Project Prayer: Buddhism 2023
21 Days of Prayer for the Buddhist World (Jan. 2-22)
Today is Day 21 of this prayer guide. Scroll down to read the latest installment.
Day 1: Monday, Jan. 2
James O Fraser was a pioneer missionary to China. He was a climber for Christ long before any such ministry existed. In the early 1900s, he went to the mountains – “the stronghold of Satan for countless centuries,” Fraser’s daughter and biographer, Eileen Fraser Crossman, wrote in Mountain Rain – to deliver the Good News to the unreached Buddhist Lisu people.
Yet Fraser said, “Many of us cannot reach the mission fields on our feet, but we can reach them on our knees. Solid, lasting missionary work is accomplished by prayer, whether offered in China or elsewhere.”
We recognize the great need for intercessory prayer to reach those untouched by the Gospel.
In a commentary on Paul Hattaway’s Peoples of the Buddhist World: A Christian Prayer Guide, we read: “In the past 20 years, Christians around the world have launched initiatives to reach Muslims, Communists, Hindus, and other major unreached people groups but the Buddhist world has largely been overlooked. Hundreds of millions of Buddhists continue to live and die without any exposure to the Gospel.”
We have for many years conducted Project Prayer: Ramadan, focusing our intercession on the Muslim world. We will do so again March 22-April 20. But for the next 21 days, we are going to look into the Buddhist world.
Reaching Unreached Nations (RUN) called Christians and churches worldwide to join a prayer movement in advance of Chinese New Year’s. China being the largest Buddhist country in the world.
Climbing For Christ is answering this call and using RUN’s prayer guide and numerous other resources to produce our latest Project Prayer. We will be praying for those in the Buddhist world from today until Jan. 22. We invite you – nay, we encourage you – to join us on our knees.
More than one-half billion people follow Buddhism, according to the Joshua Project. Relative to other world religions – Christianity with 2.47 billion, Islam 1.96 billion, Hinduism 1.12 billion, atheism 998 million, and folk religions 732 million – it is one of the smaller religions. But that’s still hundreds of millions of souls lost in Buddhism.
We know that the Lord “does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (1 Peter 3:9). So, we pray for those trapped in Buddhism.
Father, we turn to You now with this request: we ask that You make Yourself known to those living in the Buddhist world. May eyes and hearts be turned to You in the weeks ahead. For Your glory!
Day 2 (Tuesday, Jan. 3)
The story of Buddha: Siddhartha Gautama was the son of a king born in the sixth century in what is modern-day Lumbini, Nepal. He was a privileged prince, sheltered from the realities of life: old age, disease, and death. When he saw an old person, a sick person, and a corpse during chariot rides in his 20s, legend has it, he sank into despair.
Then he encountered a Hindu holy man who was on a moksha – a quest for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. He set out at the age of 29 to find his own truth, leaving behind his wife and small child.
Gautama sat under a tree and waited for enlightenment. (The tree was later called the bodhi – or enlightenment – tree.) He is believed to have had a revelation – or four. These came to be known as “The Four Noble Truths.”
- All is suffering.
- Suffering is caused by desire. (Desire is a product of our ignorance of “The Three Characteristics of Existence.”)
- The way to be rid of suffering is to be rid of desire.
- The way to be rid of desire is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path consists of right understanding, thinking, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
Buddha rejected the idea of a God who created and sustains us. He looked not to God, but to self for salvation.
Father, may people recognize “there is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Day 3 (Wednesday, Jan. 4)
Walking off the plane in Kathmandu, you are immediately welcomed to Nepal as the birthplace of Buddha. “That is why Nepal has a great significance for Buddhism,” ministry partner Pastor Tej Rokka said. “All the Buddhist people across the globe consider Lumbini to be a place carrying great value to them.”
Lumbini was home to Siddhartha Gautama. It is found about 225 miles (365 kilometers) southwest of Kathmandu. In Gautama’s day it was an oligarchic republic. Today it is a Buddhist pilgrimage site, drawing 1.5 million visitors a year.
“Buddha is regarded as the ninth avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu,” Pastor Tej explained. An avatar is an incarnation of a deity. “Some Hindus identify Christ as the 10th avatar. Others regard Kalki as the final avatar who is yet to come.”
Meanwhile, movie goers identify the Disney movie Avatar (2009) as harmless entertainment. The original grossed more money than other movie – $2.92 billion USD. Avatar 2 was released on Dec. 18, 2022 and is another box-office sensation. Hollywood loves Buddhism.
In Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism co-exist. They share holy ground. While Nepal is a former Hindu kingdom and a majority Hindu population, the country does have more than 3.5 Buddhists – or 12.2 percent of the population – making it the 13th largest Buddhist country in the world
“Since Nepal is viewed (by Buddhists) as a country of great significance, the influence of Buddhism is massive and therefore it needs strong prayer,” Tej said. “I strongly suggest you pray for the salvation of the Buddhist people of Nepal. They are trapped in different superstitious beliefs.”
Father, we ask that the Truth of Your Son, Jesus, would set people free from the bondage of Buddhism. Jesus was not an avatar, but the Word made flesh Who made His home among us (John 1:14).
Day 4 (Thursday, Jan. 5)
Theravada is closest of the three main schools of Buddhism to the original teachings of Buddha. It is most popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.
In a nutshell, Theravada believes gods are real but unhelpful to humans; “self” is unreal and lives many lives in many heavens and hells before reaching nirvana; and the world is not a thing but a process with no beginning or end. It focuses on “the attainment of enlightenment through personal meditation and good deeds,” according to Reaching Unreached Nations’ Buddhist World Prayer Guide.
The Mahayana school is dominant in China and East Asia (Japan and South Korea). It does not require repeated reincarnations to reach nirvana; Buddhas (there are many, not just the one) are gods (where Theravada and Buddha himself say he was just a man), and there is a form of grace and levels of truth.
Theravada says there are no living Buddhas while Mahayana claims there are no Buddhas on earth but they are living in other dimensions.
Tibetan Buddhism, the third school, believes there are real Buddhas living among us.
Tibetan Buddhism came out of the mountains between China and Nepal in the sixth century. It is synonymous with the Dalai Lama, who is the “guru” or “spiritual teacher.” The current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso (born in 1935), the 14th manifestation of a bodhisattva who was a disciple of Buddha and took special interest in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama’s own Web site (dalailama.com) calls that disciple “Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are realized beings, inspired by the wish to attain complete enlightenment, who have vowed to be reborn in the world to help all living beings.”
Tenzin Gyatso succeeded the 13th Dalai Lama in 1940. He was exiled by China in 1959. He is now a cause célèbre. His main teachings focus on training the mind.
As you can see from all of this mumbo jumbo, there is a great need for prayer for those in the Buddhist world.
Father, may our minds be on You. As Paul wrote in Colossians 3:2, may we “think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
Day 5 (Friday, Jan. 6)
Tibetan Buddhism has been adopted by Westerners in various forms, focusing “primarily on a quest for inner peace,” the Reaching Unreached Nations’ Buddhist World Prayer Guide states.
Some commit themselves to a Tibetan lama (or monk). They study Tibetan texts and learn chanting. “Still others,” RUN’s guide says, “follow a Westernized form that mixes Asian traditions with Western notions of Buddhism. They often continue in their previous occupations and wear everyday clothes, but spend time in meditation and attend retreats.”
These people are dancing with the devil.
In the United States, there are more than 4.3 million Buddhist adherents, according to the World Religion Database. That’s a mere 1.3 percent of the U.S. population, but still makes the U.S. the 11th largest Buddhist population in the world.
Father, we ask that you would put on the hearts and minds of Westerners who know and follow Jesus to actively seek Buddhists in their midst and introduce them to the Prince of Peace.
Day 6 (Saturday, Jan. 7)
From the Reaching Unreached Nations’ Buddhist World Prayer Guide:
“Did you know that the most diverse Buddhist city in the world is Los Angeles? With 300 temples and meditation centers from nearly every Buddhist sect in the world L.A. encompasses the entire spectrum of Buddhist beliefs.
“Buddhist ideas are actively promoted in the U.S. and throughout Western societies through images of peace, calm, and wisdom without any discussion of the worldview behind the façade.
“Buddhist worldview is actively celebrated in movies such as Star Wars, Kill Bill, and (Marvel’s) Dr. Strange. Business leaders like the late Steve Jobs of Apple actively promote Buddhist meditation. The local garden center will frequently have a Buddha figurine available to evoke calm in our yards.
“Buddhist meditation is popular on college campuses. The contrast with Christian meditation couldn’t be more stark. In Buddhist meditation the focus is on emptying the mind, where Christian meditation fills the mind with scripture and gazing on God’s beauty.”
Father, we ask You to open the eyes of people who don’t understand that the true end of Buddhism is the annihilation of self. Show us the emptiness of this false religion and teach us how to fill our lives with Your unending love.
“Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and ask for understanding.” – Proverbs 2:2-3 (NIV)
Day 7 (Sunday, Jan. 8)
“Tibetan Buddhism has a very strong hold and (keeps Nepali people) under the bondage of the devil,” co-worker Megh Gurung said. “They don’t mention sin. If we approach salvation (in sharing with Buddhists in Nepal), they might be OK to repeat what we say. But after a few minutes they will do their own thing.”
Megh, who has worked with Climbing For Christ since 2011, talked about the unwelcoming spirit of those following Tibetan Buddhism. “They love their own people only,” he said, adding “black magic” also is practiced by those following this stream of Buddhism.
Ministry partner Pastor Tej Rokka agreed, saying, “People carry witchcraft businesses in the name of Buddhism, which is a major issue in Nepal. Pray for the freedom of people from such evil practices.”
Megh explained, “Satan has blinded them. We have to pray to break every chain for them. Climbing For Christ can pray for a collapse of this stronghold and the bondage of the devil’s power. We need to pray to bring them to Christ.”
Father, may Your Light shine in the hearts of these lost and oppressed people. We ask you to come into their homes and dwell among them. Destroy Satan’s strongholds among the Buddhist people in Nepal.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Day 8 (Monday, Jan. 9)
The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu mixes Shinto shrine with Buddhist architecture. It is the most important shrine in Kamakura, Japan. Built in the 11th century as a Buddhist temple it has a mountain to the north, a river to the east, a road to the west, and it is open to the sea in the south, meaning each direction is protected by an important god.
Zen Buddhism, another stream in the Buddhist religion, started in Japan with the word “Zen” deriving from the Sanskrit word for “meditation.” Meditation techniques are employed to achieve “enlightenment.” This method places less of an emphasis on Buddhist scriptures and philosophy; it is more about setting the mind free to see what is beyond. Zen is associated with tea ceremonies, haiku, even swordsmanship.
Japan has “traditionally been classified as a Buddhist nation,” the Buddhist World Prayer Guide from Reaching Unreached Nations (RUN) states. In fact, Japan has the second-largest Buddhist population in the world: more than 70.5 million – or 55.8 percent of the country.
But “the reality is that it has become increasingly post-religious,” RUN continues. “Some practices are continued: visiting and maintaining ancestral graves, wearing of good luck amulets, and registering births at the local Buddhist temple.”
While surveying the spiritual state of Japan last November to see if and how the Lord might have Climbing For Christ to serve there, we hiked past a significant Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple. (Shintoism is considered Japan’s national religion.) Many families with children dressed up were there to be blessed.
“Even so, the majority of Japanese citizens, particularly those under age 50, do not identify as followers of any religion,” RUN’s guide says. “In this highly competitive society it is often considered ‘weak’ to be religious. Some have called Japan ‘a superpower without a moral compass.’”
A friend of Climbing For Christ, who is a second-generation missionary to Japan, said “secular” is the religion of the day there. He added that there is “a general animosity toward religion, especially toward new fanatical sects like the unification church (Moonies) and Soka Gakkai – although on the other hand both these sects do have a very large following with SG being the backbone of the political party Komei.
“So, ‘religion’ is almost frowned upon these days, mainly because of the negative influence – forced and excess donations/alms to the effect of bankrupt and broken families. But at the same time a lot of the Japanese public have a fascination with fortune telling, the occult, and a rise in Shinto shrine visits. To me that seems to be a sign of spiritual hunger.”
Father, we pray that the Japanese people would hunger for the truth and in seeking it they would find You waiting for them with open arms. You say, “Come to me all, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). May those in Japan lay their hardships at the foot of Your cross.
Day 9 (Tuesday, Jan. 10)
“The god over Japan keeps them complacent,” said a Climbing For Christ member who has lived and worked in Japan for 25 years.
“While they are not as hostile or militant or hateful as atheists in the West can be at times, they are just as uninterested in ‘religion’ as any American or Brit. That isn’t surprising because Satan plays the same record worldwide.
“And though most people here are not devout Buddhist or Shintoists, the mentality is, ‘We have our own gods and our own culture, so we don’t need yours.’”
The Reaching Unreached Nations Buddhist World Prayer Guide tells us, “Many Japanese will pick aspects of Shintoism, Buddhism, and occult or animistic practices and develop their ‘personal faith’ without concern about contradictions. A heavy emphasis in this belief system is that gods are everywhere, in the stones, trees, clouds, grass, etc.”
