India (MNN) — Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List was released yesterday with some surprising changes. The World Watch List ranks the 50 countries with the worst persecution of Christians. India held 10th place since 2019. But for the first time in four years, India moved back down to 11th place, and was replaced by Sudan.

Erik* with Mission India puts this in perspective: “As we look at that movement down from 10 to 11, we celebrate that there’s been progress. But again, we’re also very realistic with what that actually means — being number 11 is still not great.

“So as we look forward to 2023 and 2024, our prayer is that the nation of India would soften its stance and its heart towards the Gospel, and that’s done through God working through our partners and sharing the grace and love of Jesus with many more people.”

(Photo courtesy of Mission India)

Increasing numbers of states in India are implementing anti-conversion laws and accusing Christians who share their faith with others of illegally proselytizing. Christians in certain Indian communities are ostracized, harassed, and even attacked or killed.

“It looks different all over the country of India,” Erik says. “Persecution has many different forms and ways in which it can be deployed. So as we talk to our partners there in India, they still experience that in many different ways. That brings great sorrow and frustration.”

Yet, we also see persecution is often the crucible in which the Church grows and strengthens. Mission India sees this as they partner with Indian believers for Church Planter Training.

Erik shares, “Someone persecuted one of our partners to the point of death. Another one of our partners visited that individual in jail consistently. That persecutor has now received Jesus because of the relentless testimony and faith of our partner, despite what that individual did, to continue to go after them in the name of Jesus, because that’s what Jesus is. He’s a redeemer.”

Please pray boldly for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters in India — for spiritual renewal, wisdom, and the courage to give witness to the beauty of life with Jesus.

“At Mission India, we believe prayer is the first work of missions,” Erik says. “We have since inception and we still do to this day, because prayer brings about change in people’s lives. If readers and listeners want to go to, they can find different ways to join us in praying for the nation of India.”

church, prayer

(Photo courtesy of Mission India)

You can also directly support a church planter in India by giving to Mission India here!

Erik says, “As they’re emboldened and encouraged by all those things, they are even more adamant to continue to share the Gospel and plant churches all over the nation of India.”


*Last name omitted for security.