Welcome to the 2021 edition of the 15 Days of
Prayer for the Hindu World prayer guide!
The whole world suffered through the
pandemic of COVID-19 but the nation of
India, the home of the majority of Hindus,
has endured more of its terrible misery
than most. The impact of the disease
through loss of life, health, opportunity,
and income has left no Indian family
untouched and will be felt for decades to
The theme of “family” for this year’s
guide was chosen, and work had begun
on writing articles and gathering photos
all before the brutal force of the second
wave of COVID-19 hit India. Sickness,
grief and loss ravaged the Indian
subcontinent. Families were devastated.
Hindu funeral pyres lit up the streets for
weeks. The coordination team for this
prayer guide, our families, friends, and
communities have been changed forever.
Hinduism approaches the problem of
suffering in different ways, depending
on the branch one follows. Swami
Vivekananda, was an influential Hindu
monk from Calcutta who lived from
1863-1902. His teaching on suffering
draws from the story of the goddess
Sita, who suffers great injustices in the
ancient Indian epic, the Ramayana.
Sita is lauded as the ideal woman:
devoted and pure, faithful despite any
pain or injustice. Her ability to endure
suffering is considered her greatest
strength. Swami Vivekananda teaches
that patient endurance in suffering is
the Hindu ideal. He says, “We destroy
evil by suffering, until evil is nothing to
us, it becomes positive enjoyment.” He
compares this to the Western philosophy
of suffering, which aims to “minimise evil
by conquering it.”
As followers of Christ, we do not
embrace a “Western” or an “Eastern”
philosophy, but we look to the Scriptures
to understand the human experience of
suffering, in all its forms and outcomes.
The Bible directs us to remember that
suffering is temporary (1 Peter 5:10),
that it is nothing compared to the glory
that awaits us (Romans 8:18), and that
God can use it for good (Romans 8:28).
Believers are also exhorted to use
suffering as an opportunity to grow
in faith (James 1:2-4) and to recognise
it as something we share with Jesus
(Philippians 3:10). Knowing that we
will face suffering, we are commanded
to comfort those who are afflicted (2
Corinthians 1:3-4; Galatians 6:2) and be
comforted by the presence of Christ in
our own suffering (2 Corinthians 1:5,
Psalm 23). Lament is part of our faith
(Psalm 88) but so is hope (Revelation
In the face of so much suffering one
can feel hopeless. Prayer can seem
inadequate. But we are inspired by the
promise in Romans 8:26-28.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in
our weakness. We do not know what we
ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself
intercedes for us through wordless
groans. And he who searches our
hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for God’s
people in accordance with the will of
God. And we know that in all things God
works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to
As you pray through this prayer guide,
allow the Holy Spirit to intercede
through you for the Hindu families who
need to experience the hope of Christ
in their season of lament. Pray for the
restoration of India, and other Hindu
communities ravaged by the COVID-19
pandemic. And pray for Christians in
these communities to cause the message
of Jesus to spread throughout these
regions, calling Hindu people to Him and
working all things together for good.
About the 15 Days of Prayer
for the Hindu World
How did 15 Days start?
In 2016, a network of Christians working to share the love of Christ with Hindu people
were inspired to revive a prayer guide for Hindus that had begun development in the
This 2021 edition is an expression of the love that followers of Christ have for Hindu
peoples; love that includes a desire for them to prosper and discover eternal salvation in
Who writes the articles and produces the guide?
Content for the prayer guide is contributed by a diverse group of Christ-followers spread
all over the world, many of whom live with, work with, and love Hindu people.
How do you decide what to pray for?
We accept submissions from all over the world, usually following a theme each year.
If you are interested in mobilising prayer for a particular need in the Hindu world, please
contact us using the contact form on our website: www.pray15days.org or send an e-mail
PRAY THEN LIKE THIS
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done, on
earth as it is in heaven.”
Is Hinduism a religion?
Hinduism is too complex to describe as a single religion, and we
will not attempt to provide a comprehensive understanding of
it in this guide. Within Hinduism, there is no central orthodoxy,
creed or set of beliefs that can be used to determine who is a
The word “Hinduism” describes a diverse group of many
religions, traditions, teachings, or belief systems. Any Hindu
person might have their own separate set of creeds, beliefs, etc.
