Guest post from Jan Ritzema, a Relations Associate at Mission India.
I just joined the Mission India team this past year, and I have to say that what I appreciate most at Mission India is the focus on prayer. Prayer places us in the posture of dependency on God, reminds us of His promises, and acknowledges His ultimate power and provision.
When I think of the enormity of India’s need and the magnitude of its numbers, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. God, however, is not surprised by any of it and He invites you and I to participate in His great plans for India through the power of prayer.
What an awesome privilege and responsibility!
With all the needs in the world, you might wonder why it’s important to pray specifically for India.
1. Population. 1 out of every 6 people on earth lives in India! India’s population is continuing to grow and is anticipated to exceed China’s population to become the world’s most populated nation within the next 15 years.
2. Children. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me.” Almost ½ of India’s population is made up of children under the age of 18. And 1 in every 5 kids on earth is born in India.
3. Social Injustice & Oppression. India is a land of tremendous needs. Men, women, and children suffer from caste discrimination, female infanticide, bride burning, slavery, human trafficking, child labor, and religious prostitution, just to name a few.
4. Extreme Poverty. Almost 75% of people in India live on less than $2.50 a day. Families go hungry and suffer from malnutrition. And without an education, most have no hope for a brighter future.
5. Illiteracy. Over 273 million adults in India are illiterate. That means 1 in every 4 adults is unable to read or write. Illiterate adults are vulnerable to being cheated by dishonest employers and marketplace vendors. They are also more likely to fall prey to human trafficking. Illiteracy is passed from parents to children, perpetuating the cycle of poverty for generations.
6. Superstition. Many Indians follow Hinduism and are desperate to appease the gods. Fearfully, many consult witch doctors and village priests to learn which sacrifices and rituals are necessary to appease the gods. However, in certain areas, a woman may be blamed for a family’s illness, crop failure, or a dry well and may then be accused of practicing black magic. The possible consequences for being accused of practicing black magic or witchcraft is abuse, torture, and even death.
7. Searching. India is the birthplace of some of the world’s major religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Known as a land of spirituality and philosophy, India is a land searching for truth … and it’s more open to the Gospel message today than ever before.
8. Unreached. India has almost 2,000 unreached people groups. With 400+ million who have never heard the name of Jesus, India is the most unreached nation in the world. China comes in second, with 456 unreached people groups.
9. Persecution. India is ranked in the top 25 countries where Christians are facing the most persecution. Hatred against Christians is instigated by anti-Christian extremists. Reports of beatings of pastors and church members are frequent. In some instances, Christians are killed for their faith.
Want to join me in prayer? Check out our Prayer Guide.