But few even lean into those gods. The demon of complacency has caused Japan “to be a wealthy, modern nation” while avoiding any real faith.
Father, we ask that You raise up a new generation of believers who are on fire for You. May Your Spirit burn in their hearts with an unquenchable desire to know You and have You known among those in their nation.
“The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him.” – Psalm 22:27 (NIV)
Day 10 (Wednesday, Jan. 11)
When one thinks of Indonesia, you would probably think about Islam. It has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world – nearly one-quarter billion people.
But Buddhism does exist there, particularly in Jakarta, North Sumatra, West Kalimantan, the Riau Islands, and Banten. The Buddhist population in Indonesia numbers more than 2.1 million, making it the 14th largest country for Buddhism in the world.
A friend of Climbing For Christ who is a Buddhist background believer spoke to us about this religion:
“What is one thing about Buddhism that most people might not know but should?” he asked, rhetorically. “As I know from my elder sister, who is a Buddhist, she is doing what we call ‘kindness.’ If we compare (Buddhists) to us (Christians), they are doing ‘kindness’ much, much more than us. They believe that doing kindness will get some karma of goodness back to them. So, I think they just want to become saved by doing kindness to others.”
We know that salvation – or being “saved” – comes to us not by works, but through grace alone. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
But we also know from the writings of James that faith without works is dead. We must show our faith to our Buddhist family, friends, and neighbors in loving ways and through acts of kindness.
The founder of ministry partner Budi Yuwono’s church in Jakarata says it is “more easy to convert Buddhists than Muslims to believe in Jesus.”
Father, may those trying to be kind to achieve good karma realize that they don’t have to work to be saved – they need only believe in Your Son, Jesus Christ. May those of us in the faith desire to deliver this Good News to Buddhist people in Indonesia and to the ends of the earth.
Day 11 (Thursday, Jan. 12)
When one thinks of India, you would probably think about Hinduism. It has the largest Hindu population of any country in the world – about 1.15 billion people.
But Buddhism does exist there, particularly in northern and northeastern India. The Buddhist population in India numbers nearly 9.8 million, making it the ninth largest country for Buddhism in the world.
As the Reaching Unreached Nations (RUN) Buddhist World Prayer Guide says, “Buddha was born in Nepal but achieved enlightenment in India.” Buddhism and Hinduism are intertwined through human history and to this day. “Some have called Buddhism a reform movement of Hinduism,” RUN’s prayer guide tells us. “Now, 2600+ years later, Hindus in India are finding Buddha’s teaching attractive and are converting again.”
Our ministry partner in northern India confirms there are large groups of Buddhists in Jammu and Kashmir and the territory of Ladakh. “Several times I have encountered them in Himachal Pradesh (where he has a church),” our co-worker said, “but they have always ignored the Gospel. Very few I heard accepted Jesus from Jammu and Kashmir. There are some missionaries working among them. We need prayer for them to be saved.”
Father, hear our prayer for those Buddhists in India. May they become truly enlightened and recognize the true Light of Jesus Christ.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” – Colossians 2:8 (NIV)
Day 12 (Friday, Jan. 13)
Pray for these countries (each of which has more than 1 million Buddhists, according to the World Religion Database): China with 228 million; Japan 70.5 million; Thailand 60.8 million; Viet Nam 47.3 million; Myanmar 40.5 million; Sri Lanka 21.4 million; Cambodia 14.3 million; South Korea 12.6 million; India 9.8 million; Taiwan 6.3 million; United States 4.3 million; Laos 3.8 million; Nepal 3.5 million; Indonesia 2.2 million; Mongolia 1.9 million; Malaysia 1.7 million; Bangladesh 1.2 million; Hong Kong 7.5 million.
Day 13 (Saturday, Jan. 14)
During our first visit to China, in 2008, we ate several dinners in Chinese homes. We were struck by the similarity between Chinese families and those in the West because as they ate, the television was turned on.
Night after night we saw a “documentary” on evolution. It was part of the brainwashing carried out by the government.
“The People’s Republic of China is officially an atheist state,” Reaching Unreached Nations (RUN) Buddhist World Prayer Guide says, “but there are five religions that are recognized by the government: Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam. In recent years there has been an increased tolerance of Confucianism and Chinese Folk Religion as part of China’s cultural inheritance.”
Depending on your source, Buddhism makes up anywhere from 18.2 percent of the population (according to the CIA World Factbook), 15.8 percent (World Religion Database), or 1.2 percent (Joshua Project). All sources agree that “non-religious” or “unaffiliated” – read: atheists – make up the majority of the population, ranging from more than half to nearly three-quarters of the 1.4 billion Chinese.