It might be better to speak of many Hinduisms rather than one
However, it is useful to recognise that the word “Hinduism” is
commonly used, even by Hindus themselves, to describe this
broad set of ideas and collective identity.
Who is a Hindu?
About 15 percent of the world’s population identifies as Hindu.
Being Hindu is primarily based on being born into a Hindu family,
not on any set of beliefs, worship of any specific god, or act of
What are the origins of Hinduism?
Many saints, gurus, authors, and famous personalities have
contributed to the development of Hinduism. However, no single
founding person or event is given credit for starting Hinduism.
While most Hindus will agree that certain sacred Hindu texts
are valuable, no holy scripture is held to be fully and equally
authoritative by all Hindus.
Complex and diverse Hindu traditions have existed in South
Asia since before recorded history. Additionally, the Hindu
community’s perception of itself has changed and evolved over
the centuries and continues to develop.
Hindu population statistics
Hindu population statistics
INDIA is the world’s second most populous nation and 95% of all
Hindus in the world live here. Of India’s population of 1.4 billion,
around 80 percent are Hindu.
NEPAL is the only other country in the world with a majority
Hindu population. About 81 percent (or 22 million) of Nepal’s
total population of 29 million is Hindu.
BANGLADESH has a Hindu population of about 16 million (10
percent of the total population of 163 million).
INDONESIA, with more Muslims than any other country, also
has a Hindu population of about 4.5 million or 1.7 percent of the
total population of 270 million; most of the Hindus live on the
island of Bali.
PAKISTAN, which ranks 3rd in the list of countries with the most
Muslims, has a Hindu population of about 3.4 million (1.6% of the
total population of 216 million)
Globally, there are 1.1 billion
Hindus, or 15 percent of the
world population of 7.8 billion.
By comparison, the population
of Christians is 2.3 billion, and
Muslims 1.9 billion.
THE FIVE COUNTRIES WITH MOST HINDUS
Praying for Hindus
Hindus are the second-largest, least-reached religious group
in the world, with only about 2 percent of cross-cultural
ministers focused on sharing the gospel with them. This
means that the majority of Hindus still live without any
meaningful access to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Luke 4:17-19, Jesus declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the
poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to
proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
In this prayer guide, we encourage you to pray for Hindu
communities who are among some of the poorest in the world,
and are in need of freedom, favour and good news. Pray for
them to be blessed, to be healed and to have the opportunity to
hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We pray that you are inspired by the provided scriptures and
allow the Holy Spirit to direct your prayers and your heart
towards the Hindu people He loves.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the
Lord of the Harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for Hindus in the first
stage, for opportunities to make
Christian friends and hear the
gospel. (Proverbs 22:6)
Pray for Hindus in the second
stage, that in this busy season
of life they will have encounters
with the Holy Spirit that help
lead them to find Christ.
Pray for Hindus in the
last stages of life, that in
their pursuit of spiritual
enlightenment they would have
a revelation of Jesus. (Acts 2:17)
In Hindu philosophy, there are four
stages of life, called ashramas. These
help to direct a Hindu through life, with
different purposes and goals at each
Brahmacharya is the first ashrama, the
student stage, when a child is expected
to focus on education. This stage lasts
until around the time a child finishes their
The second ashrama is Grihastha, the
stage of life when a Hindu is expected to
marry, set up a household of their own,
and have children. Starting a family is seen
by some Hindus as a spiritual duty. Hindu
texts have much to say about marriage
and how to make it successful. In many
Hindu cultures, this duty is additionally
emphasised by the importance placed on
maintaining an ancestral line.
The stages of Hindu life
The third ashrama, Banaprashtra is the
time of life when a person is free from
family obligations and has more time to
pursue spiritual practices. In the multi-
generational households common in India,
older Hindus will have the opportunity to
share their wisdom with grandchildren and
help to teach them spiritual lessons.
These stages all prepare a Hindu for
Sannyasa, the fourth ashrama, when a
person devotes themselves entirely to
spiritual study with the goal of being set
free from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Not everyone practices this fourth
ashrama, although some will enter this
stage earlier, giving up family life to live a
monastic life, focused on spiritual study.
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for couples where an
arranged marriage isn’t working
and there is rejection and
isolation. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Pray for blessings on the
marriages of Hindus you know
and for those in rural India.
Pray for Christians living in
Hindu communities, for their
marriages to be strong as
they reflect the love of Christ.
