Hindu Kunbis have a strong fear of Christianity that they associate with Western culture. They see blatant immorality and broken homes as the norm for what they think are Christian families, and it frightens these family-oriented people. Because they associate these negative images with Christianity, they will not associate with Christians or listen to the gospel. This has prevented efforts to win them to Christ from being fruitful.
What will it take to reach the Kunbis? It will take prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. “Is anything too hard for God?” (Genesis 18:14). The Kunbis will remain alienated from the true God and savior unless we pray for their hearts to be softened so that the gospel message can change their lives.
Pray that through our prayers today the Lord will tear down the spiritual strongholds that have gripped the hearts of the Kunbi people. Pray for their hearts to be softened and willing to believe and accept Jesus when they are approached by believers.
Matt 11:28-30, NIV
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.
Pray for the Lord to comfort the souls of the Hindu Kunbi people of India.
Why does one field look healthier and more productive than the field next to it? If you are in India, the answer might be because it is cultivated by Kurmi farmers. The Kurmi caste are the chief agricultural cultivators in India. Other castes historically only cultivated land just surrounding their villages and were limited in crops that were successful. The Kurmis, however, developed different means of fertilizing their fields and were able to extend them beyond the traditional ones surrounding the community. The result was more diversification of crops and more productivity.
Today, many Kurmis have risen above the “peasant status” and are highly trained and work in all areas of India’s society. Despite their accomplishments, the Kurmi community carries the stigma of being “backward,” meaning they have low status.
A small number of Kurmi have identified themselves as Christians. Unfortunately, some Kurmi families fear that Christians want to win their children away from their families and are therefore resistant to efforts by believers to share the blessings of Jesus with them.
Pray for the Lord to raise up believers who will take the time to reach Kurmi family leaders, so that the door will be open for entire clans. Pray for a strong church-planting movement to develop among Kurmi households that will spread to other communities.
Matt 13:23, NLT
The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of 30, 60, or even 100 times as much as had been planted!
Pray that when the gospel is preached to the Kurmi people, that it will produce a great harvest in their community and among those near them.
Several traits have distinguished the Mahrattas throughout Indian history—they were formerly warriors and they continue to champion their culture, language, history, and their Hindu religion. They live mainly in the state of Maharashtra. Only a small number are found in other countries.
The Mahrattas consider themselves upper class and look down at those they judge as not their equals. Unlike the Rajputs, they don’t strictly enforce arranged marriages. However, a man’s choice of a wife is limited to Brahmins or Mahratta women.
Less than two percent of the approximately 30 million Mahrattas call themselves Christian. One source claims that there are no followers of Christ among them. There is an abundance of Christian resources available in their Marathi languages. These include Bibles, the JESUS Film, audio and video stories, teaching, and radio broadcasts. Global Recordings Network (GRN) has audiovisual presentations in 10 dialects of Marathi as well as other languages spoken by the Mahrattas. These are available on their website and in several digital formats.
Pray for workers to go to the Mahratta people, and for their hearts to be ready to receive their savior. Ask the Lord to break down the barriers of pride and religion, and help the people see that Jesus is the only way to God. Pray for a chain reaction of families reaching families that results in thousands of new believers who will share their faith with others.
Matt 9:36, NIV
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will give believers the compassion to go to the Mahratta peoples, so they can join Christ’s eternal family.
According to ancient myth, a Kshatriya (warrior) married a Shudra (servant-cultivator). Their offspring was the Napika (one who cleans nails) who are now called Nai (barber). Like barbers of old, they not only cut hair, but attend to other small matters of grooming and even some simple medical procedures. The Nai continue to practice their inherited occupation, and like anyone who works with “dead” materials like hair or hides, they have low prestige among Hindus. Nai can often be found on sidewalks offering their services to those of similar economic background.
There is an economic revolution occurring amongst the Nai, as education is becoming available, at least for boys. Some younger Nai people are finding opportunities to become doctors, lawyers, businessmen, politicians, and engineers.
Like most of India, the Nai are Hindus, and worship the Hindu pantheon of gods. They mainly worship the Hindu god Shiva along with regional, local, and family deities.
Please pray that the few Nai who know Jesus will become effective in sharing and discussing Christ with friends and family. Pray for a strong movement that will bring whole Nai families and communities to Jesus. Pray that the Nai community will thrive economically and that girls will share in the increased access to education.
Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?
Pray that the Lord will raise up his chosen people to go to the Nai people, who are looked down upon by other communities.
Pushtunwali, the strict unwritten honor code of the Pashtun people, is followed more religiously as they follow Sunni Islam! They practice hospitality and protection to guests, the right of fugitives to seek refuge, the right to seek revenge, bravery, steadfastness, righteousness, persistence, defense of property and honor, and defense of one’s woman. Revenge and blood feuds between families last for generations and are common owing to Pushtunwali.
