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.
(This is a story which illustrates truths about this people group.)
Neal sat at a table at a language school in India trying to pronounce words from the difficult Dogri language. His teacher, an Indian man in his 50s, watched and listened. Neal felt led by God to take the message of salvation to the Dormal people in north India, and he had to learn their language first. The teacher commented, “Be careful how you pronounce the words. Your tone of voice can completely change the meaning of a word. Neal said, “I didn’t know Dogri was a tonal language.” The teacher responded, “Indo-Aryan languages usually aren’t tonal, but Dogri is one of the exceptions to that rule. Let’s try the exercise again, and this time watch the tone of your voice.” Neal carefully read the list of words again.
There are 8,900 Dormal people living in India, and almost all of them are Muslims. A complete Bible, the JESUS Film, and gospel recordings are already available in the Dogri language. All that is lacking are faithful and trained workers willing to take the message of salvation to this people group.
Pray that God would lead candidates to reach out to the Dormal people group with the message of salvation. Pray that such people will be able to learn the difficult Dogri language. Ask God to open the hearts of this people group to the true message of salvation.
Col 1:9b-11, NLV
I ask God that you may know what He wants you to do. I ask God to fill you with the wisdom and understanding the Holy Spirit gives. Then your lives will please the Lord. You will do every kind of good work, and you will know more about God. I pray that God’s great power will make you strong, and that you will have joy as you wait and do not give up.
Pray these things for the workers who will be thrust out to the currently unengaged Dormal people.
What happens if a people leave their traditional trade? As India has become increasingly urban, this is not a hypothetical question. Traditionally the 1500 Ganz people have been taxidermists, meaning that they stuff dead animals for museums and such. Today they are becoming skilled laborers and businessmen, leaving India without taxidermists. However, in recent years a Mumbai veterinarian taught himself the trade in order to “preserve” India's vanishing wildlife for the next generation to see.
Not surprisingly, given such openness to change, the Ganz males are ready to consult women concerning major decisions, property issues, and marriage. The older men, however, make the final decision. As a people, this group even has a Facebook page. Thus, they embrace new traditions. But being Muslim, they have yet to embrace Christ as more than just another prophet, despite the presence of Bible resources in Kashmiri.
Pray that the Ganz's openness to change will go beyond vocations to spiritual change. Pray that they become open to Jesus as Savior, not just as a prophet; and that families will embrace Him as Lord. Pray that social media will be effectively used by churches, mission agencies, and Kashmiri believers to reach Ganz people who are spiritually hungry. Pray for many to be discipled, and to be used by the Holy Spirit to disciple some from other people groups.
Col 1:13-14, NLV
God took us out of a life of darkness. He has put us in the holy nation of His much-loved Son. We have been bought by His blood and made free. Our sins are forgiven through Him.
Make this your prayer for the Ganz people, who still need to be led out of darkness into the light of Jesus Christ.
Today's people are even fewer in number than yesterday's, but in some ways they are about as different from the Ganz people as they can get! They make felt, which is a fibrous cloth made of wool. They have low literacy and low self-esteem and are looked down on by other communities.
The 1,100 Namdagur people are a Kashmiri-speaking Muslim population living near Lake Dal in India’s northern states of Jammu and Kashmir. None live outside of India. They raise sheep for its wool and for making felt.
And like all Indians, they love tea. Indeed, they drink salted tea twice a day, a practice that is popular in the high Himalayan Mountains.
They practice Sunni Islam. Because they speak Kashmiri, they have Bible resources available to them including gospel recordings.
Pray that God's Holy Spirit will draw them to Jesus, the gospel, gospel recordings, and Christian radio. Pray that they will find self-esteem in Jesus, and that through the gospel others will esteem them better. Pray churches and believers will disciple them in the ways of Christ. Pray for a Disciple-Making Movement to move throughout all of their communities so none of them will be left without the chance to say yes to Jesus.
Eph 3:16-18, NLV
I pray that because of the riches of His shining-greatness, He will make you strong with power in your hearts through the Holy Spirit. I pray that Christ may live in your hearts by faith. I pray that you will be filled with love. I pray that you will be able to understand how wide and how long and how high and how deep His love is.
