How many Christians are there in India?
There are 66.2 million Christians in India, which might sound like a lot, but out of a population of nearly 1.4 billion people it means that Christians make up less than 5 per cent of the population.
Why are Christians persecuted in India?
Indian citizens went to the polls in 2019 and re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who leads the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party believes that being a Hindu is part of Indian identity, and frequently turn a blind eye to attacks on those of other faiths.
“I am very thankful for all your help, now I can concentrate on my studies, unlike before I do not have to struggle to earn money for my survival” Tara
What’s life like for Christians in India?
Christians in India face horrific levels of violence from extremists, with thousands of attacks taking place every year. Several states in India have adopted anti-conversion laws, and the BJP have made it clear that they would like to make these laws nationwide. Such laws are often used as an excuse to disrupt church services and harass Christians and make it incredibly difficult for Christians to share their faith with others.
And yet, many are coming to faith in India through incredible healings – like Tara. She is 15 years old. She came to know Jesus after she experienced miraculously healing – but was then faced with an impossible choice.
“I met intense opposition from my family as well as the local community. ‘You are a shame to the family; our community people detest us because you go to church. Either leave Jesus or forget the relationship you have with us.’ This was what my parents told me.”
Tara courageously chose her relationship with Jesus, but at the cost of losing her relationship with her parents. She still lives in their house, but isn’t allowed to communicate with them or share any food or utensils. Please pray for Tara, that she will remain strong in her faith, and that she will one day be able to reconcile with her family. Thankfully Open Doors partners have been able to get her funded education.
The difficulties facing Christians in India have been exacerbated with the impact of Covid-19. The country has been rocked by the virus. People have been unable to go to work, particularly daily wage workers among include many Christians, while independent pastors have lost income with Sunday services stopping. A lot of Christians live in slums where hygeine is poor and social distancing is barely possible. Shockingly, Christians have been overlooked in the distribution of government aid because of their faith - a need Open Doors is helping address with its #TheLastInLine campaign.
How can I help Christians in India?
Many Christians living in rural areas are incredibly isolated. So when they are attacked, they have no one else to turn to for help. But Open Doors partners are often the first to counsel, comfort and assist our persecuted church family.
Open Doors works with local churches to strengthen the Indian church through providing emergency aid (Rapid Response teams are often first on the scene after violent attacks), persecution survival training, Bibles, livelihood development, advocacy support and legal training.
*Name changed for security reasons
Lord Jesus, may Your light break through the darkness in India through Your church. Strengthen our brothers and sisters, that they may face trials with love and grace, and so turn the hearts of their persecutors to You. Soften the hearts of those in power, that they may have compassion on Your church.