15 days of prayer for our Hindu neighbors near and far
By Jordan Rowley, spiritual coordinator, Climbing For Christ
Sunday, Nov. 3 – Day 15
It’s been rightly said that the main difference between true Christianity and all other religions is that while the world’s religions say “do,” Christianity says “done.”
In other words, though the many religious systems of the world vary greatly in their core beliefs, they all promote the idea of working toward some kind of “salvation.” Doing enough good works equals paying your way to heaven; to paradise; to moksha (liberation from the cycle of reincarnation).
On the other hand, followers of Christ acknowledge that when He uttered those beautiful words “it is finished” from the cross, Jesus was referring to the fact that He had completely paid the way for our salvation. He had accomplished what we never could – even over a thousand lifetimes. The “do” has been “done” and if we simply trust in Him, we are set free from the weight and wages of our sin.
Sadly though, the work is never “finished” for a Hindu. Hindus believe that lifetime after lifetime, one must work toward their own salvation – toward moksha.
Although salvation is indeed accomplished for believers in Christ, the work is far from finished!
Our Lord left us a Great Commission to GO and reach out to our lost neighbors with the Gospel message. Many of these neighbors today are Hindu. May we be diligent to serve all those who are still in need of salvation. And until the Lord calls us home, may we be faithful to reach our one billion Hindu neighbors for Christ – both near and far.
We thank You for the finished work of the cross – for us, and for the world. And we come to You once again on behalf of our Hindu neighbors. We pray, Lord, that they would come to accept that finished work. That they, Lord, would accept You. Bless those working among Hindus, with open doors to share Your Good News. May they bear much fruit for Your kingdom – because the harvest is indeed plentiful. Stir the hearts of more and more laborers to join the work – especially where there is no Christian witness.
In Jesus name, amen.
Thank you so much for praying with us through Project Prayer: Hindu World 2019. Your prayers truly make a difference! God hears. And God responds. May we trust Him for many changed lives as a result of these 15 days of prayer.
Next up, Project Prayer: Buddhist World 2019!
Please join us for another 15 days of focused prayer – this time for our Buddhist neighbors – especially as our Mission: Nepal 2019, Part 2 team is on the ground right now in Nepal and in the coming days will be reaching out to primarily Buddhist communities in the Tsum Valley.
CLICK HERE to follow Daily Dispatches for this mission.
And CLICK HERE to pray with us for Project Prayer: Buddhist World 2019.
Saturday, Nov. 2 – Day 14
Although the vast majority of the world’s Hindu population currently lives in South Asia, more and more they are migrating elsewhere. Large communities of Hindus are settling and growing in Europe, Great Britain, the US, and beyond. This is known as the Hindu Diaspora (or dispersion). Many of these communities have maintained much of their cultural heritage, and even built temples in major cities.
This offers an incredible opportunity to reach these people for Christ. Rather than having to hop on a plane and go to them, they have come to us in the West.
But what will we do with such an unprecedented opportunity? What will you do!?
And of course, beyond the Hindu Diaspora living right next door, there are still multiplied millions of lost souls in remote villages on the opposite side of the globe. This, of course, is why Climbing For Christ exists! To reach the unreached in hard-to-reach places.
Opportunities abound both near and far.
The question then remains. What will we do? What will you do!?
Give each of those praying right now a vision for what you would have them do for the furtherance of Your kingdom among our Hindu neighbors. Thank You, Lord that You have stirred each of our hearts to pray. Now Lord, speak to us and lead us to further action. Send us, wherever, to share Your love and truth.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Friday, Nov. 1 – Day 13
Even after hours and hours of praying and preparing, along with traveling and trekking, many times when the Gospel message that we joyfully deliver finally reaches its destination, a person simply isn’t ready to receive it.
Sometimes there’s hope that seeds were planted and others will come to water or harvest the fruit. Still other times people reject the message outright – and even the messenger.
Climbing For Christ’s collective heart is to win souls for Jesus.
God’s heart is that none would perish.
Yet, each individual person must make the decision for themselves in their own heart. They will either make a decision to believe and receive the Good News of Jesus Christ, or they will choose to reject it and retreat to the comfort of their tradition.
Sadly, so many in the Hindu world are simply entrapped by their tradition, bound tightly by invisible chains of the heart and mind. For multiplied millions, the way of Hinduism is all they’ve ever known. It is safe and familiar to them. It is the religion of friends and family. It has been the way of their people for generations and generations. Yet, none of that makes it true.
Our heart is to see the captives set free.
Jesus’ heart is to deliver those in bondage.