Pray that when there are believers among the Namdagur people, they will internalize these truths and share them with others.
The Purig Pa people of Kashmir today live underneath the majestic Himalayan Mountains that divide India and China. Some of the tallest peaks in the world give testimony to what Paul told the Roman believers nearly 2,000 years ago: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead (divine nature, deity), so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NKJ.
These nearly 55,000 people live as small farmers and nomadic shepherds living in homes and tents. Finishing the Task (FTT) reports that the Purig Pa are unreached and unengaged, meaning that they have no workers.
The Muslims in Kashmir constitute over 97 percent of the population, although as many as 1,000 believers in Christ have come forward since 2010. Recent militancy among the Kashmiri Muslims have these believers in greater danger. Operation World reports that Bible correspondence has been very effective in showing them the way to the cross. The resources in the Purik language are the Bible, the JESUS film, gospel recordings, and radio broadcasts.
Pray that the current extremism may cause local Muslims to seek the peace that passes all understanding through a saving knowledge of Jesus. Pray that missionaries from all parts of India may reach out to the Purig Pa. Give thanks to the Father for His faithfulness in answering prayer for the Muslims of Kashmir!
Rom 1:19-20, NLV
Men know about God. He has made it plain to them. Men cannot say they do not know about God. From the beginning of the world, men could see what God is like through the things He has made. This shows His power that lasts forever. It shows that He is God.
Pray that Muslim Purig Pas will see the beauty around them, and understand that God is all beautiful, powerful, and loving.
Although, according to India’s constitution, caste is prohibited, it does exist and affects everyday life for Muslim communities as well as Hindu ones. For example, the Watal people often experience prejudice when they try to enter a mosque. They are Muslims, but being tanners, they are given low status not only by Hindus, but also by other Muslim communities.
The Watal people live in Jammu and Kashmir provinces. They are landless, illiterate, poor, and without political or social power. Feeling powerless, one Watal individual complained, “We are like dropped leaves from a tree being swept away by the wind in unknown directions. We have no shelter over our heads; successive governments have done so much for the poor, but we still remain deprived of benefits.”
The Watal people only number about 5,300, which in Indian terms is small, but they are known and loved by God. Someone needs to reach them with the gospel because they are intended to be among those from “every tribe, tongue, and nation” who will be at the throne of God throughout eternity.
Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send forth His harvesters into this field to share with them His glorious message. May the Watal people be eternally grateful to the God who gives them dignity because of their relationship with Jesus Christ. May they learn His ways and teach them to others.
Eph 1:17-18, NLV
I pray that the great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may give you the wisdom of His Spirit. Then you will be able to understand the secrets about Him as you know Him better. I pray that your hearts will be able to understand. I pray that you will know about the hope given by God’s call. I pray that you will see how great the things are that He has promised to those who belong to Him.
Pray for the Watal people to gain the spiritual wisdom to seek and find Jesus Christ, and to share Him with others.
Global Prayer Digest’s goal is to inform Christ’s followers about every people group anywhere in the world that needs prayer to bring them into the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 24:14). What is a nation, as defined by the Bible? It is actually any group of people with a language, a culture, a religion, etc. that sets them apart from others no matter how small.
There are only 1,600 Waza people in Kashmir, but they are a “nation” in God’s eyes. Their name means “cook.” That is what they do; they are expert chefs, and they are hired by both Hindu and Muslim communities to cook for big occasions. Because they provide an essential service to both Hindus and Muslims, they have good relations in both communities.
The Wazas have definitely found their niche in society, but they have not yet heard about the one who came to elevate them to an exalted status as beloved children of God and members of His kingdom.
Pray for a Holy Spirit infiltration into their communities so that they can experience God’s love, and His tender guidance. May they use their God-given talent as cooks to glorify the king of Kings. Pray that the Waza people will be used as Christ’s ambassadors to both Hindus and Muslims.
Gen 12:1-3, NLV
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation. I will bring good to you. I will make your name great, so you will be honored. I will bring good to those who are good to you. And I will curse those who curse you. Good will come to all the families of the earth because of you.”
