As the date for the Indian Supreme Court hearing on equal rights for Dalit Christians approaches, the head of a mission ministry with a strong presence in India is urging Christians around the world to join in two days of fasting and prayer next week.
K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia (GFA), is encouraging believers to fast and pray on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 17-18, as the upcoming court hearing has the potential to drastically change the condition of Dalit Christians.
Through our prayer and fasting, we are standing in the gap, said Yohannan to AgapePress. And it takes a massive amount of prayer and fasting and intercession to break the hands of the evil one and make this thing work.
If the results of the Oct.18 court hearing are favorable to Dalit Christians, the untouchable minority group in India will be granted basic human rights such as equality in jobs, education and other rights that Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhist Dalits have.
Supporters of the Dalit Christians were encouraged by the recent outcome of a hearing with the U.S. Congress on Oct. 6 concerning the severe discrimination and human rights violations faced by Dalits. The U.S. Congress chairman of the Dalit hearing expressed concern and shock at the severity of the persecution they daily faced.
To keep nearly a quarter of ones population in sub-human status is not only a grotesque violation of human rights, but it is a formula for economic and political stagnation as well, said Christopher H. Smith, the U.S. Congressman who chaired the hearing according to The Hindustan Times.
As the worlds largest democracy, India must radically improve this terrible situation, noted Smith.
Moreover, Yohannan says that the court case is important not only because it will extend equality to Dalit Christians, but also because it has the potential to facilitate conversion to Christianity among Dalits. Under the current law, Dalits who convert to Christianity have nearly no rights.
With approximately 300 million Dalits in India, the proposal could potentially protect Dalits from losing basic rights when they convert to Christianity, thus overcoming the hesitancy to convert because of anti-Christian oppression.
Yohannan is hopeful that this law will pass in the Indian Supreme court next Tuesday and remarks that the growing awareness of the oppression faced by Dalits will help their cause.
This is definitely going to happen because there is tremendous pressure from all sides, especially on the left, who are saying this needs to be done, commented Yohannan to Mission Network News (MNN).
And therefore I do not think they can say no to it especially with the world coming into the picture, Yohannan said, referring to the conference sponsored by the Dalit Freedom Network in Washington, D.C, on Oct. 6.
The GFA president reminded Christians about the importance of fasting and prayer during a situation such as the case next Tuesday.
Jesus Himself said these things can only go with fasting and prayer, Yohannan said to AgapePress. We are dealing with not just one person [who is] demon-possessed; we are dealing with millions upon millions and multitudes in the valley of decision, not knowing what to do, and Satanic forces want to take them all to hell. We need to wake up and give up our food and drink and cry out to God at this time on behalf of people.
Gospel for Asia (GFA), which has been following and reporting on the situation of Dalit Christians in India, is an organization that trains and sends native missionaries to the most unreached areas of Asia. GFA has trained and sent more than 14,500 native missionaries who plant over 10 churches every day.