Indian Christians unite to pray for country

December 5, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Indian Christians unite to pray for countryNew Delhi, December 02, 2013: Relying on the power of prayer to cure the country of its social and political ills, all the Churches came under one umbrella and stormed the heavens with praise and worship.

The first-ever ecumenical ‘United Christian Prayer for India’ witnessed simultaneous mass prayers held at over 1,000 venues, including all state capitals, important districts of the country.

More than 10,000 faithful from Delhi and neighboring states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, assembled at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi for the historic occasion.

Welcoming the gathering, Archbishop Emeritus Vincent Michael Concessao, president of the National Organizing Committee, said that “our nation is passing through a crucial juncture and in desperate need of our prayers”.

With the country battling social, political, economic and moral crisis, it was incumbent upon the community to indulge in a sustained effort of prayer to tide over the problems, he said.

During the five–hour program, 10 different Churches prayed for 30 minutes apiece. Each prayer capsule comprised thematic prayers, scripture reading, hymns and skits highlighting social evils.

Reverend Samson Nath of the Methodist Church, said, “We need to learn how to become a people of prayer. Only then will God hear us and heal our land.”

Quoting The Holy Bible, he said it is written, “If we would humble ourselves, pray … seek God’s grace and turn from our wicked ways, then He would hear our prayer, forgive our sin and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7)”

Prayers were offered for the Constitution of India, its three pillars – legislature, executive, judiciary, including the president, prime minister, various political parties, the media and the Church in India.

Prayers were also offered for various issues, including social and economic, for national reconciliation, for youth, women and children and the poor and destitute.

Young Advocate Febin Mathew, who belongs to The St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India and a Christian legal organization, was impressed by the prayers for the judiciary.

He said “justice is a casualty in Indian courts. Only the rich who can afford senior lawyers get justice while the poor find it difficult toget justice.”

The Catholic Church set the ball rolling with the first prayer capsule which included prayers for national reconciliation, the Constitution and Constitutional heads, scripture reading and a cultural dance.

The historic Ramlila Maidan reverberated to the strains of hymns like “Mukti Dilaye Yeshu Naam, Shanti dilaye Yeshu Nam (Let Jesus’s name bring salvation, Let Jesus’s name bring peace); “Pray for India, pray for India,” “Tera India, Mera India, Apna India (your India, my India, our India), by a 100-strong inter-denominational choir.

The Methodist Church, Syro Malabar Church, Church of North India, the North-East Churches and Protestant were some of the other Churches that took part.

After the prayers by the different churches, Archbishop Concessao gave blessed the gathering.

The whole program was designed in keeping with Jesus’ teaching that “where two or three are gathered in my name I am there,” said Fr. Dominic Emmanuel, a Catholic priest and spokesperson of the Delhi Archdiocese.

Prayers for the nation are said every Sunday in particular but this is for the first time that all Churches have come out in a public place for the purpose, he added.

“We choose to stop putting the blame on others, and examine our own hearts and lives. We choose to acknowledge our own sin, neglect, defiance and even rejection of God. This day we choose to repent,” he said.

Commenting on this massive show of unity, an elated octogenarian Lucy John exclaimed, “This is unprecedented. Never did I imagine I would ever get to see the Churches unite like this on one platform in my lifetime.”

Nisha Samuel, a member of CNI Church and member Public Grievances Commission of Delhi Government, said “This is a good message we are sending down to the next generation. We should not remain in isolation, united we can weather many a storm.”Summing up the proceedings, Dr Hepesh Shepherd, Secretary and Treasurer of Baptist Church Trust Association, said that the program materialized after a year of planning. All the Churches were happy with the concept.“We have collaborated to take the mission of service forward – On one platform with one voice to the One God whom we serve,” he added.

– matters india

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