John 8:12 (ESV)
I Am the Light of the World
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Diwali (also called Deepavali) takes its name from the rows (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that will illuminate South Asian communities for the coming week and symbolize the victory of light over darkness. Over centuries, what began as a harvest festival has taken on meanings and interpretations significant to most of the South Asian population, be they Hindu, Jain, Sikh or Buddhist. Throughout the world, it is a celebration of South Asian heritage, identity and the continued refrain of good’s victory over evil.
Join us in praying through these five days, asking that the Light of the World will indeed shine in the hearts of many.
Today, Hindus will purchase gold and kitchen utensils, and housewives will finish cleaning their homes in preparation. At sunset, worshippers will offer a lit diya (lamp) with prasad (sweets offered with worship) to Yama Raj, the lord of death, and pray for his protection from an untimely demise.
Pray that those who seek spiritual cleansing would find it in Jesus Christ, who has conquered death forever. May they invest in treasure that does not fade away but remains for eternity. (Romans 5:8) – God demonstrates His love
Today, homes will be decorated with clay diyas and rangoli (intricate patterns created with colored powders) that brighten floors with their designs. On this day it is believed that lord Krishna freed the world from fear by defeating a powerful demon.
Pray that the love of Christ rather than fear would rule in the hearts of believers who live in South Asian communities. May they speak of Him with humility and peace. (Col. 3:15)
Today, families will gather to worship Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, as they seek prosperity and blessing in the coming year. Lamps will be illuminated to invite her into homes. After dark, thousands of twinkling lights, fireworks and crackers will be lit in joyous celebration.
Pray that people around the world will come to know Jesus as the Light of the World, in whom is full and abiding joy. (Col 2:6-7)
Today, traditional prayers will be offered, and friends and family will visit each other with gifts.
Pray that followers of Jesus will have many opportunities to share His light within their communities amid the spirit of celebration. (I Peter 3:15)
Today, brothers will visit their married sisters for a special meal in homage to a tradition patterned after a god who granted a powerful gift to his sister.
Pray that those who hear the message of Christ will be open to it, and ask that this message will illuminate many hearts eternally. (Romans 10:14)
(adapted from Christar)