Day 5: The Tai Lue People

The Tai Lue people are an ethnic group living in China, Laos, Thailand, Burma, and Vietnam who speak a Tai language. In China, they are officially recognized as part of the Dai ethnic group who live in the southern province of Yunnan, China. The Tai Lue people spread south from China to the surrounding nations of Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia where they adopted Theravada Buddhism.

The Theravada tradition of Buddhism developed in Sri Lanka and was brought to Southeast Asia by monks where it was flourishing by the 12th century. It emphasizes spiritual transformation through one’s own efforts, particularly through meditation, and ideally through life as a monk. However, there are many festivals that are enjoyed by the whole community.

A popular festival is Songkran which marks the new year on the Buddhist calendar and is celebrated in April. As part of the festival, people splash water over each other, symbolizing the cleansing of sin from the previous year and a fresh start for the new year.

The Tai Lue people in the villages can recall the stories told by their grandparents of people who came riding in on elephants long ago in the 1800s; they traveled from village to village sharing stories about Jesus. Some of their stories were even translated into the local languages, but most of the people have continued to follow Theravada Buddhism.

WAYS TO PRAY:
Ask the Holy Spirit to use the awareness of sin in their lives and their need to be forgiven to bring the Tai Lue to salvation. (ACTS 2:38)

Pray for Christian workers and believers who were formerly Theravada Buddhists to be fruitful disciple makers. (MATTHEW 28:19)

Pray blessings on the Tai Lue people. Be inspired by EPHESIANS 1:17-19

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Day 4: Ladakhi People of India

In late October, the northern hemisphere is beginning to experience chilly weather. People often think of this as a time to reap the harvest from previous months. But for the people of Ladakh in Kashmir, northwest India, many are already cut off from the outside world due to heavy snow which lasts over half the year.

Ladakh’s growing season only lasts a couple of months, but somehow, they have traditionally managed to survive as small-scale farmers. Water is in short supply in this high elevation desert, and the land can only sustain a few livestock. Ladakhi farms are irrigated by channels that funnel water from the melted snow from nearby mountains.

Ladakh is often referred to as “Little Tibet” because of the influence of neighboring Tibet. The population is divided evenly between Tibetan Buddhists in the east and Kashmiri Muslims in the west which can bring them into conflict because of their religious differences.

Over the past three decades many things have changed in Ladakh because of modernization. The Ladakh Department of Agriculture was able to persuade farmers to use chemical fertilizers and to replace their traditional communal labor systems for better production. But in matters of religion, traditional Buddhist practices are still followed and passed on to new generations.

WAYS TO PRAY

Pray for the Ladakhi people to look to Jesus, the Lord of the Harvest, for salvation. (ACTS 4:12)

Pray for more workers to serve among the Ladakhi people and for those who are working hard to share the love of Christ with them. (JOHN 4:35-37)

Pray for developments in agriculture and education to help improve the quality of life for the people of “Little Tibet.” (PSALM 43:3)

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Day 3: Buddhists in Bhutan

Growing up, Pema absorbed her understanding of Tibetan Buddhism through the culture around her. In the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, only the lamas (spiritual leaders) learned the deeper things of Buddhism and were responsible to guard the worldview of society in Bhutan. In school, where the students learned Dzongkha, the official language of Bhutan, they also memorized and recited morning and evening prayers.

The school prayers were to the god of wisdom, for special people, and for good rebirth. Pema learned that the act of praying – memorized prayers or spinning prayer wheels – was helpful for a person’s karma. Good karma needed to be earned for a better rebirth. Her focus in praying, however, was the here and now – her troubled family. She was frustrated that she did not see any change in them or herself and did not feel much hope. But what to do? She kept doing what she had always done.

Pema found Christ when she grew older and in Him, she found her answers, forgiveness, and healing through prayer, led by the Holy Spirit and the Word. She wants to be one who teaches the message of Christ

WAYS TO PRAY?

Many young people in Bhutan, particularly in urban areas, follow Buddhist traditions without real belief. Pray that they will be thirsty for Living Water. (JOHN 4:13-14)

Pray for Christians in Bhutan to be genuine examples of Christ, showing the love of Christ in everything they do, as salt and light. (MATTHEW 5:13-16)

Covid-19 has had severe implications for the people of Bhutan, where tourism is a vital industry. Fear and worry have increased, with pressure to perform more religious rituals to ease the hardship. Pray for them to know the peace described in JOHN 14:27.

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Day 2: The Loba from Nepal

Chimmi is from the Loba tribe. He was born in a remote village in Mustang, Nepal, a northern region that borders Tibet. Raised in a Buddhist family, Chimmi attended school near his home, and then studied further in a nearby city.

Chimmi believed in karma, the idea that good actions are rewarded, and bad actions diminish the good rewards. Chimmi tried to be a good person and earn good merit but he found it difficult. In frustration, he gave up on karma and pursued some illegal activities. He ended up in prison for his actions. Chimmi’s family was ashamed and abandoned him. Chimmi asked himself, “Why did this happen? Is it because of bad karma that I am in this situation? Where is my good merit?” He felt hopeless.

In prison, Chimmi met two brothers who had become Christians. They visited Chimmi and gave him a booklet about the life of Jesus which Chimmi read over and over. He began to see his life differently and understand that Jesus loved him and suffered for all of mankind.

Chimmi asked the brothers for a Bible. Soon after, he was pardoned and released from prison. He returned to his family to share his new faith with other Loba and they too have become believers. Chimmi has continued to share his faith and many others in his community have come to believe in Jesus too.

WAYS TO PRAY

Pray for the Loba people and other Buddhist people who have few opportunities to hear the gospel. (ACTS 1:8)

Pray for the few Loba Christians and those who disciple them. (ROMANS 10:15)

Pray for Buddhists to experience salvation by grace as described in EPHESIANS 2:8-9.

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide