In some regions of India, persecution of Christians takes place within the midst of a centuries-long feud between national Muslims and Hindus.
One recent example of the rampant religious animosity came last December when a Hindu man burned a Muslim man alive as he raved about “love jihad”, the notion that Muslims in India are attempting to entice Hindu women to convert them. As a way of punishing Christians who reach out to any Muslims or Hindus, especially those of the lowest caste in India, the Dalits (also known as the “Untouchables”), authorities bring charges of “forced conversions” against Christians.
Following a surge of attacks last year, John Dayal, the secretary general of the All-India Christian Council, said “Anything that impacts the Muslims in a different way, impacts the Christians”. This is because both Hindus and Muslims are angered at the rejection of their gods, and that anger boils over in targeting for persecution Christians who share the Gospel. The seriousness of the religious tension in India became evident last year when Christian aid group Compassion International was forced out its work in India over concerns of proselytization.
Charges of proselytization often take on bizarre meanings when applied to Christians in non-Christian countries. Antagonistic Hindi groups in India consider “forced conversions” to cover activities including “ . . . anything from praying for Jesus to heal you, to offering to put you in a Christian hospital or school, to paying a person American dollars or British pounds.”
Consider, too, that this persecution is occurring in a country that has a long and rich experience with Christianity. Christians in southwest India trace their heritage back to the Apostle Thomas, who reportedly ministered there within two decades of the death of Jesus.
It is this hostile environment in which our Christian partner has been quietly and persistently ministering to Muslims for over 30 years. Although keeping a very low profile because of the danger, his ministry reaches many with the Gospel through programs like vocational training and adult literacy.
“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” — Philippians 3:8
2/1 — Pray for God to use the courageous witness of Christians in India to draw many Muslims to saving faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to move in a mighty way across this nation and lead great numbers to repentance and faith.
2/2 — Pray for our partner and his faithful outreach to Muslims. Pray for the Spirit to convict many Muslims’ hearts about their fruitless service to a false god. Pray that the scales of deception will fall off.
2/3 — Cry out to God for His sustaining strength for Indian Christians and their families facing persecution. “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (Jeremiah 31:25)
2/4 — Ask the Father of mercies and God of all comfort to fill Indian believers with His steadfast love that they would be strengthened through adversity.
2/5 — Praise God for the comfort He offers Indian Christians, and all believers, through Christ. (2 Cor. 1: 3)
2/6 — Pray for Christians in India to “hold fast the confession of their hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23)
2/7 — Pray for God’s Hand to move in the hearts of men in authority to protect the Church in India.