The Two Worlds you may have missed!
In the months of October and November we focus on two worlds of 2 major Religious groups which requires effective Intercession in order to fulfill the Great Commission. They are considered 2 worlds because of the magnitude of people belonging to them and their widespread influence. They also constitute a considerable part of the ‘World’ which God so loved, to send His Son Jesus to die for.
The Hindu and Buddhist Worlds
These two Religions have common origins in the culture of Ancient India. Both have many shared beliefs and practices, but also pronounced differences that have led to much debate
Hinduism and Buddhism both accepted the law of Karma, Dharma, and Moksha and believed in a cycle of rebirth. They both believe in the existence of several hells and heavens or higher and lower worlds. Yet, they consists of nearly 2 billion of lost souls who are yet to be reached with the Gospel!
Since it will take considerable effort and endeavor to reach them, it is vitally important to focus on Prayer to mobilize the whole Church to have a vision & burden and to see breakthroughs in opening of doors and opportunities, and at the same time having more laborers released.
October Focus: The Hindu World.
In October we focus on the Hindu World as there is a significant Hindu festival and holidays this month. We encourage you to pray that God would open the eyes and make them sensitive to the realities of the Gospel. And, each week a Prayer Circular will be sent featuring key areas of Prayer.
We appreciate you mobilizing your Churches and Intercessors for this unified effort to see a great harvest of souls resulting from Prayer.
Week 1: Introduction to the Hindu World.
- What is Hinduism?
- Who are the Hindus?
- Where are the Hindus?
- Global Picture of Hinduism.
- Largest Hindu nations.
- What are the Challenges
1. What is Hinduism.
Hinduism is considered to be one of the oldest religion, dating back to 4000 BC. Its adherents are more than one billion across the world, in which 95% live in India. It calls itself “An eternal Religion – Sanātana Dharma “.
Hinduism is a heterogeneous religion, which means it consist of parts or things that are very different from each other. Therefore, it consists of many schools of thought.
- Hinduism has no traditional religious order,
- no centralized religious authorities, no governing body, no prophets;
- Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, monotheistic, pantheistic, monistic, agnostic, humanist or atheistic.
- Estimates of Hinduism by country reflect this diversity of thought and way of life.
2. What do Hindus Believe:
Belief in many gods.
Hindus believe in Three Gods. i.e. Brahma – the Creator, Vishnu – the Protector, and Shiva – the Destroyer of the Godhead – Brahman.
Ways of Salvation:
In order to achieve salvation, they follow the four ways:
- Bhakti Marg – the way of piousness,
- Gyan Marg – the way of enlightenment (meditation)
- Karm Marg – The way of charity
- Raj Marg – self-control in one’s life.
Thus, by following any of the ways they believe that their soul will be redeemed from the eternal cycle of rebirth (Samsara) and merge with the Brahman (eternal God).
According to their holy books Vedas and puranas (mythological books) – Ramayana, Mahabharata, they believe that the God Vishnu took ten avatars (a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth) to protect the people from the evil. They believe that the last avatar – Kalki will come to judge this sinful world.
The Hindu sacred texts constitute “the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times” collectively referred to as the Shastras. There are two types of sacred writings in the Hindu scriptures: Shruti (heard) and Smriti (memorized).
Sruti literature refers to the habit of ancient Hindu saints who led a solitary life in the woods, where they developed a consciousness that enabled them to ‘hear’ or cognize the truths of the universe. Sruti literature is in two parts: the Vedas and the Upanishads.
There are four Vedas:
• The Rig Veda -“Royal Knowledge”
• The Sama Veda – “Knowledge of Chants”
• The Yajur Veda – “Knowledge of Sacrificial Rituals”
• The Atharva Veda – “Knowledge of Incarnations”
There are 108 extant Upanishads, of which 10 are most important: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taitiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka.
The Hindus celebrate the festival of lights – Diwali in the month of October to celebrate the return of Ram (avatar of Vishnu) to his hometown after fourteen years of banishment. Hindus Celebrate it by lightning and displaying rows of small oil lamps, participating in family gatherings, consuming special sweets and watching fireworks. Thus they believe that light expels darkness and start of the new beginning in their lives.
