13 Points On A Map
What do these 13 points on the map of India have in common?
(incident reports plotted on Google maps, as close as possible)
One of the flags represents two incidents and one other represents three incidents
Each of the 13 points represents a reported incident of Christian persecution at the hands of Hindu extremists in the month of December alone! In the 20 calendar days between December 2 and December 22, Compass Direct News reported:
- Pastor arrested for “forceful conversion.”
- Church burned down.
- Christians beaten during a prayer meeting.
- Pastors beaten, church service stopped.
- Pastor beaten distributing tracts at a railway station.
- Six women, four elders, and assistant pastor beaten at church.
- Church demolished, pastor beaten.
- Pastor stoned in church (took 14 stitches to head).
- Pastor beaten unconscious, his mother beaten, jewelry stolen.
- Two pastors and ten Christians arrested, church demolished.
- Three families beaten and then arrested.
- Church destroyed, threats of kidnapping pastor’s family.
- Pastor arrested for “forceful conversion.”
In the prior month, 3 incidents were reported and in October, 13 incidents. Open Doors World Watch List states that there were 109 incidents in the 12 month period of November 2010 through October 2011. It’s an in-your-face reminder that Christian persecution emanates from extremists of Hindu, Islam, and Buddhist faiths, as well as the atheist Communist countries.
The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life’s Global Christianity report, published last month, states there are 31 million Christians in India. Less than 3% of the population. Operation World reports 71 million Christians. OW reports that Christians are concentrated in the south and in the northeast, but the map clearly shows the persecution is throughout the country.
OW provides us with a few more characteristics of today’s India that are relevant to our prayer:
- India has a growing church … In the state of Delhi alone, were 22 million people live, there are over 3,000 churches, and there’s a vision to plant another 1,500 churches for 1.5 million by 2020. The state of Nagaland, were more than 2 million people live, claims one of the highest density of theological colleges in the world (there are 19), and there’s a vision to send 10,000 Naga missionaries into the world.
- India has more unreached people than any other nation … 1 billion unreached people!
- India has more human need than any other nation … poverty, malnutrition, unclean drinking water, polluted air, HIV-positive, up to 35 million orphans, 11 million abandoned children, 20 million child laborers, child prostitution, and abortion and female infanticide.
- India has 400 million children under 15 years old. Only 15% reach high school.
- India has over 1,000 leper colonies. Leprosy originated here and 150,000 new cases are reported every year.
- India has 15 million blind people. And another 50 million with visual impairment. 40% of the world’s blind are in India. It is estimated that 70% would be preventable with access to doctors and optometrists.
THERE IS NOT ONE INDIA
I imagine it’s obvious to most readers, but I have to remind myself of the vastness of this country and its decentralization. I might think, “How can this be happening in India?” That’s akin to asking why something in Florida or California or Maine isn’t controlled by the US government. There are 28 states and 7 territories in the country of India. As OW says, “Most of these states are far larger than the majority of nations [in the world].” The strength of the state government and the number of Hindu extremists seem to play largely into how the rule of law is enforced.
TEN PRAYER POINTS FOR INDIA
- PRAY for the families of the martyred Christians.
- PRAY for the wounded and recovering Christians and their families; for new and restored places of worship.
- PRAY for the Hindu extremists; that they will come to know Jesus Christ and accept Him as their Savior.
- PRAY for wisdom and unity in the growing church.
- PRAY for leaders and teachers to help disciple members in the growing church.
- PRAY for the unreached people groups. There may be no or very few believers in the respective groups; pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to more people, and that they will accept Him and begin service to the Kingdom.
- PRAY for the huge amount of human need; for the ministries now serving and for new ministries where needed.
- PRAY for the young children; that resources will be available to address the huge amount of illiteracy.
- PRAY for the lepers; for those ministries that support care and treatment.
- PRAY for the blind and the visually impaired; for more doctors and optometrists treatments to prevent blindness; and for those ministries that support care and treatment.