Bagpipes and Braveheart, kilts and castles - these are some of the things that come to mind, when we think of Scotland. However, many people might not know of one of Scotland’s greatest treasures: a people group, known as the Gaidheil, who, in spite of the odds, have held on to their native Gaelic language.
Scottish Gaelic is an ancient, Celtic language, unrelated to English. Many centuries ago, the language was brought to present-day Scotland with Gaelic settlers from what is now Ireland.
According to census reports, there are about 60,000 native speakers of Gaelic in Scotland. However, the total number of speakers or people connected to the language worldwide, would be closer to 150,000 and probably more. Whereas Scottish Gaelic speakers can be found all over Scotland, there are strong communities of Gaelic speakers in the Western Highlands, and particularly Western Isles of Scotland.
Christian faith has traditionally held an important place among the Gaidheil, and even today, there are healthy, Gaelic-speaking churches in some areas.
However, as with most parts of the United Kingdom, there is also a sharp decline in church membership in many areas.
Praise God for the ongoing witness of Gaelic-speaking believers and churches in areas, where Gaelic is spoken as a community language.
Pray for the use of the “Jesus” film and other resources in Gaelic, as a means of making the Gospel known to those Gaidheil without Christ.
Pray for Gaelic-speaking young people, who often leave the traditional Gaelic areas for the larger cities. It is not uncommon for them to discontinue their involvement in Christian activities, once away from their homes. Pray that they would continue faithfully in their walk with Christ.
Pray for Gaelic-speakers, who may be disenchanted with organized religion, and accordingly have given up on Christianity as a viable spiritual option for them. Pray that they would be acquainted with the Person of Jesus Christ.
Praise God for the Gaelic-speaking young people on the Isles, who have been coming to faith over the past few years. Pray that God would hold them tightly by His grace and give them the strength to follow Jesus with faithfulness.
Pray that God would call out workers to come and invest their lives among the Gaidheil, learning their language and culture, in order to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with these exceptional people.