He is the breaker of every chain. But only if those who are bound are willing to receive their freedom. Tradition, familiarity and the sense of safety and security are all traps of Satan and strongholds of our human flesh.
Set the prisoners free. May the prison doors swing wide as chains fall to the ground. May eyes and ears be unlocked and opened to see Your beautiful face and hear Your glorious voice. Break through strongholds, Lord, and save now. May Your grace and mercy be made known to the lost.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday, Oct. 31 – Day 12
Hindus typically believe in several ways of achieving moksha (liberation from the cycle of reincarnation). These ways include Karma Marga, Jnana Marga, and Bhakti Marga.
Karma Marga is the way of works. Just like it sounds, it’s the belief that if a person earns enough good karma over enough lifetimes (while avoiding too much bad karma, of course) then he or she will one day be released from the suffering cycle of samsara.
Gyana Marga is the way of knowledge. Basically, it’s believed that through a deeper understanding of the Brahman and one’s own Atman-Brahman unity, moksha can be achieved. This is thought to be possible because if a Hindu understands the true oneness of everything, then his desires and lusts will inevitably be eliminated. This is because it’s our ignorance that is said to lead to bad actions (which leads to bad karma). So eventually, with enough knowledge and understanding, one attains perfect enlightenment. Typically, this “knowledge” is attained through various forms of deep meditation and self-deprivation.
Bhakti Marga is the way of devotion. This way is favored by most Hindus around the world. Devotion is expressed through rituals, prayers, attending festivals, pilgrimages, etc. in honor of a particular god or goddess. The hope is that favor and blessing will be attained through one’s devotion to him or her.
Though You do call us to work for the kingdom, to grow in knowledge and to live lives that are devoted to You, these in no way “earn” Your favor or blessing. As Your beloved children, we already have Your favor. Thank You, Lord that You have made just one way of salvation: simple belief in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. We so desire that our Hindu neighbors would receive that blessing from You. So use us, Lord, to spread Your Good News to Hindus. Open their hearts, Father that they might come to know the only true way of salvation – Jesus, the Way Himself.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday, Oct. 30 – Day 11
Many Hindus believe that moksha (liberation from the cycle of reincarnation) is only possible through working off bad karma and storing up good karma over many lifetimes.
Other Hindus believe that all people will someday reach moksha.
Regardless, most of our Hindu neighbors believe in and live their lives in accordance with the implications of karma, samsara and moksha.
In addition to the jug full of air analogy we’ve touched on, another illustration could be that of a car race.
Samsara is the race itself. It’s a seemingly endless course of trying to get ahead by storing up good credit.
Karma then is the car. It’s the vehicle by which each racer participates in the race.
Moksha is the finish line. Just finishing the race – ending the cycle of life, suffering, death and rebirth – is the ultimate goal that the racer is racing toward.
You have set a race for each of us. And Your will is that we would run it well and finish it well. Thank You, God, that You have not left us alone on an endless course, but You remain with us over every mile. And we thank You, Lord, that it’s not by our own goodness that we do well in this race, but only by trusting and leaning into Your goodness that we finish well. Again, we pray for those who believe they are stuck, doing lap after lap after lap, in this race. Lord, as sad as that is, it’s dangerous, too. They believe they have an almost infinite number of laps. Yet, Your word tells us that we have one life which speeds by like a vapor, and then the judgement. So, we pray that You would put a healthy fear in the hearts of our Hindu neighbors. A fear that would lead them to You.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday, Oct. 29 – Day 10
Karma, which we looked at yesterday, is directly tied to a person’s samsara.
Samsara, which can be translated “suffering,” or “wandering,” describes the endless cycle of rebirth (reincarnation). It is the process of working off bad karma and storing up good karma in an effort to achieve moksha (liberation from the cycle of reincarnation).
As mentioned on Day 5, the majority of Hindus believe in the brahman and atman unity. The goal of each life is simply to get rid of the “jug,” (the body) in hopes of melding the two.
Samsara then is both the way (or process) to achieve liberation, and the reason to achieve liberation. In other words, within Hinduism, one must embrace the cycle of rebirth in order to eventually be freed from it.
We’re so thankful You have taken away all of our suffering. Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, bore all of our sin and shame once and for all. We rejoice in the fact that rather than working toward our liberation over many lives, we only need to receive Your righteous life, death and resurrection by faith. Lord, may many of our Hindu neighbors be granted a moment of clarity within their spirit to see the hopelessness of their own efforts, and the promise of Your divine work on the cross as payment for all of their sins.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Monday, Oct. 28 – Day 9
Karma is a Hindu belief that could be loosely compared to the Biblical concept of “reaping and sowing”, or what Western thinkers would call “cause and effect.”
