Project Prayer: Sikhism 2022
Five days of prayer for Sikhs
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Pastor Satwant’s family.
Pastor Satwant grew up in a Sikh family. “We followed Sikhism with all our heart,” he said, referring to the world’s fifth-largest religion, which was founded in his home state of Punjab, India.
There are about 30 million Sikhs in the world. Punjab, where our ministry partner Rohit Mattoo is based, is the only place where Sikhism is the majority religion.
Sikhism was born in India, but it is monotheistic (believing in one God) – rejecting the idolatry of Hinduism.
We are joining our friends at World Prayer Guides and the Lausanne Sikhism Working Group for “Five Days of Prayer for Sikhs” from April 13-17. This is done in conjunction with the start of the Sikh harvest festival Vaisakhi. Please check back daily.
We are going to look at Sikhism through the eyes of a Sikh background believer and come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ who are reaching out to Sikh family, friends, and neighbors in northern India.
“We need to pray for the Sikh community,” Rohit said, “as they are now standing strong against the sharing of the Gospel. In some places, they oppose the conducting of Christian meetings.” Pray on!
Day 1 (Wednesday, April 13)
The modern-day symbol of Sikhism. The symbol, adopted in the 1930s, is made up of three weapons – a double-edged sword (khanda), a circular throwing weapon (chakkar), and two single-edged swords (kirpan).
“My mom was a baptized Sikh and used to sing ‘Sabad,’ Guru Granth hymns. That’s where I also started learning and singing in gurudwaras,” Pastor Satwant shared.
The Guru Granth Sahib is the Sikh holy book. The gurudwara is the place of worship for Sikhs. Gurudwara means “door to the Guru.” Most of Punjab’s 12,581 villages have their own gurudwara.
Guru Nanak, who lived 1469-1539, was the founder of Sikhism. He was the first of 10 gurus. The 10th and final guru was Gobind Singh (1666-1708) who named the Guru Granth Sahib as his successor. Thus, Sikh scripture is considered alive, connecting Sikh followers with their god.
“The Guru Granth Sahib is the holy book of Sikhism, but it is more than just that,” World Prayer Guides writes. “The Guru Granth Sahib is regarded as the eternal and only living Guru, therefore it is revered among Sikhs and treated with utmost respect.
“Every copy of the Guru Granth Sahib is identical and has exactly 1,430 pages. It is written in Gurmukhi, the Punjabi script. The book is a collection of devotional hymns and poetry about God which emphasizes meditation on the True Guru (God) and lays out moral and ethical rules for the soul, spiritual salvation, and unity.
“The daily routine of practicing Sikhs involves morning prayers, evening prayers, and night prayers. These prayers are found in the scriptures of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru Granth Sahib is comprised of 33 sections. The first section, a poem known as Japji Sahib, is the first composition by Guru Nanak and is considered the most important set of verses for those in the Sikh faith. This is the first prayer in the prayer section in the Guru Granth Sahib and is to be recited, chanted, and meditated on daily during morning prayers.”
Our prayer is that Sikhs would be introduced to the Living Word of Jesus.
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” – Jesus speaking in John 6:63 (NLT)
Day 2 (Thursday, April 14)
When Satwant was 7 years old his father became mentally ill. Soon, the family’s finances were in ruin as they sought medical help for his dad. He was diagnosed as incurable. “We used to chain my father,” Pastor Satwant recalled painfully.
“That’s where I started asking if there is a God existing at all.”
His search for the Living God lasted many years until, as a rebellious and suicidal teen, the Spirit put a believer in his path.
“I grew up as a stubborn, angry youth,” Pastor Satwant said. “I was having this strong desire to end my life because I found no pleasure in living. I wanted to commit suicide, but on my way I met this person who preached the Gospel to me.
“His sharing stopped me from suicide that day. I went home but I was not able to sleep because his words kept ringing in my conscience: ‘God loves you.’ I could not sleep for seven nights and on the eighth day I woke up and I prayed to Jesus, ‘Jesus if you are Lord and Creator, please reveal yourself to me.’ I was in tears, and something happened in my room. I fell down on the floor for one hour and saw Jesus in a vision. He cleansed me and took all of my burdens, and when I woke up, I was a new person.”
Pastor Satwant gave his life to Christ. But his trials were not over.
Pastor Amrik preaching in a church Climbing For Christ financially helped him finish.
Another pastor in Punjab came to the Lord from a Sikh family. As a result, Pastor Amrik planted a church in a Sikh village. During the COVID-19 pandemic he needed financial help to complete construction and God used Rohit and Climbing For Christ to provide for Amrik’s needs. Now others are hearing the Good News.
