Christian leaders in India have come together across the denominations to call for a day of prayer and fasting as India, wracked with Covid-19, faces one of the worst disasters she has endured in recent history.
Will you join with them, praying and fasting as you are able, on Friday 7 May? Detailed prayer requests, adapted from the Synod of the Church of North India, are below.
Barnabas Fund facilitates creation of INDIA-COVID-19 EMERGENCY TASK FORCE
Around 40 key Indian Church leaders joined an online meeting called and hosted by Barnabas Fund on Tuesday 4 May to look at a coordinated Church response to the second wave of Covid-19 in India. Senior leaders from the Church of North India, Church of South India, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Assemblies of God and several independent pastors and leaders of Christian networks and organisations all participated.
It was a unique gathering that brought together leaders across a wide denominational spectrum.
A dire situation analysis
The leaders described a dire situation. Over 350 Christian ministers, pastors and church leaders have already died in the second wave. Others are exhausted as they try to address the spiritual and practical needs of their congregations. There is fear and anxiety among church leaders and church members alike, leading to mental health issues.
Many people have died because they could not get timely medical treatment. Congregations are in great need following the death of breadwinners or the loss of livelihoods due to lockdown in several parts of India. There is an urgent need for spiritual and material help, but new financial regulations just introduced in India are making it difficult for Christian organisations to receive support from overseas donors.
As well as calling for a day of prayer and fasting on 7 May, the leaders agreed on a three-stage intervention to meet emergency, mid-term and long-term needs. They agreed to form an INDIA-COVID-19 EMERGENCY TASK FORCE and issued a Joint Declaration.
We, as Church leaders and as members of the INDIA-COVID-19 EMERGENCY TASK FORCE facilitated by Barnabas Fund, agree to
- come together irrespective of denominational affiliations to unitedly fight COVID-19 and the related poverty and livelihood issues,
- address the spiritual, material and emotional needs of individuals, families and congregations,
- network and support the distribution of relief and monetary support to fellow Christians in our locality/region,
- support families who have lost the primary breadwinner and children who are orphaned due to COVID-19,
- regularly come together to pray for God’s presence, protection and providence as we go through the COVID-19 pandemic,
- make available COVID-related practical information and spiritual resources to disseminate to the Indian Church, for which the newly created barnabastoday.in website will provide a platform,
- engage in short-term and long-term intervention to address the needs of the Indian Church.
Prayer pointers for Day of Prayer and Fasting for India, Friday 7 May 2021
- Pray that the authorities will efficiently deal with the reported shortages in oxygen supply, ventilators, hospital beds and lifesaving medicines etc.
- Pray for the effective Covid vaccination drive in India – including the sufficiency in supply of the doses and coordinated administration of the vaccine.
- Pray for protection and strength to all medical professionals, para-medics and other support staff, who are working tirelessly to treat and care for the Covid patients.
- Pray for the armed forces personnel, who are extending tremendous support to the administration, especially in transportation of medical supplies and setting up of pre-fabricated tents as Covid hospitals, and the retired armed forces medics who have been recalled to work in medical facilities closer to their homes.
- Pray for those nations who have expressed their solidarity with India and for those who have already responded with help especially with medical supplies.
- Pray for the poor, the daily wagers and migrant workers and their families, who have lost their livelihoods with the imposition of stricter restrictions at workplace, curfews and lockdowns.
- Pray for the mental health and wellbeing of the people. India is now the second most Covid-infected nation after the US. With the rise in mortality rate among Covid-infected, the crematoriums are finding it difficult to cope with the pressure. More and more families are facing bereavement but corresponding support from the community seems negligible due to the social restrictions.
- At this time of sickness, death, bereavement and fear, pray that Christians will be able to serve the larger community, which is in distress.
- Pray for Christian hospitals and their staff who are treating Covid patients, especially those from the economically weaker sections of society.
- Pray for the relief work being carried out by churches, especially by distribution of food, facemasks etc. among the poor and vulnerable.
- Pray for the spiritual strength of Christians who have no access to internet or smart gadgets for the online Sunday worship services in religious buildings which are kept closed to reduce the transmission of the virus.
- Above all, let’s pray for God’s sustaining grace and healing mercy on all nations.