“Christianity was reintroduced to China in the 16th century by Jesuit missionaries,” RUN’s prayer guide states. “During the revolution in 1949 Christian missionaries were expelled from the country and churches closed. As part of the economic reforms in the late 1970’s restrictions on religious activities were relaxed.
“Today Chinese citizens over the age of 18 are only permitted to join ‘officially sanctioned’ Christian groups that are registered with the government. The Protestant ‘Three-Self Patriotic Movement’ is one of these. The fastest growing movement of Jesus followers is happening in the underground house church movement. Members of these congregations are considered the ‘silent majority’ of Christians in China.”
Father, thank you for the deafening silence of a Church that numbers in the millions (possibly more than 73 million) despite persecution. We pray for the Truth to reach the billion-plus unbelievers – those trapped in Buddhism, folk religion, or atheism. May Your Son set them free!
Day 14 (Sunday, Jan. 15)
J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission in 1865, declared:
“How shall God’s name be hallowed by them? His kingdom come among them? His will be done by them? His Name, His attribute, they have never heard; His kingdom is not proclaimed among them. His will is not made known to them. Do you believe that each unit of these millions has a precious soul, and that there is no other Name under heaven given to men by which they must be saved except that of Jesus? Do you believe that He alone is the door of the sheepfold? He is the Way, the Truth and the Life? That no man comes to the Father but through Him? If so, think of the state of these unsaved ones and solemnly examine yourself in the sight of God to see whether you are doing your utmost to make Him known to them.”
Father, may our hearts be broken and bowed before You, pleading for Your mercy for those wandering in the darkness. May we pray as Your Son, Jesus, taught us: “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” Heavenly Father, rescue those lost in the Buddhist world.
Day 15 (Monday, Jan. 16)
Buddhist temples are dark, scary places. Gaze if you dare at the paintings on the walls, illustrating man’s fight with and among demons. The thought here is that demons can be controlled and used for your own gain. Another lie from the father of lies.
“When Buddhism arrived in Tibet around AD 600, it was incorporated into the ancient religion of Bon, which had already entrenched in the hearts of Tibetans for centuries,” Paul Hattaway wrote in Peoples of the Buddhist World: A Christian Prayer Guide. “Bon was characterized by the worship of demons, ghosts and fearsome and wrathful deities who demanded regular animal and even human sacrifices. Tibetan Buddhism – also called Tantric Buddhism and Lamaism – today retains many of the features of Bon.”
Father, we know that even the demons know the name of Your Son, Jesus. Even the demons believe in You, and they tremble in terror (James 2:19). Those demons can overpower anyone who doesn’t walk with You. May those who worship demons, ghosts, and evil deities by led to the only One who can control the demons.
Day 16 (Tuesday, Jan. 17)
On our first trip into Tibetan China, we were delivering crank-powered MP3 players that contained the Gospel message. We were in a very remote area where no Christian had visited. Buddhist monks who traveled across the area would see us and stop to talk. Since we were delivering spiritual material, they were interested. Monks will spend hours discussing spiritual issues.
But because of translation problems, a misunderstanding arose. The monks thought that the MP3 players we had were radios and that with those radios they could hear their leader, the exiled Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has lived outside of China since 1959. The monks we met were desperate to hear from their spiritual leader.
One night a group of drunken, angry monks returned to where we were camping and tried to force their way into our tents to get the MP3 players. We calmed them down and somehow communicated that they should come back the next day. By the time some of them returned we had distributed the last of our MP3 players.
Two team members were recalling this incident recently and realized how dangerous the situation really had been – although we did not sense it at the time. God had protected us as He is wont to do when His fame is being proclaimed among the nations. Fear not when the opportunity arises to share the love of Jesus with another, especially a religious person who may be open to discussion about spiritual matters. Let the Spirit lead!
Father, lead us to new opportunities to share with Buddhists. Protect us. Embolden us. May we glorify Your name.
Day 17 (Wednesday, Jan. 18)
The migration of the human species may never have been as enormous as it is today. People are on the move. We call it “diaspora,” meaning the dispersion or spread of people from their original homeland.
The concept of diaspora was first used in Deuteronomy 28:25 when the Lord said the curse for disobedience would lead to a fleeing and the people “shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth” (KJV).
That curse is now a blessing. God can use all things for good.
