Why do we celebrate International Day of Happiness?
We celebrate International Day of Happiness to recognize the importance of happiness in everyone’s lives. In a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in July 2012, the day of 20 March would be observed as the International Day of Happiness. The Assembly’s goal was to recognize “the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world”. This observance was “initiated by Bhutan, a country which recognized the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product”.
As I learned more about this observance and studied about the country of Bhutan, not only did my interest grow in learning about this Kingdom, its culture and people, but my heart called out for the few Christians living in the country.
Officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan, it is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. Bhutan borders China to the north and India to the south. An underdeveloped country with a population size estimated at 754,388, Bhutan’s prominent religion is Vajrayana Buddhism (state religion). Only 0.5% of their population identifies themself as Christian. Struggling with issues of modernization, domestic violence, youth and women high unemployment rates, a wide disparity (75% difference) in wage earnings between gender, and rebuilding an economy crippled by the pandemic, I felt called to pray.
Let us pray for this tiny nation that had the foresight to focus on the lives of their people and happiness over the love for money and material wealth.
Prayer for Bhutan
Let us bow our heads and give praise to our God. Lord, we know that the source of true happiness is only from You. Psalm 37:4-6 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” Let us sing, rejoice and shout His Holy Name. As our hearts dance for joy, may we remember His kindness, grace, and mercy towards us. Let us be glad for the many blessings that we have received, for the pain and suffering that could have come our way, but our gracious God, in His kindness, diverted the evil one from targeting us. Father, today we bring before You the nation of Bhutan. For the 0.5% of Christians in the land, we pray, Lord, that You will fill them with Your Holy Spirit to go out and spread the gospel. Please give them the strength and knowledge needed to persevere and the wisdom to change lives. For all in Bhutan, God may You hear their prayer and heal the sick, provide for the needy, comfort the brokenhearted, and provide direction for the leaders as they try to look for ways to modernize and revive their crippling economy after this pandemic crises. We especially lift up the King, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Guide Him, Lord, with Your mighty hand. May the people of Bhutan feel Your overwhelming love for them, Lord. You love them so much that You gave Your one and only Son to die for them on the cross for their own salvation and to live an eternal life with You. Mighty and awesome is our God who saves the sinner, frees the captive, and provide a way for each of us to have everlasting life. May the Lord take great delight in you; in His love, may He no longer rebuke you but rejoice over you with singing people of Bhutan. For the women of Bhutan, we pray for the end of domestic violence and the decrease of income disparity and unemployment rates in the country. To the youth, lift your heads high and soar like eagles; the wind will lift you up and take you to new heights, breaking dawn over the horizon. For those that need rescuing, God will save; for those suffering, He will comfort; for those feeling shame, He will grant you peace. To the glory and power, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen