My first real encounter with India began with reading a biography about Amy Carmichael. As a missionary to India, Carmichael rescued hundreds of little girls from temple prostitution. By God’s grace, this practice is no longer in existence, but her legacy lives on. Eventually she began rescuing little boys, and her home in India became a shelter and safe haven for numerous children to be educated, clothed, fed, loved, and most importantly, taught the Gospel.
But there is still so much work to be done in India.
India’s population comes in at over 1 billion people. That means that over 1 billion people, made in the image of God, in many cases are in bondage to Hinduism and false religions. While the faithful witness of missionaries throughout the centuries, like William Carey, has brought the Gospel to India, the people of India are still largely overtaken by false gods. Over 600 million people live in poverty, often perpetuated by the oppressive Hindu caste system. Though castes are forbidden by the constitution, for over 80% of the population these structures are socially important. The caste system keeps the people of India in bondage to cultural and societal barriers, often providing no hope of release.
For some Christians, the hope of freedom is also grim. While the constitution allows for religious freedom, many within India have pushed for strong anti-conversion laws against Christianity. In some states, Christians have faced intense persecution and even death. Hinduism is the prevailing cultural religion of India, a religion that boasts of hundreds of gods to meet various needs.
Ways to pray:
- According to Operation World, India has larger populations and people groups with no Christians, churches, or Christian workers than any other part of the world. Pray that God would give people a heart for India and a desire to go and make disciples of this nation.
- Pray that God would break the oppressive caste system by bringing Indian people to himself. Pray that the Cross of Jesus Christ would break down years of sin and prejudice that has caused them to oppress their own countrymen.
- Pray that Jesus Christ would be seen as the greatest and only source of true fulfillment.
- Pray that existing Christians would be faithful to the task of proclaiming the Gospel and living out the Gospel in a country that is not welcoming.
As a side note, one of the things I was reminded of while reading about India was the fact that a Gospel witness has been around in India for over 2000 years. The Apostle Thomas was the first to arrive in India with the Gospel. Many years later, William Carey arrived. And for many years since then, faithful men and women have been going to India with the hope that the people there might come to worship the one true God. What a testimony of obedience and perseverance, and what a lesson on the long-suffering nature of our God. We don’t know why the Gospel did not spread in India like it did in Rome and throughout Europe. All we know is that God is sovereign and that he has people for himself in every tribe, tongue, and nation—including India. Sometimes we need a little perspective to see the bigger picture. God doesn’t promise us results right away. He doesn’t even promise us results in our lifetime. But he does promise us that one day he will have worshippers from India, and hundreds of other countries throughout the world he created. We are just called to be faithful and go and tell. He will take care of the rest.