The Pashtuns are one of four major Muslim communities in India. In India Pashtuns are considered fourth in rank below Sayyids, Sheikhs, and Mughais in the Muslim hierarchy. Most of them love India, since it has been a place of refuge for many of them.
While many Pashtuns are educated and work as professionals in cities, others are extremely poor, living in unsanitary conditions caused mainly by poor water. Many cannot read, and they find it difficult to have their medical and educational needs met.
Pray that Pashtun families and communities in India will be blessed spiritually and physically. Pray Pashtuns will see what Almighty God has done for them by giving his life for their sins, offering his righteousness, creating the beautiful world in which they live, and making life possible.
Matt 16:24-25, NIV
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
Pray for the Lord to raise up Pashtun believers with the kind of devotion that they will be willing to take up their cross and follow the King of kings.
In Pakistan, the Pashtun people live in the rural, mountainous northwest province bordering Afghanistan. The Taliban is made up mostly of Pashtuns, though most Pashtuns don’t support it today. The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is porous, and the Pashtuns cross freely. Only 15 percent of Pakistanis speak Pashto, the main Pashtun language.
They are known as rigidly resistant to change. Living in extreme poverty, they are considered to be one of the world’s least reached people groups. Life is hard in their part of Pakistan. Pashtun people are proud of their heritage and 100 percent Sunni Muslim.
The Bible has been available in their Pashto language since 1895. Audio, video, and JESUS Film resources exist in their language. Mission efforts have failed to reach their hearts. Persecution remains a sure threat to any Pashtun who chooses to trust in Jesus’ payment for sins.
Pray that God will reach the Pashtuns by dreams and visions. Pray for Christian audio recordings and the JESUS Film to find their way into Pathan communities. Pray for Pathan leaders to simply put their trust in Jesus as both Lord and Savior, and recognize that only through Christ can they approach the God of creation.
Hebrews 2:14-15, ESV
He, himself, likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Pray for the work of the devil to be destroyed among the Pashtun people in Pakistan.
The last few centuries were a downward spiral for the Rajputs. They ruled the former Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat from the 7th to the 12th century. Their beautiful palaces still stand today. Later, Muslims invaded, and some Rajput subgroups converted to Islam. When the British took over, they recruited many Rajputs into their military. In 1970, India abolished their titles and property rights. They are still considered high caste Hindus, but they have lost much of their wealth and clout.
The Joshua Project reports, “Rajputs worship Shiva (the destroyer), Surya (the sun god), and Durga (the mother goddess).” They also have patron gods for protection, and gurus for spiritual advice. It is estimated that only one in 5,000 Rajputs are followers of Christ. Their superiority-complex and isolation from other groups makes it hard for them to have opportunities to hear the gospel message. There are many Christian resources available in Hindi, the primary language of Rajputs. These include Bibles and Christian teaching in print, audio, and video.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Rajputs to listen to the claims of Christ and make him the center of their lives. Pray that soon Rajput leaders will hear of Christ and teach others what he offers those who follow him. Pray for Rajput disciples who will make other disciples.
Matt 28:19, 20
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.
Pray that this will be the time when the Rajput “nations” will be reached, so they can enjoy the blessings of the only savior.
Muslim Rajputs in Pakistan are experiencing an identity crisis! Rajput means, “Son of the king.” In 1947 when Pakistan gained their independence from England, Rajputs lost their given status as land barons and local “kings.” They became, by necessity, shop owners and public servants. Their palaces lie in decay today. Rajputs are a proud people, tribe and family oriented, despite their struggles to maintain their dignity and perceived identity as local kings and land barons. Some see their current circumstances as a long way down from royalty to commoner.
However, Almighty God’s way down is the way up! All people must come to the end of themselves and their resources before they can see his love and provision for their eternal welfare. Until people are redefined by the savior Jesus Christ, they are defined by their histories, and their perceived limitations.
Pray that God will overthrow spiritual forces of darkness that oppose the spread of the gospel among Rajputs in Pakistan. Ask Almighty God to deliver Muslim Rajput families and communities in Pakistan from fear, pride, and confusion that hinder them from embracing his blessing. Pray that they will make Christ the centerpiece of their identity. Ask the Holy Spirit to help them to see that Jesus offers the perfect identity as a child of the King of kings!
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Pray that the Muslim Rajputs in Pakistan will seek the kingdom of God and find it. Pray that they will understand that they are invited to become part of his family.
As you accumulate years on this Earth, do you look forward to being a “senior citizen” or “retiree?” Would you prefer being described as “respected” instead? And what about “old” as a term of respect? On the Indian subcontinent, the word shaikh means “venerable old man.” 137 million Shaikh people live in Bangladesh. They are Muslim.
According to beyondreached.com, a Shaikh follower of Christ was imprisoned for sharing scripture. While in prison, he was harassed for praying to Jesus. As time passed, the believer noticed strange sounds followed by passages from the Qur’an. He asked where these strange noises were coming from. He was informed that there were demons tormenting the prison; holy readings were being used to drown out the sounds of the demons. The believer committed to praying for the noises to be silenced in order to show fellow prisoners the power of Jesus. The strange noises left, and the believer was able to lead other Shaikh prisoners to faith in his Lord.
Pray for boldness, wisdom, and protection among Shaikh believers as they share the gospel and bring the light of Christ to areas that are blanketed by darkness. Ask God to penetrate the deep spiritual darkness in which the Shaikh live. A Christian worker has reported that the problem is not the lack of harvest but of harvesters, so pray for workers.
Matt 24:35, NIV
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Pray that the prestigious Shaikhs in Bangladesh will understand that the word of the Lord will never pass away, and that they cannot ignore it.
In India alone, the Muslim Shaikhs outnumber the entire population of many nations of the world! The Shaikhs of India population was over 85 million in the latest Indian census. The word Shaikh refers to a political or spiritual leader of a community. The Muslim Shaikhs are descendants of the people who came to the Indian subcontinent after their homeland was conquered by Muslim armies in the eighth century.
The one thing that unites the Muslim Shaikhs is their belief in Sunni Islam. Some Shaikhs are poor farmers who live in rural villages; other are very wealthy, educated business owners and professionals who live in cities. Whether they are rich or poor, they all need to hear the good news about Isa or Jesus, the Son of God and savior of the world. In India, they speak Urdu, a language that has many gospel materials including the JESUS Film.
Pray for the JESUS Film to find its way into many Shaikh households. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those ministering to the Muslim Shaikh people. Pray for Shaikh families to be so powerfully drawn to Jesus and to the Bible that they form home Bible studies and discipleship groups. Pray for movements to Jesus to sweep through Shaikh families, permeating the entire people group and blessing them with Christ’s goodness and forgiveness.
1 Tim 4:10, ESV
We have set our hope on the living God, who is the savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
Pray that the Shaikhs of India would have their spiritual eyes opened by the Holy Spirit so that they can see that forgiveness is found only in Isa or Jesus.
Also known in Pakistan as the Punjabi Shaikh, Shaikh is one of the largest ethnic groups in the world. The term "Shaikh" (also "Sheikh") derives from the honorific in the Arabic language. It commonly applies to the ruler of the tribe. The Arab people who conquered the Indus Valley in the 8th century settled there to become today's Shaikhs. Pakistan has a very significant population—12 million! Rather than maintaining allegiance to only one of Islam's major divisions, the Shaikh follow a mixture of both Sunni and Shi’ite traditions.
Much ministry to the Shaikhs has focused on winning individuals away from their families and gathering them into churches. This has fueled fear of Christianity as an invading threat to their families, communities, and way of life. Instead, many Bible stories can be welcomed and discussed in families, so that households may receive God's blessing and healing. The Bible and various audio recordings are available in Punjabi, the main language of the Shaikhs in Pakistan.
Pray for the few known believers to be effective at engaging their families and communities in discussing spiritual matters. Pray for a movement to Jesus to sweep through Shaikh families and communities that would permeate the group from within rather than from without.
“And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.”
Pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to the hearts of Shaikh leaders in Pakistan, so that they will understand that the kingdom of God is given freely only to those who will humble themselves before the Lord.
Do you like mustard on your sausages? Do you know that sesame is an ancient word that has gone virtually unchanged for several thousand years? Indeed, both seeds have been used for thousands of years as a condiment or spice. Do you know that both seeds yield oil if sufficiently pressed?
The Teli community used to commercially hand-press mustard and sesame seeds for their oils. Thanks to machinery, such livelihood is a thing of the past in most of India and the world. Indeed, mustard is now harvested by machine. Therefore, many of these 18 million Hindus now work in other fields such as management, civil service, businesses, hotels, metal working, or simply pulling carts and other manual labor. They pray to ancestors for protection and put their hopes in a good luck goddess. There are very few followers of Jesus among them.
Pray that the oil of the Holy Spirit will start a Christ-ward movement among the 67 subgroups of Telis, so that their faith grows like a mustard seed; and that missionaries and evangelists will seek to disciple them. Pray for all Teli communities to have a spiritual hunger that will be met by encounters with Jesus Christ.
Matt 17:20, NET
He told them, “It was because of your little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.”
Pray for workers to share this parable with the Teli people, and that they will respond in faith.