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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in India

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(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, May 19, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

INDIA: Population: 1,3 billion Christians 68,8 million

India is home to nearly 1.3 billion people — 2.3% Christians, 14.2% Muslim and 80% Hindu. India’s religious minorities experience hostility from the government and Hindu extremists. 

India’s government is run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which backs Hindu extremists. Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, and the BJP have endorsed laws and policies that have enabled Hindu extremists to harass Christians and Muslims in the day-to-day. Hindu extremists want all Indians to be Hindu and believe that converting Christians and other religious minorities is simply returning them to their original faith.

“It is not conversion; it is reconversion,” stated Vyankatesh Abdeo, the national secretary of a Hindu organization, in an LA Times article. “A thousand years ago, all the Muslims and Christians in India were Hindu. They were converted by the sword. We are just bringing them back to their original faith.”    

 Indian government officials often spread disinformation and make inflammatory remarks about religious minorities. Before and during the pandemic, many BJP politicians, leaders, and members of Hindu extremist organizations made remarks or allegations in public and on social media about Christians and Muslims.

Several of India’s states enforce anti-conversion laws. According to USCIRF’s 2020 report, one-third of India’s 28 states have passed laws that “limit or prohibit religious conversion to protect the dominant religion from perceived threats from religious minorities.” One particular anti-conversion law in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh demands that those converting from one religion to another must notify authorities of the change within 60 days. Giving gifts, such as Bibles, or providing food at church events could be seen under the law as allurement or inducement to convert.

Wild claims have been leveled against Christians as a result of anti-conversion laws. In 2017, six Christians were arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap children and forcibly convert them. The Christian chaperons were taking the children, whose parents were also Christian, to a 4-day Bible camp. Violating anti-conversion laws is punishable with fines and up to 10 years in prison.

In the states where these anti-conversion laws have gone into effect, pastors and priests are most frequently accused and jailed for “coercing” or “bribing” Hindus to convert to Christianity. Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion law labels pastors and priests as “religion converters” and classifies discussing divine displeasure (i.e. talking about heaven or hell) as “forcing conversion.” In October, seven pastors were arrested during a prayer meeting in Uttar Pradesh for “forcing conversions” and “assembling illegally.”

Indian politicians and Hindu extremists have pushed for a nation-wide institution of these anti-conversion laws under the guise of “religious freedom.” This would increase the already widespread accusations and harassment of Christians for preaching the gospel. Hindu extremist mobs, motivated by false allegations, frequently burst into services, demand arrests, attack Christians, and destroy churches or other Christian establishments.

Alliance Defending Freedom described a typical attack: “A mob will arrive at a prayer meeting or Christian gathering, shout abuse and harassment, and beat up those in attendance, including women and children. Then, the pastors or priests are usually arrested by the police under false allegations of forced conversions.” Police rarely hold mob members accountable or investigate incidents of violence against Christians.

The Indian Parliament amended a law in September restricting and in some cases freezing the finances of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Amendment of the law was meant to cut down on the misuse of foreign funds, however these restrictions forced Christian, humanitarian and religious freedom advocacy NGOs to shut down. Many of these NGOs were distributing COVID relief.

Indians who convert from Hinduism to Christianity often face immense pressure to reconvert or are ostracized from their friends and families. By converting, these Christians risk losing their jobs and are boycotted by their community, dealing a significant blow to their income sources. Particularly during COVID-19, Christians were turned away from local and government aid centers and denied basic necessities, such as food, water or clothing. 

  • Pray that the Lord will touch President Prime Minister Modi through His Holy Spirit to open up to Christianity.
  • Pray that God will soften the hearts of Hindu extremists, that they will see Christians as valuable Indian brothers and sisters.
  • Pray for those in authority that they will commit to freedom for all people of faith.
  • Give thanks to God that many people are coming to know Jesus after being healed of sickness; pray that this will continue.
  • Pray for healing of the many victims of religious violence. Pray that the Lord will heal hearts and bodies.
  •  Pray for believers to connect with other believers. According to Open Doors USA, many believers “don’t know any other Christians.” as persecution is coming from all areas of life.  Social boycotts, covid lockdowns and pressure from Hindu extremists to “reconvert” breed isolation.
  • Pray for the protection of believers from hostile Hindus as they seek fellowship and worship.
  • Pray to the Lord for Hindus converting to Christianity that they stay strong in the face of persecution from neighbors and authorities.
  • Pray to the Lord to have His hand of protection on believers, who in this hostile environment, who bring the Gospel to the lost.
  • Pray to the Lord that they will continue to have unrestricted access to the internet. That the internet will have messages to encourage the saints and touch Hindus.
  • Ask God continued protection, strength, and encouragement for all NGOs as they covertly serve the church in India as the authorities.
  • Pray that the Lord will give His believers the ability to love their enemies and to forgive them.
  •  Pray to the Lord that the gates of Hell will not prevail and that the Lord Jesus Christ will continue to grow His Church. That the powers of darkness will be unable to stop spreading throughout INDIA.

Again, we want to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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 time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are 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 are new to the call and cannot 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!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

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.


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