Pray that we as a church will understand that the Great Commission is not a new idea, but God started the process of reaching all nations in Genesis!
The oldest known community in the Himalayan Mountains of Kashmir are the Pohul people! They are shepherds, the oldest occupation in that region. They tend their flocks of sheep and goats in these rugged mountains. Like other people groups we have read about this month they are quite small, numbering only about 3,200. The Pohul people are widely distributed in rural areas; however, some have been able to mix with more affluent Muslim communities and are now working for the government.
The Pohul people rarely eat meat primarily because it is expensive, but on special occasions they will enjoy mutton, a favorite meat in India. Like many other castes in India, the Pohul people have their marriages arranged by their parents. Indeed, marriage is their most important ritual although it is very simple. The groom and his guests arrive at the home of the bride where they are served an evening meal. Because it is a special occasion, they serve meat.
They are unengaged as well as unreached, so no one is involved in reaching out to the Pohuls with the gospel. Their rural, remote lifestyle is an obstacle in reaching them, but nothing is impossible with God.
Pray that God will put it on the hearts of Indian believers to disciple the Pohul community. Pray for God to prepare Pohul hearts to recognize the truth of the gospel message.
Gen 21:27-28, NLV
So Abraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech. Then the two men made an agreement. Abraham set seven lambs of the flock away from the others.
Pray that the Pohul people will have access to the Bible, and eagerly learn the lessons from the lives of other shepherds like Abraham and David.
The Despised Hindu Tribes of Pakistan
—by a guest writer who spent decades working among these tribes
I am very excited about this month’s issue on these Hindu people groups in Pakistan. For more than 20 years I have prayed that these rejected people would be brought to the attention of many for prayer, and this will be the month that thousands pray for them. I pray that as you use this guide, that you will come to love these people and pray for them long after this month is over. Perhaps some of you might even have the privilege of bringing the good news to them.
There are huge difficulties in seeing the unreached peoples in Pakistan reached for Christ. Pakistan is the sixth most populous nation in the world. There are very few reached people groups there; in fact, Pakistan may be one of the most unreached countries in the world. India has more people groups, but there are local mission agencies from the south that can reach some of them. By contrast, Pakistan does not have local workers going to the unreached in their own country, and foreign workers are very few.
How Hindu Tribes Remained in Muslim Pakistan After the 1947 Partition
In 1947 the lands of West and East Pakistan were carved out of what was then India. Muslims were to migrate to either West or East Pakistan, and Hindus were to go to India. During this time of Partition occurred one of the largest genocides that the world had ever known. Muslims killed Hindus, and Hindus killed Muslims.
The Hindu groups we are praying for this month lived in the southeast part of what is now Pakistan. To migrate to India, they would either have to cross the Thar Desert, which would result in death for many, or travel north to the Punjab where they knew they would likely become victims of genocide. They basically stayed where they hoped that their lives would be better. Their lives actually became worse as they were now hated by the recently empowered Pakistani Muslims because of their Hindu religion. They had no place in society, and they were pushed to live in the desert.
Why Caste Matters
Hindus are known for their caste system. I believe that the caste system is Satan’s biggest stronghold controlling the people, keeping them from coming to Christ. Caste determines your social contacts, your spouse, your occupation, people with whom you can eat, and it sometimes even restricts to whom you can talk. Spiritually it defines everything about you.
Theoretically there are five major groups within the caste system; but in actuality, there are layers within each of these five major caste groups. Each person knows exactly where they fit. All but two of the Hindu groups we are praying for this month are considered so low that they don’t even fit in the caste system.
Most of these people groups have been on the India Subcontinent since the beginning. They have been oppressed by various invaders. Through the centuries it seems they have become more and more rejected and despised. They have tried to escape their deplorable situation by changing their caste name, hoping to hide their identity. I know of one group who originally lived in Mumbai. They moved north and changed their name more than 35 times, but they are still considered outcasts.
Changes in the 20th Century
It is hard to find records of these Hindu groups. The best place has been in the old British Census reports of 1905. However, today many have changed their names, so it’s difficult to identify them as the same people group. In addition, there are sounds in their languages that don’t have equivalents in English. This accounts for the various spellings of the same people groups. This situation is very confusing.
