As you may know, Pakistan is on the northwest border of India. It’s a relatively young country. Created in 1947 as a separate country from it’s motherland of India, it was to serve as a home specifically for Indian Muslims. Pakistan even means land of the pure, in a religious sense. However, the founder of the country, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, did provide freedom for minority faiths to prosper openly. That said, if you’re a Pakistani Christian today, you can bet on persecution.
Pray For Christians In Pakistan
Because of the far reach of British colonialism in India, and with it, the import of Christianity, there is a historic sting that, while not deserved in most cases, is understandable to some degree. But, Christianity in India is much older than Britain. The Apostle Thomas journeyed the southern part in 52 AD and is still venerated with followers who call themselves Saint Thomas Christians in Kerala on the Malabar Coast. Today, there are about 30 million Christians in India, which is only 2.5 percent of the population. In Pakistan, there are about 3.9 million Christians, representing a 3 percent total.
While Pakistani Christians worship openly, they face ongoing persecution and death. Here’s a rundown of recent of the persecutions, as noted on Wikipedia, citing several sources:
- In 2009 a series of attacks killed eight Christians in Gojra including four women and a child.
- In 2013, a suicide bombing at a Church in Peshawar left more than 100 people dead.
- A series of attacks at churches in Lahore in 2015 left 14 dead.
- On March 27, 2016 over seventy people were killed when a suicide bomber targeting Christians celebrating Easter attacked a playground in Lahore.
There are many stories of Christians in Pakistan being taken by the government or rogue groups and killed for their beliefs. In an interview that Open Doors recently conducted with Hannah, a Pakistani Christian, she said, “I have seen children who were very little taken away from their parents and relocated. I have seen young people accused of blasphemy that they have not committed. I have seen people put in prison and people who the law would like to forget about like Asia Bibi whose currently in prison since 2009.”
Hannah sees Pakistan as a place that could build on its cultural legacy but it continues to be, “pulled back and pulled towards a legacy of destruction and death.”
Because those who follow Jesus in Pakistan are more and more vulnerable to attacks all around them, the church is in a state that is shared by many countries where Christians face the threat of persecution or outright intolerance. There is the church that is visible and allowed to work within communities and an invisible movement of people who pray behind the scenes. Here, in the deadness of Islam, God moves through dreams and visions. Hannah is not alone in reporting that Jesus appears in a vision to individuals across Pakistan, inviting them, as he did with Paul and Cornelius and others, to believe and follow him as Lord and Savior.
The stories of Jesus working in Pakistan directly and through the people who call him Lord, remind me of Don Moen’s song of 1990 that says, “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way, he works in ways we cannot see…” In a country where it’s a crime to give away a Bible, we need to pray together with the local Christians in Pakistan that they would continue to exhibit strength and courage. Let us pray for continued guidance too because they are the examples for many Muslims. What they do in times of persecution and hardship can be a strong motivation for onlookers to discover Jesus.
Though the following link is related to the Egyptian bombings that recently occurred, it helps demonstrate that our lives are altogether examples of the love of Christ if we live in that love and radiate it. Click here to watch this astounding news report.