Jagdish grew up in a simple family of dairy
farmers. He would work from sunrise,
milking the animals, delivering the milk on
a motorcycle, and repeating the process
again in the afternoon, working late into
the evening. He had a good income, and he
was quick to pass the money to his family.
His generous heart meant he was always
willing to lend money to people in need
and often gave to help families who had
medical expenses or big veterinary bills.
Like so many couples in rural India, Jagdish
and Devi’s wedding was arranged when
they were only babies. Weddings in India
are much more about two families coming
together and uniting communities than
they are about two individuals choosing
each other. When this works well it
provides a wonderful security to the couple
and family and builds strong community.
When the time came for Jagdish to marry
Devi the whole community was excited
to celebrate the day. Jagdish had such a
generous heart and Devi was a beautiful,
gentle girl who loved to help others. It
seemed like the perfect match. However,
Jagdish had decided that he didn’t want
to marry Devi and he would not accept
her. The wedding went ahead because
cancelling it would bring too much shame
on their families. Their families felt that
over time Jagdish would change his mind
and their parents would bring positive
Sadly, both Devi and Jagdish’s parents
passed away not long after the marriage
and without the voice or influence of the
elders, their marriage has stalled. Devi feels
alone, isolated, and unloved while Jagdish
is frustrated and angry. They have been
married for nearly 8 years and have no
children and the pressure and shame that
this brings is clearly a burden for them both.
A year after his father died of COVID-19,
Putu still regrets that he was unable
to perform the traditional Balinese
funeral ritual called Ngaben. Hindus
believe that a properly done cremation
is important in helping release the soul
of a dead person so they can enter the
upper realms to be reborn or released
from the cycle of rebirth. Ngaben is an
elaborate, often costly ceremony and the
social distancing restrictions during the
pandemic meant that funeral ceremonies
were either simplified or, in the case
of those who died of COVID-19, not
The local priest has encouraged Putu
that it is the good deeds done by a
person while they live that allow the
soul to be at peace after death. But Putu
feels guilty that he was not able to do
everything possible to ease his father’s
journey into the afterlife.
Hindus in Bali
Bali is a province in the Republic of
Indonesia. The people of Bali are 87%
Hindu, but it is a form of Hinduism
that has absorbed elements of other
religions such as animism, Buddhism
and the dominant religion of the
Indonesian archipelago, Islam. 86% of
Indonesia is Muslim, making the Balinese
Hindus a small minority of 1.7%. The
government in Indonesia restricts
religious observances to a degree and
citizenship requires belonging to an
officially recognised religion which must
be monotheistic. Balinese Hindus have
adapted the form of their religion to
meet this requirement, identifying Ida
Sanghyang Widhi Wasa, as the “Divine
ruler of the universe”, the “Supreme
god” of which all other gods are
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Many Balinese rely on tourism
for their living, and so they
lost their incomes during the
pandemic. Pray for the recovery
of the Balinese economically,
emotionally and spiritually.
Pray for Balinese Hindus to
learn of the gift of salvation that
is given by grace. (Ephesians
Pray for them to have the
opportunity to understand the
“true God and eternal life.” (1
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for Hindu families to look
to the One who blesses them
with children and trust Him.
Pray for families like this one to
find hope and peace in Jesus. (1
Pray that families will embrace
the value God puts on every
individual and celebrate one
another. (Luke 12:7)
We were newly married ourselves, and
living in India, when our neighbour’s son
got married. The whole village came out
for the wedding celebrations. The women
travelled separately from the men and
met up again when the procession
began. It started at sundown with a
parade through the streets to the bride’s
home. There was loud music, dancing,
food, and people everywhere! The actual
marriage ceremony didn’t take place until
nearly midnight and the party went on
until early the next morning.
The couple hadn’t been married very
long, when the husband’s family knocked
at our door, asking if we could interpret
a doctor’s report. They wanted to know
what was wrong with the new bride, and
why she wasn’t yet pregnant. We were
gladly able to tell them that it looked like
nothing was wrong and that they just
needed to wait. The pressure on the new
Marriage and Babies
bride to produce children was intense,
living with her husband’s family, in a
constant state of shame and dishonor
until she conceived a child.
In Hinduism, children are extremely
important. Infants are loved and
indulged, with male children being of
particular importance to keep the family
name and maintain the ancestral line.
