Praying Through the Window III -- October, 1997

The Unreached Peoples

Day 8

Bengali Homeland: Bangladesh, India
Religion: Islam, Hinduism

North east of India lies Bangladesh, "Land of the Bengalis." 125 million Bengalis call Bangladesh home while another roughly 62 million live across the border in the Indian state of West Bengal. The British ruled the area from the 18th century to 1947 when East Bengal became part of Pakistan. Bangladesh declared its independence in 1971 and, in the ensuing civil war, millions died or fled to India. Islam is the religion of most Bengalis. Muslim invaders conquered the formerly Hindu area in the 12th century. Today 85 percent of Bengalis are Muslim, but the Hindus form a sizable minority of about 12 percent. Most of the remainder are Buddhists or Christians. Like Muslims in many parts of the world, many Bengalis today believe the tombs of ancient holy men to be places of great spiritual power, and their pre-Islamic belief in jinn, or spirits, still controls much of their daily lives.

God, break through the spiritual darkness which enshrouds the millions of Bengalis who live in Bangladesh and India. Free them from their fear of spirits and to give them new life in Christ.

Assamese Homeland: Assam, India
Religion: Hinduism, Islam

About 14 million Assamese-speaking people live in north east India, primarily in the state of Assam. Dependent on the land, most Assamese live in rural settings where they grow rice, jute, and tea, and profit from rich mineral resources. An artistic and creative people, the Assamese enjoy poetry, literature, and music. Like many Hindus, they accept difficulties without complaining, seeing their lives decreed by fate. The Assamese have simple lives without many material comforts. For many years, Assamese Hindus and Bengali Muslims have been fighting over territorial rights in this area. Christians, who represent only a small fraction of the population, are appreciated for their efforts in relief work and education.

Father, let the compassion and faithfulness of Assamese Christians lead many Hindus and Muslims to a better peace in Christ.

Bihari Homeland: Nepal, India
Religion: Hinduism, Animism

There are nearly 90 million Bihari-speaking Bhojpuris in India and Nepal, making them one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. Yet those who profess Christ are zealous for the gospel. One missionary worked with Bhojpuri people with little response. Then he met an illiterate Bhojpuri believer. He helped him learn to read, and the two men went to seven villages where there were tiny Christian groups. They trained one person in each village to share the gospel and went on to other villages and trained new believers in the same way.

Dear Lord, please use these two men along with many others to plant dynamic, growing churches in every Bhojpuri village. Help the Bhojpuri to understand the power of prayer.

Oriya Homeland: Orissa, India
Religion: Hinduism

Roughly 33 million Indians speak the Oriya language which was derived from ancient Sanskrit. They live primarily in the Indian state of Orissa. The first convert of early 19th century missionaries to Orissa was a high caste Brahmin. Within a few years the number of believers had grown to 20, all from the highest castes. But as more Oriyas became Christians, they began living in exclusively Christian communities. As a result, relatively few of the Oriya people throughout India are now evangelical Christians. Today missionaries and Christians from a tribal background are persecuted in Orissa.

Holy Spirit, raise up Indian missionaries who can see and cross the barriers of language and culture to reach Oriyas.

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