Christians in India are urgently asking for our prayers as they find themselves caught between two crises: pandemic and persecution. So we have set aside July to pray with them. There is much to pray into, but also much to be grateful for. Thank you - your prayers make such a difference and mean so much to your persecuted family. This is the first week of prayer points.
Today, Open Doors UK will launch in Parliament a new report called Destructive Lies, highlighting the persecution of Christians in India. Its findings are based on independent research by the London School of Economics and include policy recommendations.
Pray that the launch will be well attended by MPs, and that they will be stirred to action on behalf of Christians and other religious minorities in India.
Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, yet Hindu extremist groups often use anti-Christian propaganda to spread the lie that India is a Hindu state where Christians don’t belong. Sadly, Christians in India with low levels of education often don’t know they have the constitutional right to practise their faith.
Open Doors local partners work with believers to teach them their constitutional rights and equip them to counter false accusations made against them.
Pray that God will give believers courage and favour as they stand up for their rights.
Believers in India are often accused of following a ‘foreign’ religion. However, Christian tradition holds that the gospel was introduced in the country in the first century through Thomas, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Give thanks that God’s promise that ‘all nations on earth will be blessed’ (Genesis 22:18) includes India.
Pray that India’s rich Christian heritage will be recognised across the country, leading to warmer attitudes towards believers.
Some Indian states have anti-conversion laws, designed to prevent involuntary religious conversions. However, in practice, these vaguely worded laws are frequently used to harass Christians taking part in normal activities that are part of their faith, like holding a prayer meeting or attending a church service. Tellingly, the laws do not apply if an Indian ‘re-converts’ to Hinduism.
Pray that these laws will be repealed, or that a deterrent will be put in place to prevent false accusations.
Hindu extremists promote Hindutva. It’s an ideology that disregards Indian Christians and Muslims (and other religious minorities) as true Indians because they have allegiances that lie outside India, and asserts the country should be purified of their presence. But Indian Christians don’t see themselves as any less Indian because of their faith, and many seek to serve their communities.
Ask the Lord to open the eyes of many Indians to see the valuable role Christians play in Indian society.
When Ankita’s* son fell seriously ill, she visited many doctors, but none could help him.
"I decided to bring him to church for prayers - he was completely healed!" Ankita
“I decided to bring him to the church for prayers even though we were Hindus,” she shares. “He was completely healed!”
Ankita and her husband are now Christians. It’s one of many stories that expose the lie of Hindu extremists who claim that, since many new Christians are poor with low levels of education, they must have been paid to convert.
Praise God for all those coming to know Jesus through miraculous healings.
*Name changed for security
States that have predominantly tribal populations have laws to protect their culture and traditions. But village leaders sometimes abuse these laws to persecute those who choose to change their faith.
Ask God to strengthen Christians from tribal backgrounds facing rejection and discrimination for leaving their traditional faith.
Go on a sponsored walk to bring urgent Covid relief aid to Christians in India. Choose your location, and your distance. Walk alone, with friends or even your whole church.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.