In its essence, karma is believed to be a spiritual law that every action one takes has a direct reaction.
Good actions create good reactions; bad actions create bad reactions.
With karma however, the reactions are experienced in the next life – or lives – to come.
If a Hindu lives a good and kind life and stores up good karma, then he will have a better life when he is reincarnated. If a Hindu lives a bad life and stores up bad karma, then he will have a worse life when he is reincarnated.
It’s because of this perception that Hindus generally believe that any hardship, difficulty or even disability in life, is due to having bad karma. In other words, everyone just gets what they have coming.
We thank You that through Jesus we are made right in Your sight. We believe we could never be good enough to merit Your favor. We could never, in a sense, earn enough good karma to save ourselves. But You, Lord, paid the price on our behalf. Our deep desire is that our Hindu neighbors would come to know and believe in the power of Jesus’ blood over every wrong they’ve ever done or will do. May we, Your Church, be bold enough to share this Good News! And Lord, give our Hindu neighbors ears to hear and hearts to receive Your grace.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Sunday, Oct. 27 – Day 8
Diwali (also referred to as Divali, Deepavali or Dipavali) is the Hindu “festival of lights.” Over the course of four or five days, Hindus all around the world will celebrate with family and friends. They acknowledge and acclaim the victory of light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
The third day of Diwali (today) is the highpoint of the festival. It’s also always the darkest night of the month. Many will light numerous lamps inside and outside of their home as the sun fades. Families then share specially prepared meals and gifts. As the evening goes on, firecrackers are set in further celebration.
This festival serves as an excellent opportunity to lovingly share the Light of the World, Jesus, with our Hindu neighbors. After all, not only is He the Light of the World, He is also perfect in goodness and possesses all knowledge. In other words, He’s the fulfillment of so much of what Diwali is a celebration of!
Open blinded eyes to Your glorious light. May Your goodness draw Hindus to saving faith in You. And may the knowledge of You expose everything that is false. God, we pray that You would touch hearts and lives as Hindus all over the globe celebrate and focus on so much of what is good. Draw their eyes and hearts to the only One that is truly good.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Saturday, Oct. 26 – Day 7
Ancient Hindu writings can be broken down into two main categories: Shruti, meaning “heard,” and Smriti, meaning “remembered.” The names of these historic texts point to the fact that for many centuries, from generation to generation, they were passed down orally. Though they would eventually be written down, these Hindu scriptures are recognized as coming not from man nor even the gods, but by religious sages who received transcendent, eternal knowledge.
The Shruti are viewed as the most ancient and most authoritative collection of texts within Hinduism. Included within the Shruti are the four Vedas. The Vedas (meaning knowledge or wisdom) are a collection of four separate writings known as the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. Each of these four Vedas is further divided into four smaller parts: Mantras, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and the Upanishads. It’s these foundational scriptures that form the basis of Hinduism.
The earliest portions of the Vedas describe many gods, goddesses and other deities (many of whom are represented by natural phenomena like fire, storms, etc.). Included in this early portion of Hindu scriptures is a system of priestly rites and rituals which would serve to appease these various gods.
Smriti, the second grouping of Hindu literature, includes writings that are recognized as penned by human authors. Examples of Smriti texts are the Ramayana (Rama’s Way) and the Mahabharata (the Great Story, which includes the popular Bhagavad Gita), the Vedangas (codes of law), the Puranas (genealogies and legends of the gods), the Tantras (texts on obtaining mystical power), Sutras, Shastras and more covering a vast array of political, ethical and social themes.
Though the vast majority of our Hindu neighbors have likely had very little direct interaction with these ancient writings, their lives and families – not to mention countries and cultures – have been immensely influenced by the teachings found within.
We give You praise and thanks for the fact that You have revealed Your truth to us. Your Word is truth. You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Our hearts ache for the masses who don’t know You. We yearn to see our Hindu neighbors acknowledge and accept the only True and Living God – and His Word. Lord, we pray that You would soften the hearts and open the minds of many Hindus today. And send Your Truth to them – by Your Spirit and by Your servants. May Your Church in Hindu communities shine brightly, illuminating the darkness of a false religion. And where there is no Church, send us to proclaim the truth of Your Good News.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Friday, Oct. 25 – Day 6
The caste system is an ancient Hindu social code that dictates the social status a person will hold for their entire life. For example, if a Hindu is born into a low caste, he has no hope of achieving a higher caste until the next life. To even attempt to change one’s caste is to fight against the karma, and thus, accumulate more bad karma.
