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How You Can Pray for Christians in South Asia

February 9, 2024 |  By Eric Vess

I recently sat down with a native missionary couple from South Asia to ask how American Christians could best pray for churches and Christians in South Asia.

Pray about false doctrine

Simon and Susana* agreed that the most difficult challenge in their region is the prevalence of false doctrine in many churches. Susana told me, “In our place at the present time, what is creeping up in the churches, bringing division, and taking people away from the faith is false doctrine. American believers should pray that [our believers] would not be swayed away [from the faith].”

Additionally, they shared with me that more and more Christians in South Asia have been able to travel to Israel and observe Orthodox Jewish worship practices. Some believers have returned convinced that their local churches should observe these Old Testament practices. Other churches see this happening and do the same without clear teaching on the relationship between Old Testament practices and their fulfillment in Christ. “Please pray,” Susana entreated, “that we stay strong in our faith.”

Pray about the influence of social media

According to Simon, social media can often have a detrimental effect on the church. A great deal of false doctrine is spread through videos on social media. Anyone can deliver a religious message without regard to biblical soundness. Many of these videos are also produced outside of South Asia without awareness of the local cultural context. This can lead local Christians in South Asia to confuse foreign cultural values with biblical truth.

Pray about challenges from the government

Another serious challenge to evangelism and church planting in South Asia is the growing, intrusive, and burdensome government surveillance of Christian activities. This far exceeds the necessary accountability requirements for non-profits here in the U.S. Government agencies in their region routinely examine the bank accounts, deposits, and withdrawals of Christian ministries. Simon and Susana must explain and justify every foreign donation and expenditure for their ministry to the government. Susana calls this the government’s “third eye.”

Simon and Susana are praying for new ways to become self-sustaining. Also, to rely less on highly scrutinized foreign funding. One proven means of moving toward sustainability is small business projects supporting a local pastor and contributing to the ministry. Their pilot project is a small chicken broiler shop. It provides income for a local believer, a payment toward the start-up costs, and a tithe to support his church. That’s a win-win-win for all involved.

Simon’s father founded the ministry that he and Susana now lead. Simon asserted strongly that the work of evangelization and church planting that his father was called to is still the same work today. “God has blessed us with [that legacy]!” ANM believes that native missionaries like Simon’s father, and now his son and Susana, know best how to communicate the Gospel and plant churches in their own culture and context.

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* Names have been changed for security purposes.