Mobile Phone Outreach: Indians Launch Prayer Hotline
May 15, 2012
Lucknow, India - Indigenous missionaries in this huge North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have opened a prayer hotline for poor, rural farmers. Called the “Prayer on Phone Ministry” by local leaders, it has proven wildly successful. People are already dialing in from several states, say the missionaries who are assisted by Christian Aid Mission of Charlottesville, Virginia. India has 919 million mobile phones, almost three times more than all the cell phones in the United States!
Prayer Hotline Follow-up Meeting with Dalit Believers
The new call-in phone ministry has the potential for being a powerful evangelistic and church planting method in a state where Christians make up less than 1% of the population. If it were independent, UP would be the fifth most populous country in the world.
Although desperately poor, like nearby states of Bihar and Uttarakhand, mobile telephone technology is already a fixed part of everyday village life in UP.
Both believers and non-Christians are calling in for prayer, seeking God’s intervention in their lives for healing, family problems and emergencies. Uttar Pradesh is located in the strategic heartland of the Ganges River Valley. It is 81% Hindu and desperately poor and undeveloped – yet cell phones are found everywhere, even where electricity is almost non-existent. In fact, there are more cell phones than toilets in India – and this phenomenal introduction of technology has all occurred since 1994, when Nokia introduced the first mobile phone in the Ganges port city of Kolkata.
Sister Esther Dass, who organized the phone outreach, says that her mission team has already organized the first of what she hopes will be many “Five Day Prayer Meetings” to reach the new friends and contacts that have come from the phone outreach ministry.
She says the first “prayer crusade” attracted 20-30 Dalit families that praised the Lord and listened eagerly as the evangelist preached for five days on the theme, “Healing and Forgiveness” from Psalm 103:3.
"Keep praying for the financial needs of our ministry," she says, "so that we can organize these types of meetings on a regular basis throughout the country in order to spread the gospel and win souls for the kingdom of heaven."
“Prayer hotline users from various other states have called us asking for us to organize Five Day Prayer Meetings in their villages, but we aren’t able to organize them due to financial shortages,” says Dass.
Hotline Prayer Circle in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India
India’s mobile phone companies boast that by using Smart Phone technology they are already delivering online digital, radio and television to millions of homes – and they are talking about 100% penetration of the Indian market with cell phone technology. They boast that every home will have a cell phone, even before it has plumbing! For millions of illiterate Indians this means that indigenous missions will be able to provide gospel radio, online Bible schools by Internet, and native evangelists preaching and teaching in their own languages.
"This is why," said a spokesperson for Christian Aid Mission,"we need to help sponsor more indigenous missions which will be able to follow-up with disciple-making and church planting. Technology may be able to soon reach every village in India, but live indigenous missionaries are still needed to gather the new believers into local churches, as the Bible demands."
The South Asia Director for Christian Aid Mission, who was born and raised in nearby Nepal, says she knows some people in the Western countries “don’t believe that God still answers prayer for healing – but it is happening on the phones in India. The Lord is honoring the faith of people in rural areas whose only link with the outside world is their mobile phones.
"It is urgent and wise for us to help support this use of technology. Without it, millions will probably never hear the gospel."