India is one of the largest, most diverse and complex countries of the world. With a land mass of close to a million square miles, India dominates South Asia and the Indian Ocean. Villages in India often have a population density equal to or greater than major European and American cities. India’s racial, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity make it one of the most challenging areas of the world to spread the Gospel. India also has more human need than any other nation largely by virtue of its massive population, but also due to many areas of suffering that must be addressed through considered action and sustained prayer. There also exist the greatest disparity between rich and poor. India has the world’s highest number of poor but also the fourth-most millionaires. India has a growing economy and a growing middle class.
Much prayer is needed for India in the areas of political, economic and social challenges, control of corruption, the growing threat of Maoist and other terrorism activities, tensions with neighboring countries, and Hindu nationalist groups that are targeting Christians. Hinduism is the world’s third-largest religious system and has strong cultural appeal for Indians. The world’s least-evangelized peoples are concentrated in India. Bible translation is a major need and challenge.
There is much to praise the Lord about in India as well. Bible-believing churches and groups are growing. Christian education, training, and discipleship are areas for real prayer that progress made will not be lost. There is great hope for India. 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. 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 mission strategies must be undertaken to communicate and model the gospel to them. Indian church and missions are now focusing on this issue and initial success thus far is very modest but with prayer can have great impact.
Let us pray that the Lord of Harvest will give to everyone who ministers in India “Master Builder” wisdom. Pray that with a great diversity of approaches to a great diversity of need the Gospel of Jesus Christ will touch Indian hearts and lives in numbers that even dwarf the immensity of India itself.