When the body of Christ – the Church – answers divine appointments, souls are rescued, healing occurs, and people are set free.
Our prayer is that Sikhs in Punjab, other parts of India, and in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Italy will meet Spirit-led believers who are willing and able to tell them about Jesus.
“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)
Day 3 (Good Friday, April 15)
Pastor Satwant’s transformation from an angry, confused Sikh to a Christ-centered believer produced immediate fruit. “I started sharing my testimony and the Gospel with others,” he said. “Many families received Christ as their personal Savior – except my own.”
Even when Satwant’s father was healed through prayer, he did not believe.
“Instead of receiving Christ, he opposed me and accused me that I had changed my religion,” Satwant recalled. “He beat and kicked me out of his home.”
The pastor at Satwant’s church, afraid of repercussions from the family and community, refused to help. So Satwant returned to the gurudwara. The sewadar and raggis (priests and worshipers) “encouraged me to leave Jesus and restore back to Sikhism,” Satwant said. “But I refused.”
Still, they gave him a place to stay, and he fasted and prayed for seven days.
His prayer was answered when his pastor called to give him an entrance form for Bible college. Satwant had no money, but God provided a scholarship. He was on his way to a Bachelors’ degree in theology and then a Master of Divinity.
One day in college, Pastor Satwant’s phone rang. It was his mother calling. His father wanted to speak to him. “He talked to me politely and with love, even asked me if I needed anything,” Satwant said. “God restored my family back together.
“I asked my mother what caused my father to change his mind and she gave me the good news. The day I left my house my father started reading the Bible and received Christ. I was honored to baptize my whole family.”
Our prayer is for perseverance for Sikh background believers living in families and communities opposed to their faith, and also for endurance for harvest workers seeking to reach the lost in the Sikh community.
Day 4 (Saturday, April 16)
Pastor Satwant delivered the Good News from Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south. One day he was praying at the beach on the Malabar Coast in southwest India when “I heard the voice of the Lord telling me to go back and plant a church in my city” in northern India.
Obediently, he planted a church in 2011. And a second in 2014. The latter was a house church, which grew and grew. “It was difficult for us to continue in the house,” Pastor Satwant said. “So, we started searching for a place to worship.”
They searched everywhere but no one wanted to rent to Christians to host a church.
“But one day miraculously we got one hall to worship outside the city,” Pastor Satwant said. “It’s been six years in that same hall and now they want it back. So, we have no place to worship.”
They are 10 families “fully dedicated and passionate for Christ,” but with no place to call a home church. They are “not so rich,” Pastor Satwant said, “but we saved some lakhs [a significant amount of Indian rupees] for a church building. But it’s still not enough to even buy land in a desired locality. Because of this we don’t have a proper place to worship.
“We are praying and expecting God to open ways for us to build a house of the Lord where our coming generations can worship the Lord we serve today.”
Our prayer is for support for these Sikh background believers, so they may gather to praise His name and be used as a light in their community.
“…and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” – Matthew 16:18 (NLT)
Day 5 (Resurrection Sunday, April 17)
When Sikhs gather in the gurudwara there comes a point when the congregation stands, closes its eyes, faces the Guru Granth Sahib, and prays. Throughout the ardas (prayers), the phrase “Waheguru” is repeated. This means “Wonderful Lord.”
Our prayer is that the eyes of the Sikh community will be opened to see the coming of the Lord. May Sikh followers meet and recognize the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. May they turn from the direction they are headed and believe in Jesus.
For years, Rohit has traveled through the districts of Punjab to teach the Bible to pastors and lay leaders from different churches. Pastor Amrik’s church in the Sikh community is among those places.
“We have almost finished teaching the New Testament epistles,” Rohit said. “Most people who attend our program are from Sikh background.”
Pastor Satwant is a friend of Rohit’s. “He has at his church people mostly from the Sikh community. His church is rapidly growing, but he doesn’t have a proper place (to worship).”
In fact, he and his family don’t even have a home. Pastor Satwant’s uncle evicted them for changing their religion. So, Satwant and his wife and two daughters moved back to live with his Christ-following parents.
Rohit said he and his church “are involved in ministering to the Sikh community, but pastors (like Satwant and Amrik) from the Sikh community are more effective in reaching out to their people.”
In missions we call this using the nearest people group to reach the unreached. Sometimes the nearest are those living under the same roof or in the same village. Our prayer is for the growing Punjabi churches to continue to be filled by other Sikh family members, friends, and neighbors. May Sikhs throughout Punjabi and the rest of the world join us on future Resurrection Sundays in saying: “He is risen indeed.”
The final Word
“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” – Jesus speaking in John 11:25 (NLT)