July: Hindu Peoples
Who They Are
Hindu peoples are divided into four major social classes called Forward Castes (Priests, Warriors and Traders), Middle Castes (called Sudras, or workers), and Scheduled Castes (or Dalits). The latter are considered to be "untouchable" by the others. The caste system in India was imposed thousands of years ago by foreign invaders from Central Asia. The caste system forms the essential basis of Hinduism, which was introduced by the conquerors to maintain separation between themselves and the peoples which they conquered.
There are over 200 Caste Peoples over one million in population and less than one percent evangelical. Many of these groups have only a handful of believers. The caste system in India rigidly prevents the gospel from spreading from one group to another. Most Christians in India come from Untouchable Castes and Tribal groups, and it is very difficult for them to reach those in the upper castes. Most Hindus follow a popular form of Hinduism, with each group making devotion to a particular god or goddess such as Ganesh or Kali. Celebrations and feasts devoted to a particular divinity are common and well-attended by young and old alike.
What God Is Doing
There have been movements among the Dalit peoples to abandon Hinduism, and leaders from among their communities have had discussions with evangelicals about converting to Christianity. Despite the difficulties, God is using many believers from lower castes to share the gospel with the Middle Caste Peoples. Although they are persecuted, imprisoned and even martyred, these brave missionaries are faithfully going where no other missionaries have been willing or able to go.
How To Pray:
- Pray for the protection and witness of indigenous missionaries in India.
- Pray for governments in South Asia that protect religious freedom.
- Pray for a disciple-making movement to be established in each of the 4,600 Hindu Caste peoples.
- Pray against radical Hindu sects and secret societies which seek to keep the gospel from spreading among Dalits.
- Pray for the protection of Upper Caste believers, who literally risk their lives to identify themselves as Christians.
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