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
The COVID-19 pandemic
has been a terrible ordeal in
India, but pray that good will
come, such as a change in the
expectations for overwork. (2
Pray for fathers in India to be
a blessing to their children,
a reflection of God’s love.
Pray for Hindus in India to hear
the word of the Father and
follow Him. (John 14:23)
Whenever Vikas talks about his four-
year-old son his face lights up and he
talks with pride at how well he is doing
in his online pre-school classes. He will
also take any opportunity to tell you how
well he can ride his bike or how confident
he is when talking on the phone to his
relatives who recently moved to America.
However, Vikas is hardly ever there to
see any of this take place, as he is always
in the office. Like so many Indian men,
Vikas finds much of his life’s purpose
and identity in his work, and he must
work long hours to please his boss. He
leaves early for work to beat the traffic
and stays late to make calls to clients
in Europe. Saturdays are just another
workday with no time for family. For
many Indian bosses, the measure of an
employee is not how well they work or
how smart they work, but how long they
Vikas recently caught COVID-19 and
was fortunate to not be too severely ill,
although he was tired and weak for a
long time. When he fell ill, he was able to
go with his family to their home village to
rest and recover. This was the first time in
more than 7 years Vikas had more than
a long weekend with his family without
needing to be in the office.
Vikas’s story is typical of many fathers
in India. This absence impacts the way
children are raised, the way marriages
are built, and how families can operate.
For many, a father is distant, distracted
and out of reach, which makes it hard to
understand God as a loving Father.
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for Hindu families in
Canada grieving the loss of
loved ones from the COVID-19
pandemic. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)
Pray for Hindu immigrant
communities as they recreate
their lives in Canada. Pray
they will find friends among
Canadian Christians who
will support and help them.
Pray for Christians in Canada to
be the love of Christ to Hindus
in their communities and so
encourage them to find Christ.
Bhavna kept scrolling through online
news about the COVID-19 pandemic
devastating India. Too many friends from
her hometown of New Delhi were ill or
had lost family members to the virus.
Bhavna had viewed her grandmother’s
funeral via Zoom from Toronto, where she
immigrated with her family as a teenager.
Toronto was still in lockdown, but she felt
safe by comparison - almost guilty for
how safe. Waves of grief washed over
her as she thought of her grandmother,
and fear for how many more would be
affected by the virus raging through India.
And what of her community here? Some
of Bhavna’s friends at the temple were
concerned that the news about Indian
variations of the virus would cause other
Canadians to be fearful of them. It was
hard enough, adjusting to Canadian
life without additional reasons for
Hindus in Canada
Hindus make up 1.5% of the population
in Canada with just under half a million
adherents. Most Hindus in Canada are
immigrants from South Asia, and the
vast majority of them live in the province
of Ontario. Toronto is a diverse city,
with immigrant populations from many
religious and cultural backgrounds, all
trying to both adapt to Canadian life and
maintain their own identity.
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for children who have
suffered the loss of family
members and found themselves
as orphans. Pray that they will
be provided for. (Psalm 82:3-4)
Pray for people in places of
power in government agencies
to have compassion for the
orphaned children of India.
Pray for miraculous strength for
those who are responding with
limited resources to the surge
of orphans who have emerged
from the pandemic. (Ephesians
Praveen’s parents had just returned to
the village from the big city where they
had gone to watch some politicians
speak. When they returned home, they
had bad coughs and fevers. Soon, many
in the village had the same symptoms
and within a month so many had gotten
sick that the small clinic could not
manage the cases. Praveen’s family were
among those who passed away that
month, and as he watched the funeral
pyres burn, he knew that he would have
to make it on his own.
So much of India has been deeply
impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
- families have been ripped apart and
deep loss has ravaged the country. Many
children find themselves orphaned and
homeless, when extended families are
unable to care for them. According to
UNICEF, India has 29.6 million orphaned
and abandoned children. The pandemic
Orphans in India
only heightened the lack of resources in
the government systems that are unable
to cope. Many children become victims of
trafficking and abuse or end up begging
on the street to survive.
The law in India used to restrict adoption
to Hindus only. In 2014, the Supreme
Court in India ruled that persons of
any religion could adopt, but different
religious laws and traditions continue to
make adoption unpopular, and it remains
uncommon among Indian families.
