India (MNN) — There are 919 million cell phones in India. That’s three times more cell phones than in the United States.
“Out in the most remote village, places where there’s not even modern toilets or running water or sanitation–things we take for granted here, they already have cell phones,” says Bill Bray with Christian Aid Mission.
Bray says Christians are now using “cell phones as a teaching tool, as a broadcasting tool, as an evangelistic tool in India. It’s a frontier for outreach and evangelism.”
Now, a cell phone ministry in Uttar Pradesh, the heart of Hindu northern India, has even led to church planting.
When Esther Dass started taking prayer requests through her cell phone, she had no idea the ripple effect that would come out of it.
It began with a few people calling in and asking for healing or prayer over a specific issue. But then Dass’s ministry started to spread through word-of-mouth. Soon, those calling in for prayer ranged from farmers to villagers and Muslims to Hindus.
After awhile, the work became overwhelming, so Dass recruited some other local women to join her. Together, they started a 24-hour prayer hotline called the Prayer on Phone Ministry.
“It started just in Uttar Pradesh, one state. Now they’ve gotten calls from five states: almost all Dalit peoples–low caste, outcast people, untouchables,” says Bray.
In the Uttar Pradesh district of Bareilly, there was a particular concentration of people calling in for prayer. According to Bray, “They contacted those people and arranged to come to their village and hold a five-day prayer conference.”
Around 30 families went to the prayer conference in Bareilly and listened to a speaker preach over five days on the theme of “Healing and Forgiveness.”
“This is a prayer conference mostly for Hindus, teaching them how to pray and, of course, they lead them to the Lord Jesus. As a result of that, a little church has formed in that village,” Bray states.
Recently, however, Dass and her Prayer on Phone Ministry ran into a road block. Dass says, “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.”
It costs around $400-$500 to put on one of these five-day prayer conferences in a village. You can donate to this prayer evangelistic outreach by clicking here and entering "650WCWT" for the donation code.