India Evangelical Leader Seeks Prayers for Peace

The Evangelical Fellowship of India has asked Christians to pray for a peaceful 2009 for India's believers.

The appeal comes not long after a wave of attacks on Christians by Hindu radicals left nearly 120 people dead and tens of thousands displaced in Orissa state.

EFI General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Richard Howell said that the church in India "must first and foremost seek God's face" in the midst of "trying times."

The EFI is appealing for prayer to ensure that there will be no delays in setting up fast-track courts to deal with the huge number of complaints filed in the wake of the Orissa violence.

The state's Chief Minister, Navin Patnaik, had promised the Christian community there that fast-track courts would be set up to deal with their complaints but EFI said that, so far, no steps had been taken to put them into place.

Howell urged Christians to follow the exhortation of Jesus to his disciples in Gethsemane to pray that they would not fall into temptation.

"Will it be yet another year of thoughtful resolutions, a few gratifying triumphs, betrayed promises and fractured dreams? … Let 2009 be a year of praying for us. To pray is to listen and obey God," he said.

He added, "Pray for dialogue, reconciliation and peace."

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