Christians in India seek prayer for their nation

India’s general election results announced today declare a landslide victory for the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) led National Democratic Alliance. Prime Minister Modi returns to power for another term of five years.

Christians in India seek prayer for God’s wisdom and guidance for their nation in the days ahead. The last five years saw an intensification of persecution upon religious minorities, with freedom of religion deeply infringed for many.

Local church leaders told Open Doors’ contacts that the BJP government has already created a lot of problems for them in their work and that they had hoped the government would change so that they would have more freedom.

“Now that the ruling party comes in again, Christians might have very difficult times,” Sujal*, a church leader, said. “It will be difficult for the churches to function. There will be more violence against Christians. The BJP is a pro-Hindu party and is polarizing the minds of Indians on the ground of religion, spreading communal disharmony. It rouses religious intolerance, promoting Hinduism, crowning it as the only religion in India and belittling Christians and Muslims as intruders.”

Since the BJP came to power in May 2014, India has risen from number 28 to number 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, the annual list that measures the 50 places around the world where it’s most difficult to follow Jesus.

While Open Doors’ local partners recorded 147 incidents of violence against Christians in India in 2014, they have recorded 216 incidents in the first quarter of 2019 alone, including two murders. These are just the incidents that Open Doors local partners have verified; it is likely that many other incidents have gone unreported.

 

Seeking your prayers

While many Christians in India are disappointed to see the BJP return to power, one church leader told Open Doors partners, "Most mature Christians are talking about God’s will. During these times, we believe what Proverbs 16:33 says: 'The lot is cast into the lap, but it's every decision is from the Lord.' And we also meditate on Proverbs 21:1, which says, 'In the Lord's hand the king's heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.'"

Another believer told us, "I don’t support any party and have peace believing Romans 8:28, which says 'In all things God works for the good of those who love him.'"

A local church partner says, "We are not happy or sad. We trust the Lord is in control and He will help us through it all. Most of the Indians are happy that Modi is back. They believe he will bring about change. Some Christians are discouraged, yes, but they have also been preparing for this to happen. It is also true that neither Congress nor other parties work for the welfare of Christians. We would have faced opposition anyhow. So we instead prepare ourselves to face what God has prepared for us."

Another church partner, Pastor Samuel*, says, "It seems that at the moment nobody can beat the BJP in the elections. We hope and pray that the international community will engage with the Indian government. It is possible that the Indian laws and even clauses in the constitution will be altered in this tenure, giving the government more tools to persecute minorities."

In partnership with local churches, Open Doors provides emergency aid, training, Bibles, advocacy support, and legal seminars to people who have suffered persecution.

Sixty-four million Christians live in India which is less than five percent of the population. In a country with a total population of 1.3 billion, they make up a tiny minority. In rural areas, Christians are often very isolated. Christians in India face high levels of violence from extremists, with thousands of attacks taking place every year.

 

Please pray

 

For the political leadership in India, that God may soften their hearts towards religious minorities.

Please pray for protection for our brothers and sisters, especially in the states where there is an anti-conversion law, as this can bring increased persecution for them.

For an increase in unity among the various Christian denominations in the country.

*Names changed for security reasons