Over and over in the scriptures God
calls his people to remember the alien,
the orphan, and the widow. Partnering
with God is a call to hear the cry of the
marginalized and the oppressed.
Laxmi’s family had just moved into their
new house in Guyana. Her husband and
children cleared the furniture to make a
space for the guests who would attend a
ceremony called “Jhandi” to give thanks for
the new house. Laxmi had been cooking
for days, making the traditional 7 curries.
The Hindu pandit (priest) would come
to pray, chant, and bless the jhandi flags
which would fly outside the house next to
the small statue that represents the god
Shiva. Every day, Laxmi pours water over
the Shiva to honour the god and pray for
continued blessings on her family.
Approximately one quarter of the
population of Guyana is Hindu - the
highest percentage of Hindus in the
Western hemisphere. Hindus arrived in
British-ruled Guyana mostly as indentured
labourers from India in the mid-19th
century. They were the first people to
introduce Hinduism in the Americas.
Hindus in Guyana
Hindu culture in Guyana is similar to other
Hindu communities in the Caribbean, of
which Guyana is often considered a part.
However, British-colonised Guyana had
a more robust missionary presence that
included schools and economic incentives
to convert to Christianity. In neighbouring
Suriname, where the Dutch colonisers did
not make the same attempts to convert
the Indian labourers, the Hindu population
still speak Hindi, having retained their
language for generations.
Despite the loss of their language, Hindus
in Guyana mostly remained devoted to
their religion and as a community have
actively resisted missionary efforts,
although in recent decades the Hindu
population has declined. About 60% of
the population are Christians from a wide
variety of denominations.
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Guyana has one of the highest
rates of death by suicide in
the world and this particularly
affects the Hindu population.
Pray for them to have hope,
help and improved resources
to address this problem. (Psalm
Pray for the political and
economic stability in Guyana
and for wise leadership. (1
Pray for the Church in Guyana to
be a genuine light and witness
to their communities.
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for families, government,
and communities to respect
freedom of religion and not
persecute those who wish to
(2 Corinthians 13:11)
Ask for God’s comfort and
peace for those who have been
excluded from their families.
Pray for Hindus to hear teaching
on the Father Heart of God.
Preeti’s parents had wanted a son. As
a child, Preeti longed for her father
to take her on his knee and show her
some affection but he never did. She
was expected to help in the house and
pursue the career her mother chose
so she could take care of the family.
Instead, Preeti became a follower of
Jesus in her teens and chose to pursue
Christian training to work in ministry.
Her family were very angry at this and
cut off all contact with her.
At the Christian training centre, Preeti
heard teaching about God’s Father
heart, and how He loves His children
relentlessly. The teacher prayed for Preeti,
telling her, “God just wants you to sit on
his knee and know His love.” Preeti burst
into tears realising God fully understood
her situation. She shared more with the
teacher and they prayed together for
reconciliation with her parents.
Persecution of Hindu
Shortly after this, Preeti’s mother called
her. She was crying and said, “A mother
can never forget her child.” She accepted
Preeti’s decision to follow Jesus and do
His ministry. Preeti married a pastor, and
they continue to serve God in India.
Legally in India there is freedom of
religion, but political and community
culture often results in the persecution
of Hindus who become Jesus followers.
They can be excommunicated from their
family and ostracised from their local
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Mauritius has been known
as a lawful and democratic
nation, globally respected.
Recent political decisions and
accusations of corruption
around the management
of the COVID-19 pandemic
have caused concern about
Mauritius’ future. Pray for
wise leadership and good
governance. (Daniel 2:20-21)
Pray for Hindus in Mauritius
seeking comfort, protection,
and strength, that they will have
a revelation of God’s loving
protection through Jesus. (Isaiah
Pray for Christians in Mauritius
to be the “aroma of Christ”
to their Hindu neighbours. (2
It was the Hindu festival of Navaratri,
a festival dedicated to Maa Durga, the
goddess who represents motherhood,
strength, and protection. Thousands of
Mauritians make pilgrimage to the Ganga
Talao - a sacred lake in the south.
The crowd was enormous, and Ameenah
kept a close eye on her children as they
made their way to place flowers at the
base of the 108-foot-tall statue of Maa
Durga which was built on the banks of
the lake in 2017. Ameenah recalled the
excitement 10 years previously when
a 108-foot-tall statue of the god Shiva
was built at the entrance to the lake. It
was the tallest statue in Mauritius then
and now there were two! The statues
are a source of great pride for the
Hindu community in Mauritius, and a
focal point for celebration and worship.
