1/21/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) India Population: 1.4 billion, Christians: 66.2 million
In August 2017, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity. In April, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom requested that the U.S. State Department name India as a “country of particular concern” because of Christian persecution -attacks.
Some government leaders now refer to India as HINDUSTAN, the land of the Hindus. They actively try to purify Hindustan by making the whole nation Hindu, no room for Christians.
Hate crimes against Christians in India, including instances of murder, rape, and arson, have risen by 40 per cent in the first half of 2020, according to a new report. The report, by campaigning group, Persecution Relief, noted that the “disconcerting” rise has taken place in spite of a three-month national lockdown.
Several charities identify state cooperation with extremists as a key problem. Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party, won the general election in 2014, Christian commentators have claimed the government, particularly at a local level, has been unwilling to clamp down on extremist Hindus. According to Persecution Relief, between January 2016 and June 2020, there have been 2,067 crimes inspired by religious intolerance against Christians in India.
And as increasing numbers of Dalits become Christians, more states in India are reacting by passing anti-conversion laws, which, believes Paul Robinson, ‘will pave the way for further violence.’
The latest state to legislate against freedom of faith is Uttarakhand. Christians there who share their faith could face a jail sentence of up to five years. The new law requires clergy leading a person to Christ to give one month’s notice, which will trigger a police investigation into the proposed conversion. And individuals wanting to change their religion must first get permission from the state government. Similar anti-conversion laws are in force in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand, and are pending elsewhere. Significantly, there have also been moves to impose anti-conversion legislation that would be binding across the whole of India.
The law legislates against ‘forced conversion’. On the face of it, this may sound reasonable. But the law is wide open to abuse. Any warning of judgement could be considered a threat, and the promise of heaven as an inducement. And Christian charitable works could be portrayed as a form of bribery.
Hindu radicals have made death threats against Christians in Uttarakhand and have ordered them to close their churches. Acts of intimidation are reported on an almost daily basis.
- Pray that the Lord will touch president Narenda Modi and his government officials and convict them of their anti-Christian actions and give religious freedom.
- Pray to the Lord that He will protect His believers from the many active as well as proposed ant conversion laws. That the laws will prove to be ineffective to spread the good news
- Pray that Christians will not be excluded from COVID-19 relieve. The pandemic is used as a new weapon for persecutors. Many Christians are often deliberately overlooked when official COVID-19 food and aid are distributed. This has left many desperate for food, particularly since many Christians are from the Dalit caste and thus very poor and have lost their sources of income this year.
- Pray that the Lord will protect Open Doors and the many other NGOs who works through local church partners to strengthen the Indian church through providing emergency aid.
- Pray for the Rapid Response teams that are often first on the scene after violent attacks, persecution survival training, Bibles, livelihood and community development programs, advocacy support and legal training trauma counseling.
- Pray that the Lord will make seeing eyes blind when pastors and missionaries are faced with India’s immigration officers.
- Pray for protection for our brothers and sisters, especially those who are new Christians from Hindu background, and those who live in rural areas and are particularly isolated. Pray God will help their families and communities to accept their new faith.
- Pray for easy access to the internet and that both believers and Hindus will see messages that encourage and or convict them.
- Praise God that many are coming to faith in India through miraculous healings and the courageous witness of India’s Christians. Pray this will continue, and many more will come to know Jesus.
Pray the Lord will enable Christians to forgive their persecutors.
Pray against the forces of darkness and that in spite of their efforts the church will continue to expand rapidly.
Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord:
- Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram, pray that they will be set free.
- Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
- Pray for Anita, a Christian convert persecuted for her faith in Iran.
You are invited to join us on Thursday, January 21 in a prayer call for the persecuted church.
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.
The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.
With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.
Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.
If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.
Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.
Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.