Around 1900 there were three major famines. Many of these groups took the huge risk of crossing the Thar Desert and moving east to the Indus River area. Many died in this move, and many changed their name in hopes of losing their identity. They were even more suppressed by the Muslim government taking control of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947.
Some of these groups are large in number. But the Muslim government, who despises them, will not give an accurate count of them for fear they might be eligible for a seat in Parliament. Rejected again!
Most of the people making up these more than 60 Hindu tribes cannot read and are often not allowed to attend the local schools. Literacy was one of our first avenues used in reaching them for Christ. Most were very highly motivated and finished the first level in six months rather than the usual nine. Some even went on to higher education. I think of one young man who got further schooling and then came back to help me in the office, producing primers and other Christian aids. Though society considered them dumb and incapable, we found them to be some of the most intelligent people with whom we had ever worked. They had never been given a chance.
Why Are There So Many Different People Groups?
To the uninformed it would seem that many of the groups are the same. So why have we defined them as different people groups? Sometimes they even speak a similar language. For example, I learned Marwari from one group who lived near me. When I went to my targeted group, I was ostracized because their Marwari was a little different from mine and they immediately recognized this. Thus, even minor linguistic differences can divide people groups into smaller ones.
The caste system, unfortunately, easily defines and divides the people groups into many small communities. They don’t intermarry. They don’t eat with another group. They don’t have social relations. They have their own occupation. They even disagree over the meanings of words in a similar language. Often their worship practices and “gods” will be different.
Difficulties in Reaching Them
Add to this that they live in a part of the world that Satan has controlled since the beginning of time, and he is not going to give them up easily. I and the leaders I raised up have experienced many demonic attacks with some of my leaders even dying. We learned we needed people praying for each of us. And that is how we must reach them—through prayer.
Because of caste barriers, they will not accept anyone from the outside. When I first went to one group, they ran in fear believing I was a “white god” and, of course, gods only come to destroy people. They had spent their whole lives trying to appease these gods to avoid being destroyed. They had no concept of a God of love.
Next, they ran in fear because the only outsiders who came were Muslims who ran off with their attractive women.
In many ways, it is even harder for a Pakistani Christian than for a foreigner. They see them as a different caste with different customs, languages, and cultures. Missionaries working with these people have experienced visa problems, sickness, and other reasons forcing them to leave this work.
Through this prayer guide we are asking—Will you love these forgotten, rejected people?
Satan has controlled these people for thousands of years, and this bondage can be only broken through prayer.
1—Prayer is the biggest need, and that what we are asking for as you pray every day this month for these people groups.
2—Pray that these despised peoples will find their dignity and worth in their relationship with the loving Creator.
3—I can no longer go to the group I worked with, and the Christian leader in one tribe recently died. Who will replace us? Will you? Each of the unreached people groups you pray for this month needs workers. Pray for many workers!
It was 1855, and Andrew Gordon, an American Presbyterian missionary, found out first-hand how hot it can be in India. He arrived in what is now called Kolkata, and traveled across the subcontinent to what is now Pakistan. For two summers, he lived in a tent, braving the heat and sometimes being robbed.
There was no response to his missionary work until a low caste person from the Meg people named Kanaya heard Gordon preaching. Kanaya came to Gordon’s home bringing people from his village who joined him in accepting Christ. The rest of the tribe was outraged by Kanaya’s actions. They destroyed his home, kidnapped his wife and children, and held them hostage in the kingdom of Kashmir.
Kanaya fasted and prayed before trying to enter Kashmir. He sought an audience with the king only to be bodily thrown out and told never to return. For six months, the missionary and the Meg believers prayed. The king threatened to kill anyone who fed Kanaya, so he sat outside the gate, prayed, and ate grass. Finally, on his fifth attempt he saw a miraculous answer to prayer when his wife and children were returned to him. Kanaya was tested and became a great man of prayer; prayer led to the birth of the Punjabi church.