Hinduism lays out 4 basic caste groups (although there are numerous levels within each caste):
Brahmins are known for being the priestly group.
Kshatriyas are the warriors and rulers.
Vaisyas are the merchant and farmer class.
Shudras are recognized primarily as laborers.
Below all of these castes are the “outcastes.” In India especially, these people are known as Dalits, or untouchables.
We thank You that You became a humble man. You weren’t born into the highest class of people, even though You are the King of kings. Instead, You were born into an average family of average status. We thank You that You love and interact with those the world often ignores and casts aside. We pray for You to move in the hearts and minds of all Hindus, regardless of their caste. Just as You touched the “untouchable” in Your day, would You touch their lives as only You can? Speak truth into their souls. And may the body of Christ among Hindu communities break down every caste barrier for the sake of Your amazing love.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday, Oct. 24 – Day 5
Not to be confused with Brahma, the creator-god of Hinduism, and Brahmin, the priestly caste, brahman is a foundational Hindu concept describing the “ultimate reality,” or oneness of the universe. It is a metaphysical concept that is the single binding force behind all that exists. It is the keeper of all karma and, though unchanging, it is the source of all change. Beyond that, it is fundamentally the source of all things. In fact, brahman basically is all things.
Another similar and related concept among Hindus is that of atman. Atman is the spiritual essence of all beings. Most followers of Hinduism believe in an atman and brahman unity, although there are noted differences between the two.
Confused yet? You’re not alone.
Here’s one simple illustration we can use to describe the relationship between brahman and atman. Picture a glass jug with air in it. The air outside of the jug is brahman and the air inside of the jug is atman. Just as the air outside the jug is identical to the air inside, so it is with brahman and atman. The essence of ourselves is the same as the essence of the divine, just “separated” by our bodies, which is represented by the jug.
Another common illustration is that of the ocean and a drop of water. The same, yet separate.
To further illustrate, one saying sometimes used among Hindus is, “atman is brahman.” In other words, all living things are divine at their core/essence. We are all “one with the universe.”
Your Word makes clear that You are not one with Your creation. You are altogether separate, holy and above all that You have made. Yet, You do desire to become one – in fellowship and communion – with Your people. We rejoice in that and pray that many followers of Hinduism would come to know and believe in You, the holy and heavenly God, as the Lord of their salvation. May they become one, not with the universe, but with the God of the universe!
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday, Oct. 23 – Day 4
Most of the world’s Hindus believe in many gods and goddesses. In fact, there is said to be an astounding 330 million gods and goddesses within the religion of Hinduism. Many have shrines and temples devoted to them.
Brahma is one of the most important. He is credited with creating the world. He is so important, that a whole order of priests, the Brahmins, were established and named after him.
Vishnu is another popular and widely known god. He is believed to be the champion of all good causes; the ruler and preserver of the heavens and the earth. Throughout history, it’s said that Vishnu has taken on many earthly forms, known as avatars. The most well-known and popular of these avatars being Krishna.
Shiva is yet another important god in Hinduism. He represents the life and death cycle of the universe.
Attempts are commonly made to appease one or several of these gods by Hindus. Devotion to a specific god is one way to help break the cycle of reincarnation. The favor of these gods is also sought to help with everyday concerns like wealth, marriage, fertility, etc.
We acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from You. You are the creator and sustainer of all things. You truly hold the world in Your hands. Devotion to any other god won’t get anyone anywhere. We’ve seen time and time again the silence of other gods in response to the prayers and sacrifices of people in need. Lord, would You awaken the lost to the truth of Your grace and Your goodness! You are the One true God! Apart from You there is no other! Nor is there salvation found in any other. So, we pray that You would make Your name known among our Hindu neighbors throughout the world.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday, Oct. 22 – Day 3
It comes as no surprise that India contains the largest number of Hindus. With nearly 80 percent of Indians identifying as Hindu – it puts the grand total of Hindus at a staggering one billion people!
Although India by far contains the largest total number of Hindus, Nepal comes in as the nation with the largest percentage of Hindus. Approximately 81 percent of Nepal’s 29.7 million people identify themselves as Hindu.
Other countries with notable Hindu populations include Bangladesh, Indonesia (Bali in particular), Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
All in all, Hinduism ranks as the third largest world religion – after Christianity and Islam – with adherents totaling 15 percent of the world population.