Everyone looked forward to gathering at
the lake for the festival, and called out
Hindus in Mauritius
to one another, “Jai Mata Di “- a phrase
to bless and praise the mother goddess
and give happiness and strength to those
who are greeted with it.
Indian traders first introduced Hinduism
to Africa in ancient times. Much later,
British colonials brought Indians to Africa
as indentured labourers where many
stayed and formed communities that
grew, mostly in Tanzania, Uganda, and
Kenya. The island nation of Mauritius
is the only nation in Africa with a Hindu
majority. 48% of the population of
Mauritius are Hindus, the third highest
percentage in the world after Nepal
and India. A third of the population is
Christian, mostly Catholic, but with a
diverse population, religious freedom is
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for family elders, that they
would come to know Christ
and therefore influence many
generations of their families. (1
Pray for families struggling to
accept Jesus because of the
influence of their family elders.
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
Pray for multiplication of house
churches within families. (Acts
The sun slowly rises to reveal the
snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas.
Priya wakes and calls softly to her
granddaughter. They go together to the
kitchen and begin the preparations.
Each morning they meet here together.
Milk, tea leaves and sugar are added to
the pot. As the tea warms, the aroma of
sweet chai fills the room, and the rest of
the family begins to wake. Priya gathers
the cups, old and chipped, worn from
years of use, holding memories from
mornings past. The tea is served, and
everyone is now present, sitting and
Priya lives traditionally, with her
extended family, and has recently heard
the Gospel message and given her life
to Jesus. She now spends these first
moments of the morning sharing with
the rest of her family her newfound
hope. God is using her faith to bring
The Influence of Elders
several generations of her family into the
kingdom, as it is common for three or
four generations of a family to live under
one roof in a joint family system.
In Hindu families, everyone is expected
to show respect for elders, by caring
for and housing older family members.
The elders also carry much influence,
especially when it comes to religion and
ritual, and passing down wisdom to the
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pakistan is officially an Islamic
state - Hindus and Christians
may convert to Islam, but any
other type of conversion is
rare. Pray for freedom for all
Pakistanis to genuinely explore
Pray for the protection of Hindu
families in Pakistan from the
threat of kidnapping and from
exploitation or discrimination.
Pray for Christians in and
around Hindu communities in
Pakistan to be a faithful and
loving witness. (Matthew 5:16)
When she was younger, Asha would
follow her father to his work in the
mango fields, following behind him with a
small lunch of rice and dal. Now that she
is a teenager, her mother keeps her at
home. She is not allowed to go out alone,
and her parents are watchful. Asha
submits to these restrictions, as she has
heard the stories of women like herself
being kidnapped from their Hindu
communities and married to Muslim
men under the pretense of conversion
to Islam. It is terrifying to think of being
kidnapped, but also worrying to consider
what her future holds as the daughter of
a poor Hindu family.
Hinduism has a long history in Pakistan,
dating back to pre-Islamic rule. The
oldest Hindu text, the Rig Veda, is
believed to have been composed in
the Punjab region around 1500 BCE.
Hindus in Pakistan
Only 2% of Pakistan’s population is
Hindu, about 4.5 million people, mostly
living in the southeastern province of
Sindh. Many of Pakistan’s Hindus are
born into bonded labour. They inherit
the debts of their parents and work their
whole lives for a landlord. For lower-
caste Hindus who face discrimination
in employment and marriage anyway,
conversion to the majority religion can
be appealing. Becoming a Muslim opens
up more opportunities for jobs for the
men, or marriage for the girls. But it
is not always clear when conversion
is voluntary, and young women are
particularly vulnerable to being coerced
or even captured, converted, and
married to a Muslim against their will. It is
estimated that as many as one thousand
young women are forcibly converted
each year in this way.
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for a change in culture that
expects widows to be cared for
as valuable members of their
family and community.
Pray that the government will
be more efficient and generous
in supporting and assisting a
dignified lifestyle for widows.
(1 Timothy 5:3)
That the Church will offer more
support to widows. (James 1:27)
Being a Widow in India
Vinita, from Maharashtra, is one of about
40 million widows across India. After her
husband died, she was abused by her
family, who saw her as a burden. Her
husband’s relatives mistreated her and
spent her savings.
