In the midst of a global pandemic, we can respond in a number of different ways, from the distraction of countless hours watching our favorite movies or tackling long-awaited home projects—perhaps even denying the seriousness of the whole thing. But my hope is that for us who are in Christ, Covid-19 will serve as a reminder of our mortality and dependence, and thus as a spur to prayer.
Our God reigns over all things, and what better way to use the time that we have been given then to pray earnestly for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done. My goal is to outline some specific ways for you to pray for India at this time, but as you read and consider the Scriptures, many of these themes may spur you on to pray for your own nation as well. I hope that you do.
I want to outline briefly four ways you can be praying for the world’s largest democracy. There are doubtless many more things to pray for, but these are the ways I have been praying, so I invite you to join me. Over the last five years of living in this country, my love for these peoples has grown, as well as my desire for God’s church to be established in strength and Gospel fidelity. Pray with me that God would use this global crisis for good in this country.
Pray for wisdom for those in power. We see in 1 Timothy 2 a call to pray for our leaders and those in power. I urge you to pray for wisdom for our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for the Central Government, and for the Chief Ministers who rule over states and implement Covid-19 related policies in their state. India’s economy is in a tenuous state and the unemployment rate is skyrocketing, so the leaders need wisdom to balance economic activity and stimulus with stricter lockdowns aimed at “flattening the curve.” India has been under total lockdown for over a month now, and there are at least a week left, not to mention probable extensions.
This is also a crucial time for agriculture as some crops need to be harvested and others need to be planted to ensure there is enough food for another year. Agriculture has been allowed to resume as of last week, but with the medical infrastructure already being stretched thin, India is not yet risking further relaxing of the lockdown. Please pray for wisdom for our leaders, but even more, being spurred on by 1 Timothy 2:3-4, pray for them to be saved. What a glorious thing that would be in the midst of difficulty! And our God is able!
Pray for God’s mercy to stop the spread of the disease and preserve life. The vast majority of India is blinded and enslaved to various idols who demand sacrifices and worship, and whose way leads to death. Not only in India, but anyone who does not trust in Christ deserves a punishment much worse than Covid-19—the eternal wrath of God against sin. Nonetheless, please pray with me that the Lord will show His abundant and undeserved mercy at this time, and that as He does, He will do the work of opening blind eyes and enlivening dead hearts for His glory.
Pray for domestic peace. India is in many ways a bundle of contradictions that could be described in like fashion to the opening of A Tale of Two Cities. It is a nation of pluralism and tolerance, but it is also a nation of religious zeal and sectarianism. Neither is new in the history of the subcontinent. Nonetheless, in the last several years, there has been a surge of Hindutva ideology which seeks to make India a Hindu nation and targets and persecutes other religions, and particularly those which originated outside the subcontinent. There is a fair bit of persecution that Christians have faced, but thus far Muslims have borne the brunt of it. Some of the spread of Covid-19 in India has been traced to an Islamic organization’s annual meeting and there has been significant social fallout. It’s easier to criticize and blame people who are different from you than to struggle against a faceless force. Please pray for peace within India.
Pray for the Indian Church to shine brightly amidst the trouble. While I urge you to pray for God’s mercy and for wisdom for leaders, I want to especially appeal to you to pray for the church in India. The church is the means God has ordained for the gospel to go forth in the world, and it is to serve as His representatives in hostile territory. Pray for hope and endurance for the church amidst difficulty, especially as we are separated for a time from the regular means of grace of gathering together. Pray for a great love for the brothers and that, as Jesus said, the world would know us by our love for one another. But pray also for opportunities to show mercy to those in need as a small picture of the immeasurable love and mercy of our Saviour Jesus. Philippians 2:15 calls the churches to shine like stars in the sky. Pray that the churches scattered across this nation would be beacons of a heavenly light in a dark and dying world, and that God would even use the backdrop of devastation to allow His Gospel to shine all the more brightly.
Please join me in praying for India now amidst this pandemic. The physical needs are great, but the spiritual needs are even greater. May the Lord call many more to Himself through this time!