This is why we dedicate this month for Prayer for Hindus, who are seeking the God during this festival might come to see, hear and understand the free grace of God in Incarnate Jesus who is the light of this world.
Where are the Hindus? The World of the Hindus.
Hinduism is the third-largest religion worldwide, with approximately 1.2 billion Hindus in many different countries. Hinduism is the dominant religion in three countries, India, (78.9%), Nepal 28.6 million (80.6%) and Mauritius (48.4%).
Hinduism enjoys a global presence as many regions around the world support significant populations of Hindus, including the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, North America, and South America.
10 Nations with largest number of Hindus.
|Sri Lanka||3.09 million||13.7|
|United States||2.5 million||0.7|
|United Kingdom||1.3 million||1.6|
Where are the Hindus?
Hindus of South Asia.
- India: Since about 95% of the world’s Hindus live in India, it should be a country in focus to reach the Hindus. The majority of Hindus in India belong to the Shaivite and Vaishnavite denominations.
- Nepal has the second-highest Hindu population with 28.6 million, which is 80.6% of the country’s population. Hinduism played a large role in Nepal’s history, which was the only Hindu state in the world until 2008.
Hinduism in Nepal differs from that in India in three ways: Hinduism and Buddhism are not separated from each other in local populations, there are no influences of Islam, and there are no influences of Bhakti traditions.
- Bangladesh has the third-largest population of Hindus at almost 13.8 million.
Hinduism is the second-largest religious affiliation. Despite having a relatively large number of Hindus, Bangladesh has seen a steady decrease in the Hindu population since 1940, where the percentage of the total population was 28%.
Hindus in Western Nations.
- In the Western Nations where there are large number of Hindu followers, United States, UK, Australia and Canada, together with Europe there are unique opportunities to reach them with the Gospel devoid of any political or religious opposition which exists in their native lands.
- There are unique opportunities to reach these Hindus by sending Missionaries to them and they have no challenges such as language, culture, and visas etc., as most of them are accultured to the domiciled nations.
Hindus in Western Nations.
|United States||2.5 million||0.7|
|United Kingdom||1.3 million||1.6|
Hindus in Other Nations.
- They are the Regions of Europe, the Caribbean, Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The above principles applies to reaching them as there are many advantages of access and opportunity.
- Pray for the Lord of the Harvest to rise more Laborers from these nations to reach out to the Hindus.
- Pray that Churches in these nations will make an intentional effort to reach them with the Gospel.
Some of the Challenge in reaching Hindus are:
- Lack of association. Majority of Hindus, about 80%, will never have the opportunity to associate with a Christian who can share the Gospel with them. Pray that Christians will make intentional effort to be salt and light to Hindus and develop relationships with them.
- Lack of understanding or Misunderstanding of Hindu people’s religious and cultural synthesis in practice and belief. Religion is deeply interwoven with culture as well as National identities or ethnicities. Pray that the minds of the Hindus will be open to the Gospel as Christians
- Lack of coordinated strategies or united efforts to evangelize them. Due to resistant or antagonistic contexts in which Christians operate, especially in India and Nepal, they face many obstacles in reaching out to Hindus. Pray for supernatural opportunities and open doors.
- Need to contextualize the Message of the Gospel to Hindus without ‘Christianized’ baggage which Hindus regard as ‘foreign’ or associated with colonial past. Pray that churches will have an effective Discipleship processes for Hindu Converts so that there will be ‘Christ Followers’ and making ‘Christians.’
- The need of Churches to be intentional and persistent in their outreach to them and not be settled down with inward focus and major on other issues without making this a priority.
Pray that Churches in each Nation will make Evangelism and Missions the main priority and the purpose of existence and that other matters will take less importance.
Prayer Resources for Praying for Hindus in India.
Global Day of Prayer for India – 7th October.
Join in Prayer for India and for the Unreached People Groups in 27 Key Cities which has a population of over 1 million people.
Register with the International Prayer Connect to join in Prayer this week.
Next Week: Praying for Hindus in India.
- World Population Review.
- Pew Research.
- Pic Credits:
- Getty Images.