Pray that the Lord will raise up many who will never give up praying until the Hindu peoples of Pakistan respond to the gospel.
1 Thes 5:16-18, NLV
Be full of joy all the time. Never stop praying. In everything give thanks. This is what God wants you to do because of Christ Jesus.
Pray that no matter what trials come their way, that workers in Pakistan will be filled with joyful prayer and praise to their Lord and king.
The Megs would not listen to Kanaya so this man of prayer did the unthinkable! He began to preach to another caste. The first convert was Dit, a crippled man whom Kanaya physically saved from flood waters. Dit’s ethnic group slowly began to come to the Lord and changed their caste name to “Punjabi Christians.”
Presbyterian missionaries established both a boy’s and a girl’s school. In the 1880s a missionary shared in the girls’ school. His message touched a young woman by the name of Miriam, who was a Meg. Within a year she had the 290 students praying into the late night in groups of 10. These girls then started prayer groups with other girls in their villages. Within two years women had joined the groups. The girls were concerned there were no men’s prayer groups, so they approached Kanaya and asked for his help. Soon everyone was praying daily, asking God to bring their people to the Lord.
Around the turn of the century, missionary John Hyde (“Praying Hyde”) arrived and God used him as a catalyst to bring groups together in large meetings for prayer and teaching on prayer.
In 1903 revival broke out among Punjabi Christians. It lasted seven years and was one of the largest revivals on record. Thus the Punjabi church was born through prayer.
Pray for a revival of prayer and worship in 2018 that will transform communities in Pakistan.
Luke 7:3-5, NLV
When the captain heard of Jesus, he sent some Jewish leaders to Him. They were to ask if He would come and heal this servant. They came to Jesus and begged Him, saying, “The man is respected and should have this done for him. He loves our nation and has built our Jewish place of worship.”
Pray that like the Jewish leaders quoted here, the Meg people will have an appreciation for those from other communities.
As the Punjabi church continued to grow, more than 100 new Presbyterian missionaries joined Gordon in teaching them. This was still not enough, so they invited many other mission groups to help. Prayer continued to be emphasized throughout the 1950s. After the Partition in 1947, Punjabi believers found themselves rejected by the Muslim majority. It was hard for them to get jobs in Pakistan. Meanwhile, missionaries and Punjabis who had once put great emphasis on prayer now seemed to shift their emphasis to schools and hospitals to raise the status of Christians. Prayer declined and so did the strength and growth of the church.
In the 1970s, we began work with an unreached people group. Satan took out leader after leader that we raised up. We learned that our only choice was to develop a strong prayer movement. In the 1990s, God led me to a ministry of building up prayer in the Punjabi church.
More than 100 years ago, the Punjabi church was literally born out of prayer and it was one of the largest revivals the world has known. If people faithfully pray no matter where they live, it can happen again.
Pray about whether or not the Lord would have you personally join a regular prayer group to see Pakistan’s Punjab blessed with fellowships of believers from every people group in their province.
Acts 4:30-31, NLT
“Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
Pray for Punjabi believers to step out in boldness and preach the word with power and love.
The caste system controls and divides Hindu groups from each other in many ways. But one thing they all have in common is the prominent role “pirs” play in their lives. It is difficult to win Hindus to Christ unless we understand the power and control of pirs.
Who are “pirs?” They are spiritual guides and they are given tremendous power by Satan himself. Pirs control every aspect of a Hindu’s life, whether social or spiritual. People live in great fear of them and their power. Pirs are often consulted for major decisions.
Hindus hold festivals at the graves of dead pirs and often consult them for major decisions. The sick, the dying, and barren women are taken to pirs for help. Healing sometimes occurs; but death or worse sickness follows. Hindus do not understand that there is an all-powerful God who offers healing and will never send them something worse, because He loves them as a father loves his children.
Pray this bondage of the pirs will be broken so people will be free to hear and accept Christ. We have seen some pirs turn to Jesus; pray for more to repent and to use their incredible influence to disciple others.— Guest missionary writer
Eph 6:12, NLV
Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens.
Pray for many pirs to understand that they can turn their allegiance from spirits of darkness to the all-powerful Lord and master.