India

INDIA – Republic of India, Asia

Area big 3,166,000sq. km with the population of 1,214,464,312 inhabitants is known as India. Geographically and politically, India dominates South Asia and the Indian Ocean. There are 28 Union States and 7 UnionTerritories. Inhabianst 1,214,464,312

India’s ancient, complex and often historically inscrutable past; its racial, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity; and the caste system all make detailed population analysis exceedingly difficult. Official languages Constitutionally there are 22 official languages. The official language is Hindi (spoken by 40% of the population). English is a subsidiary official language. All languages 456, including 18 with more than 10 million speakers.

The caste system reflects ancient social and occupational hierarchies, but its origins are disputed and unclear. Ancient Indo-Aryan traditions, Hindu religious texts and beliefs, Indian social structures, the British Empire and even modernisation and globalisation today have shaped how the caste system impacts life in India. These have been the foundation of Indian social order for centuries. This system impacts life much more profoundly in rural areas than in cities, where educational, economic and social mobility increasingly blurs caste lines. Discrimination based on caste is constitutionally illegal, and the government has affirmative action policies in place to help the groups previously most disadvantaged by the system. But caste-based discrimination persists throughout much of India.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

Political, economic and social challenges to the country place a great burden upon India’s government. Much positive progress has been made in many areas; to consolidate and build on such progress, prayer is called for. Pray for India’s leaders, that they might:
Continue to uphold the constitution by maintaining religious freedom and protecting religious and ethnic minorities.
Uproot corruption in all levels of government – from national to state levels and right down to the local level. Pray for courage and resoluteness to stay the course when allowing a culture of corruption to persist is a much easier and safer option.
Tackle the serious ills of society with greater commitment and effectiveness – reduce malnutrition, which affects 40% of the population; improve the national infrastructure; deal with widespread use of child labour, bonded labour and female infanticide; tackle the rapid spread of AIDS and serious environmental degradation.
Address the growing threat of Maoist/Naxalite insurgency. Pray for the healthy threaten growth of the Church through Naxalite infiltration of Christian communities and the general disruption caused by violence.
Manage the economic situation with wisdom. India has the world’s highest number of poor, the fourth-most millionaires and the greatest disparity between rich and poor. Pray for amid a growing economy and a growing middle class, ways to reduce poverty must also be found.
Wisely address increasing threats to stability, including terrorism, tensions with neighbouring countries, and Hindu nationalist groups and their targets: Christians, Muslims and Naxalites/Communists.

The “New India” is a youthful, ambitious, cosmopolitan and modern entity, where differences of religion, caste and gender mean less and less. It is increasingly urban and tech- savvy. The most significant influence in this context is materialism – as capable of entrapping Hindus as any other group. This younger generation – 70% of India is under age 35, and 31% under age 15 – will shape India’s future. As such, they are a hugely strategic group to reach for Jesus; completely new and different missiological strategies must be undertaken to communicate and model the gospel to them. Indian churches and missions are now focusing on this issue; initial success thus far is very modest.

India has more human need than any other nation – largely by virtue of its massive population, but also due to many areas of suffering such as poverty of hundreds of millions predominantly in rural areas, caste issues, health concerns, women and children suffer disproportionately, that must be addressed through considered action and sustained prayer.

Children in crisis – no country can rival India’s staggering need. Of India’s 400 million children under 15 years old, possibly up to 35 million are orphans. Eleven million are abandoned (90% girls); three million live on the street. There are 20 million child labourers (including many instances of bond slavery to pay family debts) – some estimates claim 50 million. Up to two-thirds of children suffer physical abuse, and one-half some kind of sexual harassment or abuse. Over 1.2 million children are involved in prostitution. Pray that attitudes and practices in society, especially toward those most vulnerable, might be changed to reflect God’s care for women and children.

Women and girls. Lower literacy and education rates, the dowry tradition, widespread domestic abuse and the evil tradition of temple prostitution all cry out for action. Society’s preference for boys, combined with the illegal application of ultrasound technology, leads to selective abortion of girls and to female infanticide. A female population deficit of 35 million – and growing – compared to the male population demonstrates the severity of the situation. Pray that these desperate needs may be addressed through loving Christian ministries and state structures.

Hinduism is the world’s third-largest religious system. Hinduism, most broadly understood, is a civilisational dynamic incorporating every aspect of life, embracing those who live in or identify with India and its culture.  Pray that the communal violence which is connected with Hinduism might end, and its instigators repent and find Christ.

The Church in India is highly diverse, has a long legacy and is, at the same time, vital and growing, and nominal and declining. Much of Indian Christianity is the result of people movements over the past 300 years, punctuated by local revivals. In many denominations, it remains inWestern forms.Liberal theology,universalism and growing nominalism in the Church have dried up the spirit of outreach to the millions of non-Christians. Many congregations have no first-generation believers from a non-Christian background. Disputes over personalities, power and property have led to many divisions, court cases, widespread disillusionment and continuous loss of young people to materialism.At the same time,steady streams of Christians transfer from these groups to newer, more dynamic Independent churches. Pray that present pressures and the work of the Holy Spirit might bring new life to traditional forms of Christianity. Pray for the outreach of different business, politics, arts, culture and the middle and upper classes – all shapers of Indian society – have not yet been impacted by the gospel.

Training Christian workers is an important need that is immediately urgent and essential in the long term. As the life and health of the Church depend on the proper development of pastors, teachers, evangelists and missionaries, pray for wisdom and leadership of the Holy Spirit through the process of education all those leaders. Pray for the Indian Church will learn to have a greater impact in the workplace, especially in the newer areas of IT, business and such. Pray that Christians and Christian leaders might be united and courageous in the face of widespread and localised persecution. Pray also that Christians may show the love and forgiveness of Christ to their persecutors.

Ministry among the Dalits is one of the defining issues for the 21st Century Church, despite being a very complex one. The centuries-long oppression of these peoples is being made right, and Christians are at the forefront of such efforts. While the opportunity remains to reach up to 300 million with the gospel through compassionate ministry, Dalit issues extend beyond evangelism into human rights, development, education, economic empowerment and community transformation.

Specific communities requiring specialised ministry such as the increasingly affluent 350 million of the middle classes have little meaningful contact with Christianity. They are key sectors of society in the 21st Century. Also  Students number over 11.5 million is a large group please pray for their growth and integration into local churches.

Young people – the statistics present a staggering need for this population of 400 million under 15 years old. Only 15% reach high school, and functional literacy is around 30%. Around 40% live below the poverty line. Many live in a moral and spiritual vacuum. Most churches lack the resources and know-how to minister to them.

Leprosy sufferers, of which there are 150,000 new cases every year. Leprosy originated in India. It still possesses the majority of the world’s cases, and there are over 1,000 leper colonies in India. Pray for the christian agencies which are work with them.

The blind. As many as 15 million people in India are blind (and another 50 million visually impaired) – this is nearly 40% of the world’s total. Of these cases, 70% would be preventable were there sufficient doctors and optometrists. Braille is an under-utilised tool. Pray for the agency specialising in producing Braille Scriptures in Indian languages by means of computer. Christian audio resources such as Megavoice, Proclaimer and others are vital for reaching and discipling India’s blind people.

PROJECTS IN INDIA

www.goodsamindia.org
www.ibota.org
www.lovecalcuttaarts.com
www.shelano.com
for others please contact Zuzana

LIST OF USED LINKS AND BOOKS

Jason Mandryk; Operation World, The definitive prayer guide to every nations; Printed in the United States of America; 2010; 978p.