Daily Topic for October 09, 2010
The Lingayats are a very learned community in India. They highly value formal education. Though education is very valuable, it is essential that we learn from what our Heavenly Father teaches us, inside and outside of the classroom.
Pray that the Lingayats will listen to the Father, and learn from Him, so they will follow Jesus.
Lingayats are south Indian Shudras (servant castes) who have the spiritual clout of Brahmins, the high priestly castes of Hinduism. They trace their roots back to a 12th-century youth who, as an adult, taught people to seek answers to social, philosophical, religious, and economic problems through an egalitarian society. Originally peasant farmers, they are now found in most economic pursuits.
Lingayats originated as a reform movement. They are leaders in the fight against untouchability, a doctrine of Hinduism that degrades certain communities. They exclusively worship one god, Shiva, one of Hinduism’s main three gods. They worship him by means of rituals and works reminiscent of Buddhism, an earlier Indian reform movement. Lingayats have a strong work ethic and value education. Eighty percent of India’s educational institutions are supported by them, and they provide free schooling for the poor.
In the 1990s, Southern Baptists from the U.S. challenged Lingayat followers of Christ to reach their own people in order to establish Lingayat fellowships. Out of 15 million Lingayats, there were only 800 believers in Christ and no Lingayat churches. By 2005, there were 3000 believers, and Hindu nationalists were becoming concerned.
Pray that God will protect Lingayat believers from Hindu nationalists. Pray that God will continue to deepen Lingayat spiritual hunger, and that in response, He will reveal Jesus to them as the true God. Pray for a stronger Lingayat Christian witness to their people. Pray that the gospel moves out into Lingayat society via family and business networks. Pray for continued training of believers in evangelism.