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Despite the suffering experienced by Christians in India from persecution and the pandemic, they are shining as lights in the darkness, and have not given up hope for the future of the church in India. This week, be inspired by the faith of our brothers and sisters in India, and join in with their prayers for their country.

 Sunday, July 25

Raju was holding a prayer meeting at his house when Hindu extremists came and beat
him and his wife; their injuries were so severe they had to be taken to hospital. It could
have been easy for Raju to feel hatred towards his attackers – but he didn’t.

 He explains, “A few months after we faced the attack, one of the main leaders of the group that assaulted us died in an accident, and the other leader fell very sick. Many of the villagers began to talk about this – some said that our God was punishing them.

“However, at that time, instead of feeling hateful and revengeful towards them, God put
compassion for them in my heart. I was able to go the hospital and pray for that sick
leader. He said nothing but bowed his head in prayer as I prayed with him. He didn’t
become a Christian but I feel God had spoken to his heart.”

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

(Matthew 5:44)

Praise God for Raju’s courageous witness to his persecutors.
• Pray for Raju’s attackers, that God might be at work in their hearts and draw them
     to Himself.

Monday, July 26

Sanna and her family came to faith after her mother was healed of a terminal illness. At first, they faced severe persecution from their community. Sanna says, “For two full years, we were prohibited to visit other houses, and if they found out we had, we had to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000.” This was the equivalent of two month’s salary in Sanna’s village. “Those two years were like a trial for us.”

Since then, things have improved, but are still difficult. An Open Doors partner explains, “The village people noted through the life of this family that Christians are good people. This led them to remove the prior imposed penalty. However, they still need prayers as Sanna and her family are still not completely accepted in the society. There is still a lot of discrimination and mental stress.”

Sanna says, “There is a song I really love: ‘I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back’. This song always encourages me to always walk in Christ despite all difficult situations.”

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

  • Praise God that the witness of Sanna’s family has changed the hearts of their community.
  • Pray that the faithful witness of believers in India will help to change the minds of those who oppose them.

Tuesday, July 27

When Kusum’s husband died, her community, including her in-laws, said it was her fault, because she refused to give up her faith in Jesus. When her five-year-old son died a few years later, they blamed her faith once again. Kusum explains, “The villagers didn’t allow me to bury my son. They said, ‘You brought this curse upon your family! Because of your faith, your husband and your son are dead!’ In the end, I was allowed to bury my son on the outskirts of the village. I was all by myself. Nobody was allowed to help me.”

The persecution she has faced, on top of her grief, has been severe. Once, her father-in-law came to her house with an axe, threatening to kill her.

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.”(Psalm 34:15)

  • Praise God that he has heard Kusum’s prayers and brought many in her community to faith, even those who used to persecute her.
  • While some have come to faith, there are others in Kusum’s community who still persecute the Christians. Pray that they, too, will be drawn to faith in Christ.
  • Pray that God will continue to strengthen and protect Kusum and the new believers in her village.

Wednesday, July 28

Pastor Raman was in his church when the building was set on fire by a group of young people who were bribed Hindu extremists. He explains, “I tried to escape from the church, but when I did, some burning wood fell on me.”

Thankfully, he has now recovered from his injuries, and your prayers and support have been able to provide him with practical aid, as well as a new sound system for the rebuilt church.

Despite this terrifying incident, Raman is committed to the ministry he feels God has called him to – planting churches in the villages around his town. “I know it can be dangerous. I also know that I might die. But I am not afraid.”

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1:9)

  • Praise God for the courage of believers like Raman, who continue to serve the Lord despite violent attacks. Pray for protection for Raman and others like him.
  • Ask God to bless Raman’s ministry and give him wisdom as seeks to plant more churches in his region.

Thursday, July 29

Aman is a pastor in his early 30s from India. His family came to faith after God healed his mother of a terminal illness. Since then, his family have led so many others from their village to faith in Christ, the village authorities asked Aman and his family to leave, and began to threaten them.

But when a girl from the village became ill, Aman and his family were called to pray for her – and she was healed! “From that one incident the whole village witnessed the power in the name of Jesus Christ,” Aman says. “Since that incident the opposition was greatly reduced.”

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”(Psalm 34:8)

  • Praise God that the people in Aman’s village were able to see for themselves the healing power of Jesus. Pray that many more will come to faith through miracles like this.
  • While the persecution being faced by Aman and his family has reduced, it hasn’t gone away completely. Pray that God will protect them and provide for their needs.

Friday, July 30

Madan is now a pastor – but he once persecuted Christians.

He shares, “My life was very different before I knew Christ. I was a renowned goon in my area. Since I was 13 years old I became addicted to alcohol. As I grew, I got into a gang and we used to take money to beat people, even kill people.

“That was also the time when I really hated Christians because I heard they offered money to lure people to leave their original culture and tradition. Whenever I came across any Christians in my area, I used to beat them and abuse them using filthy language.”

Eventually Madan ended up in jail for various crimes he had committed. While he was imprisoned, someone gave him a Bible and told him about Jesus. When he got out of prison, he started going to church.

“My life was totally transformed. I started reading the Bible and I felt God speaking to me and directing me, saying He would make everything new!”

Madan now leads in a church in an area that is extremely opposed to Christians – he has received many threats and beatings. But he isn’t afraid – in fact, he says, “There are always more miracles and healings when there is more persecution.”

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew 5:10)

  • Praise God that no one is beyond His reach – even those who persecute Christians!
  • Pray that there would be many more stories like Madan’s of those who once persecuted Christians coming to faith.
  • Pray that God would continue to work through Madan, and that God would protect him and strengthen him.

 Saturday, July 31

Kirti is a young widow. Her husband was killed by extremists for refusing to give up his faith in Jesus. This happened a few years ago, and Open Doors local partners have been in regular contact with her since then, providing her with practical support and encouragement.

Kirti was shunned and blamed for her husband’s death. But slowly, God has softened the hearts of her husband’s family.

“Earlier, my father-in-law had persecuted me a lot because of my faith, but now they are staying with me because there is no one to take care of them. Before, they used to say to me that because of my Christian faith, my husband was killed.

“My father-in-law did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He used to drink and persecute me, but I constantly prayed for his salvation. I thank God, he has started believing in Christ.”

She continues: “During the Covid-19 lockdowns, many new people also became believers in my village. I spent much time in prayer during lockdown. Many villagers came to my house for prayer for their illnesses and God healed them all. Now, many new people from my village have also started believing in Jesus.”

“I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.” Psalm 118:21

Kirti recently shared this prayer with an Open Doors local partner. Use it as a basis for a prayer of your own:

Life-giving God, I thank you and pray for all those people who supported me in my difficult times. God, bless all of them, meet all their needs.

I pray for those people who are facing persecution for being Christians in many ways. Lord give them courage so that they can face this persecution.

May your Church grow in every country, that many people may be saved and dedicate their lives to you. All those who persecute Christians and oppose them, they should also be saved. I pray for the salvation of all the villagers in my village.

I pray for the servants of God, those who go to many villages to share the word of God – God, keep them safe and fulfil all their needs.

Help all of us to live life according to the Word of God stated in the Bible. Amen.

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