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Lent Prayer - India

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Lent Prayer - India

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Lent Prayer - India

Project(s): 21-930, 21-510

Country/Region: India, South and East Asia

Professor T. J. Joseph, a Christian who taught at a college in Kerala State, was attacked in July 2010 when he got home from church by unknown assailants who cut off his right hand with an axe. Professor Joseph’s sister said her brother “has only talked about forgiveness, forgiveness and forgiveness”.

20110322-India-4X3.jpg

Indian Christian children play volleyball at a Christian home for orphaned children, which is supported by Barnabas

Christians number about 6% of the total population of India, and some 60% of Christians are Dalits, who occupy the lowest level of Indian society. Christians face discrimination in all walks of life and also suffer personal violence from Hindu extremists and attacks against churches and Christian buildings. In May 2010, seven students at a Bible college in Mumbai were hospitalised after a mob armed with sticks and iron bars stormed their campus. In August, four attackers targeted a church in Karnataka State during the morning service. They accused the Christians of forced conversions and started beating them up.

The violence even extends to murder: Shravan Kumar, an Indian missionary, was killed in Jharkhand in September, and evangelist Ravi Murmu was murdered in Laxmanpur, Bihar state in May. When asked how the family was coping with the murder, Ravi’s brother (also an evangelist) replied, “The peace of God still reigns in this house and in this family.”

Following the serious large-scale anti-Christian violence in Orissa in December 2007 and August 2008 that left many Christians dead or injured and thousands homeless, only a handful of people have been brought to justice for the violence. On 29 June 2010 a senior member of the Hindu extremist political party, the BJP, was given a seven-year prison sentence for murdering a Christian during the violence.

India’s constitution guarantees religious liberty, but in the last few years a number of states have introduced “anti-conversion laws”. Under these laws, non-Hindus are liable to penalties for converting someone by “force”, “fraud” or “allurement”. These laws are often misused to prevent legitimate Christian evangelism.

Pray for religious freedom to be upheld in every Indian state and that Hindus who choose to follow Christ will be able to do so without fear of punishment. Pray for the families of Ravi and Shravan, that they will know the peace of the Lord in their sadness. Thank the Lord for the forgiving attitude of Professor Joseph; pray that he and his family will be a powerful witness to those who maimed him. Please remember especially our brothers and sisters in Orissa on the anniversary of the 2007 violence. Pray that the Church in India will continue to serve the nation without fear.

Barnabas Fund projects in India include

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  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 14 hours ago

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

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