What we, as Christians, have before us is an ever-increasing opportunity – and responsibility – to reach out to our Hindu neighbors with the truth of Jesus. That may include traveling to India or Nepal, or it may include traveling to the Hindu communities in a town or city near you.
Your eyes travel to and fro, all over the world, searching for hearts that are open and will yield to You. There is no place, no remote village, no person that is too far for You to reach. So we ask, Lord, that You would touch the hearts of Hindus both near and far. And use us to that end. May the peoples praise You! May Your great name be known and praised in every corner of the world You made and love.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Monday, Oct. 21 – Day 2
Defining Hinduism is a big challenge. Although most major world religions have a number of sects, denominations or offshoots that add to their diversity of beliefs and practices, they also have a central text or founder upon which the religion is based. This makes defining and understanding the religion as a whole possible.
Hinduism, however, often called the world’s oldest religion, has no known founder and a wide diversity of texts. Or, if it ever did, it has long since been lost to history. These facts make it the hardest world religion to grasp. Of course, there are common beliefs and practices that the vast majority of Hindus around the world would acknowledge, karma being the most well-known (more on that later). That said, we do know that Hinduism began on the Indian subcontinent many thousands of years ago. It was birthed in the Indus River Valley area through a blending of the local religion and that of the Aryan people, who began infiltrating the area sometime after 2000 BC. The mixing of these two religious communities and belief systems formed a new religion entirely its own. This new religion, Hinduism, would contain countless gods, various ways to gain their favor, and a complicated view of life, suffering, death and more.
We give You, the Creator of all things, praise. You made mankind in Your image. We have strayed so far over the course of thousands and thousands of years. We’ve made gods in our own likeness and worshiped the creation rather than the Creator. We’ve fallen so far. Lord, have mercy on those who are separated from the knowledge of the Everlasting God. And send Your witnesses to proclaim Your truth! Give each of us, Your sons and daughters, boldness to GO and to share the Good News of Your kingdom with our Hindu neighbors near and far.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Sunday, Oct. 20 – Day 1
Since 2011, Climbing For Christ has made it a special point to join our hearts with a multitude of other Christian believers in prayer for the lost world through specific and focused periods of prayer. We started by providing 30 days of prayer resources directed toward interceding for our Muslim neighbors during their celebration of Ramadan. We’ve continued to offer Project Prayer: Ramadan every year since.
Last year, we expanded our Project Prayer initiative to include 15 days of prayer for the Hindu world. And once again, in 2019, we extend this invitation for you to join us in prayer for the roughly one billion Hindus who call this world their home. From Oct. 20 to Nov. 3 we will offer a brief daily insight into Hinduism followed by a short prayer response. Will you join your heart with ours in lifting up the Hindu world to the Lord!?
This prayer focus on our Hindu neighbors will be followed by Project Prayer: Buddhist World 2019 from Nov. 4 to 18. These two prayer efforts will coincide with Mission: Nepal 2019, Part 2 from Oct. 31-Nov. 17. Nepal is a Hindu and Buddhist nation.
God is on the move. Always. He is always working. Often, He works in small and seemingly insignificant ways. Other times, he works in the biggest, most “beyond our understanding,” 10-moves-ahead kind of ways. Regardless of our perspective on the size and scope, it’s beyond doubt that God is always at work. And often – probably more often than we’d like to think – He is waiting to move. Waiting for us to simply ask Him.
“You have not because you ask not,” James 4:2 reads. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do,” Jesus tells us in John 14:13. Later in John 16:24 we read more of Jesus’ sentiments: “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” In fact, God delights “to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think,” Paul declares in Ephesians 3:20.
We can clearly see that God wants to hear and respond to our prayers – many times far beyond what we can even imagine is possible. To ask for the hearts of a multitude of Hindus or Buddhists or Muslims or just simply lost souls to be saved makes a few things clear. To ask implies that we care. To ask also implies that we believe God cares. And finally, to ask implies that we recognize that what we’re asking for is beyond doing in our own power. With that in mind, let us pray now.
Father in Heaven,
We come to You for the sake of lost Hindus around the world. All one billion of them. We come to You, God, because we care. We come because we know that You care. And we come because we know it’s only by the moving of Your Spirit and sovereign hand that we can see a multitude of Hindu souls turn to Christ. So we pray, Lord, that You would touch their hearts. Work in their lives. And send Your servants to share the love and truth of Jesus, that they might be saved. And we pray, Father, that You would enable us to persevere in prayer over the coming days. And that we would even see You respond in ways “exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think.”
In Jesus’ name, amen.