In the latest YWAM News, this month’s prayer day was to focus on praying for the Buddhist world. Some interesting facts about Buddhism:
Buddhists comprise 6.9% of the world’s population
It is the fourth-largest religion in the world
86% of Buddhists have never spoken to a Christian
So why do we pray for Buddhists? As followers of Christ, we are instructed to pray always. It is God’s desire that all may see “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2 Corinthians 4:4]
Barriers and Bridges
There are many varieties of Buddhist belief and differences depending on what country one is from. In Thailand, where the practice is Theravada Buddhism, there is a saying that to be Thai is to be Buddhist. After 200 years of receiving missionaries, Thailand’s population is only 1.2% Christian. If the gospel is such good news, then why such a lack of response?
One of the resources referenced in the prayer letter was an article called Poles Apart, by a missionary named John Davies. To summarize his point, the way the gospel has been communicated to Thai people has been confusing and unclear because of fundamental differences in vocabulary meaning, transference of concepts between the two belief systems, and a perceived foreignness to the Thai culture. This creates a barrier of acceptance.
Create International Thailand has completed a video called True Merit which attempts to bridge this gap of understanding. Using Buddhist concepts and language, it has received an enthusiastic response from those who are using the film to explain the gospel and those who are seeking to understand. Be sure to turn on closed captions as there are no built-in subtitles.
There are more contextual evangelistic resources for Buddhists available here, listed according to country, people group, and adding the keyword “buddhist.” Share these links with your Buddhist friends and start a dialogue about the good news of the gospel.
If you would like to join a prayer movement for the Buddhist world during January 28 – February 11, 2021, click here to get a PDF guide.
- Wendy H.