The Kazakhs are one of the largest Muslim people groups in Central Asia and have historically been an influential nomadic group in the region. Most Kazakh people today live in Kazakhstan and the surrounding countries, including a significant number in western China. Since the 16th century, most Kazakhs have identified as Muslim while continuing to hold some traditional animist beliefs and to consult shamans.
Under Russian rule for most of the 1800s, Kazakhs were forced to leave their nomadic lifestyle and move into cities. They were also forbidden from practicing Islam. Policies which encouraged “Russification” continued under the Soviet Union. Since the breakup of the USSR, Kazakhs have been trying to re-establish their cultural identity and the use of the Kazakh language. There has also been a resurgence of Islam as people try to return to their heritage.
Many Kazakhs identify Christianity as a foreign religion, being that of their previous Russian conquerors. Nevertheless, God is on the move among Kazakhs. People are learning the Word in their own language and seeing Christ meet their needs. There is a growing house church movement among Kazakhs in Kazakhstan, particularly among young people, but recent government suppression has made growth difficult.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.” (John 10:14-16a): Our Shepherd, You know the Kazakhs in their inner beings. Speak to the Kazakhs, that they may hear Your voice and reclaim their identity as Your beloved.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2): Our Father, thank You for Kazakhs’ deep sense of hospitality. Send Your angels and Your ambassadors to every Kazakh home. Let each family have a chance to welcome Jesus into their hearts.
Ask God how else to pray.
Invite the next stranger who comes to your door to enjoy some refreshments.