A Hindu bride is often expected to live
with her husband’s family. This weakens
her connections with her own family,
so if she is widowed, she can become
desperate if she is without resources.
She may be blamed for her husband’s
death or removed from her home.
Only qualified widows receive a very
small government pension. There are
a few government facilities to support
widows, providing work training and
some medical treatment, but not nearly
enough to serve the nation and most are
Orthodox Hinduism denies widows
earthly pleasures and dictates they live
out their days in worship. Although legal,
remarrying is not widely accepted in
many communities. Particularly in rural
areas, widows are not permitted to wear
jewellery or sarees of colour and are
expected to stay away from festivals, so
they do not bring bad luck.
Divya is a blind widow who lives in a
small rural town in South Karnataka.
Her government pension is often late in
coming and the COVID-19 crisis caused
her payment to be delayed for months.
Divya became a Jesus follower some
years ago so her Hindu family abandoned
her and took possession of her house.
But the Church supports her and
another 10 widows in their congregation
with food, shelter, and some medical
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
Pray for the many Hindus in
India who lost family members
in the pandemic and continue to
grieve. (Matthew 5:4)
Pray for families, struggling with
grief, to find comfort and hope
in the gospel. (Revelation 21:4)
Pray for Hindus, thinking of
those who have gone before,
to be inspired by the cloud of
witnesses who draw us to Jesus.
Raju’s father died in the COVID-19
pandemic. It was a chaotic time, and Raju
was unable to be with his father when he
died. The lockdown made it impossible to
complete the usual death rituals, making
Raju feel troubled.
The ancient Hindu practice of ancestor
worship happens each year, according
to the lunar calendar, at an event called
“Pitri-Paksha Shradh” (fortnight of the
ancestors). This year it takes place from
September 10-25. During this time,
ancestors are remembered, worshipped
and their blessings are sought. Food
offerings are made, recitations of
scriptures are performed and sometimes
charitable gifts are given in the name
of the one who has died. There are
rituals, known as shraadh, for those who
have died recently, and also for family
members of past generations.
Raju feels that it is essential that he
performs the shraadh properly during
this time, so the soul of his father can
be at peace. Unsettled by his grief and
the circumstances of his father’s death,
Raju is eager to conduct the rituals to
honour his father. Raju hopes that he
will obtain his father’s blessing through
this and support him on his journey in
the afterlife. Then he will also feel more
The Hindu Vedic scriptures teach that a
person is born with three debts: a debt to
God or the supreme power called ‘Dev-
rin; a debt to the saints called ‘Rishi-rin’;
and a third debt to one’s own parents
and ancestors called ‘Pitri-rin’. This duty
to those who have died connects the
living to the dead and causes them to be
blessed. Hindus feels a strong obligation
to honour their ancestors.
Rahul encountered Jesus through a
friend who had become a believer.
Curious about the changes he had seen
in his friend, he went with him to a house
where many other young people were
gathered to read the Bible and worship
Jesus, even with songs in Rahul’s own
dialect. Joining in the worship, Rahul
experienced an overwhelming sense of
God’s love, and he committed his life to
Jesus, forever changed.
Soon more young people from his village
came to faith, including Rahul’s sisters.
This movement among the younger
generation came to the attention of the
elders who are concerned about the
loss of traditional beliefs and rituals.
The young believers have no need of
other gods and have lost interest in the
ancient Hindu rituals. But they often
live together with their parents and
Changes and Community
grandparents in family households, in a
tight-knit community, and there is both a
pressure and desire to follow and honour
their elders. Whenever there is a village
ceremony or occasion, it will always have
some form of idol worship included, and
the family and community pressure to
take part is significant.
How can young believers honour their
families and communities and yet remain
faithful to Jesus? Rahul and his sisters
have often prayed for their parents; they
love their families and their community
and earnestly desire that one day their
household will serve Jesus together.
HOW CAN WE PRAY?
As young people give their
lives to the Lord in diverse
places across India, pray
that they will transform their
whole community, across all
generations, to see whole
households worship the true
living God. (Joshua 24:15)
Pray for young Christians from a
Hindu background to be a wise
and loving witness, drawing
others to Jesus by their lives. (1
Pray for the salvation of whole
households as the message of
the gospel is shared in Hindu
communities. (Acts 16:31-32)