He called His followers to “GO and make disciples.” The church’s failure to do so led Him to send the lost to the shepherd rather than waiting on those few workers who were and are willing to GO.
Reaching Unreached Nations put it another way in addressing the Buddhist diaspora:
“Many of the adherents of Buddhism live in poverty. Children are sold to pay debts, alcoholism is a common problem, and life is a constant attempt to ‘make merit.’
“When the opportunity to go to another country for work or education presents itself young Buddhists grab ahold of it. Another way that they are able to relocate is with a relative who has gone before and can help them emigrate. Many young women will marry foreign nationals and go to their country.
“What frequently happens though is they get to their new location but find it very difficult to assimilate into the new culture. Language and customs are so different and frequently they are ignored or sometimes discriminated against.
“The Buddhist temple may provide some familiar customs, but the monks can do little to relieve the loneliness and frustration.
“Many of these people would be willing to discuss spiritual things if only someone would take the time.
“How can you connect with Buddhists in your town to tell them your Jesus story and the Gospel message?”
Father, bring a Buddhist near to us today. Near to our home, our workplace, our school. Connect us with a Buddhist so we may connect them with You.
Day 18 (Thursday, Jan. 19)
Sometimes when we pray, we feel overwhelmed by the numbers. We struggle to put a name or a face to the need.
But as the guide 15 Days of Prayer for the Buddhist World (Jan. 8-22) states: “The One who sees the sparrow fall understands the confusion in the heart of a young Buddhist woman in Thimphu, Bhutan, and the disappointments of an old Buddhist man in Kobe, Japan.”
The Creator knows the number of the very hairs on your head. He knows every Buddhist we are praying for – even if they are nameless, faceless people to us. So, pray on!
Father, we are worth more to You than the sparrows, yet You care for those birds. How much more are You willing to do for these lost Buddhists? We ask You to turn them into Buddhist background believers. Make these strangers, family to us.
Day 19 (Friday, Jan. 20)
Operation World, which calls itself the definitive prayer guide to every nation, was praying for the world earlier this month. It addressed the world’s religions.
“Buddhism is the state religion of four nations in Asia, the majority in a further three and a significant minority in yet another nine,” Operation World reported. “The majority of this total is actually a mixture of Buddhism with Chinese religions, Daoism, Confucianism and Shinto. The various religious systems are so intermingled that a clear differentiation is hard to make. If observers of all these religions are added together, the total virtually doubles the population of the Buddhist world.
“There are also new religions that are offshoots of Buddhism – Cao Dai in Vietnam, Falun Gong in China, Sokka Gokkai in Japan. Buddhism has actually enjoyed a measure of resurgence in East and Southeast Asia in the post-Communist era. The Dalai Lama of Tibet has popularized Buddhism in the West.
“The proportion of Buddhists who have come to Christ is minute – two radically different worldviews make effectively communicating the gospel a difficult and painstaking task. Pray for a breakthrough in the Buddhist world; thus far, the only major movements to Christ have been in places where Communism or foreign oppression first shattered the grip of Buddhism.”
Father, we ask for a breakthrough. Shatter the grip of Buddhism in the Asian nations.
Day 20 (Saturday, Jan. 21)
Jesus told His disciples, “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Matthew 9:38). May that be our prayer today.
Reaching Unreached Nations tells us, “Most Buddhists in Asia live in rural societies that maintain strong community bonds. Good News must include God’s care not just for individuals but also for families and villages.”
Father, we know the harvest is great, but the workers are few (Luke 10:2). We ask that You send harvesters. We ask that they (that we) would address both spiritual and physical needs. That we would feed the hungry and offer the Bread of Life; that we would quench the thirsty and provide Living Water. Use us to produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted (Mark 4:20)!
Day 21 (Sunday, Jan. 22)
Celebrating the Lunar New Year is trendy. Even Starbucks has gift cards for today’s Chinese New Year.
For three weeks, we have joined with others from around the world to pray for Buddhists near and far. Together, we have lifted our voices to the throne room of God. He has heard our prayers.
So, don’t stop now. Let’s keep praying for one lost sheep to be found by the Great Shepherd. For the Truth to set free those caught in the snare of thousands-years-old lies about enlightenment and “Noble Truths” and an “eight-fold path.” There is only one path. Jesus told us “the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:14).
Pray now for those on the path to destruction. Eternity is forever.
Father God, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Reveal Yourself to those stumbling in darkness. Lead many to the place You have prepared for us. Be glorified. In the name of Jesus, amen.
The final Word
“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” – Revelation 11:15 (NLT)