In 2006, Christianity Today labeled Nagaland as “the most Baptist state in the world.” Fifteen years later, The Christian Century made a similar claim by describing Nagaland as “proportionally the most Baptist territory in the world.”
Of course, there are many other denominations in Nagaland. As a Naga Baptist I have no sense of achievement or pride in quoting these renowned publications. Nagaland is also labelled as a “Disturbed Area” by the Government of India, which has imposed the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) within her boundaries.
If these claims mean anything at all, it shows the “Christian majority” needs to have more of an impact on the social, economic, political, and cultural life of Nagaland, with true biblical Christianity.
Pray for the Church in Nagaland
The first concern to pray for Nagaland is freedom from nominalism in the church.
A Christian from Hyderabad who now lives in Nagaland had this to say about Naga Christians: “When I became a Christian, I had to draw a clear boundary between what I can and cannot do as a follower of Christ.
I had to give up the past sinful behaviour and put on the new life in Christ. But sadly, I don’t see Christians in Nagaland drawing any such boundaries anywhere. They do what they feel like doing, and still claim to be Christians.”
The New Testament is always emphasising the importance of turning your beliefs into actions (2 Pet. 1:10). Jesus stressed the need for vibrancy and effectiveness in Christian life and witness. He sternly warned us about the cost of lukewarmness (Rev. 3:16).
Please pray that the church in Nagaland will wake up from this slumber of lukewarmness and experience a revival of the Word through good, effective, and Spirit-filled teaching of the Word. This is perhaps the only way to bring about reformation and transformation of society and church, in a place like Nagaland.
Pray that the church will be able to preach the gospel in its purity, simplicity, and power to the new and emerging generation of Nagas.
Pray for the Government of Nagaland
In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul gives instructions regarding prayer (1 Tim. 2:1-4). The first specific prayer concern on Paul’s list is for “kings and rulers.” In other words, the government and her leaders. This is a command.
Why is it important to pray for the government? It benefits everyone when there is a good and just government ruling over the people. Such governance provides peace and security to all. These rulers punish the unjust and honour the just (1 Pet. 2:14). A just government provides the conditions for the church to thrive and preach the gospel with greater freedom and effectiveness.
The book of Acts describes the situation of peace that the church experienced after Saul turned to Christ (Acts 9:31). It shows how the gospel spread effectively during that period of peace. Although the gospel can bear fruit during opposition (Phil. 1. 12-14), such peace and freedom in society is conducive for it, and for the growth of the church (1 Tim 2:4).
As Christians, God commands us to pray for the government so that it would serve all people and create a conducive environment for the spread of the gospel, because God desires every person to be saved. That is the argument Paul makes.
There is a place for protest and criticism. But if we have not prayed earnestly for the government, we have no right to criticise it.
Pray for the government of Nagaland so that she will serve the people in honesty and integrity. Ask the Lord to root out corruption and nepotism from the government. And pray that this “Christian majority” state will be a true and effective light for the gospel of Jesus.
If we look at the present scenario, this seems very difficult. But nothing is impossible with God if we pray. Thankfully, the church in Nagaland faces no persecution. But we have serious issues of lukewarmness in the church and corruption in the government. Please direct your prayers towards these serious concerns.
Pray For All the People in Nagaland
Paul also directs the church to pray for “all the people,” that we may live quiet and godly lives, in peace with dignity in every way (1 Tim 2:1). When there is political unrest, tribal conflict, and many armed militant factions competing for your allegiance and finances, there is no opportunity for people to live in peace and dignity.
Please pray that people will rise, despite these challenges, to live godly and dignified lives.
There are many people groups from neighbouring states and even countries (both legal and illegal migrants) who have come seeking a means of livelihood. Please pray that they will encounter the risen Christ while in Nagaland.
Halfway through writing, I attended a prayer meeting with a few church leaders from some remote parts of the state. Their prayer requests were simple and pertinent: “Please pray for the right amount of rain so that the crops will not fail and the villagers will not suffer.”
This is a serious request, because 73% of the population depend on farming. If the crops fail or the animals die, they cannot pay their children’s school fees.
Finally, since this is an appeal for prayer, I may have mentioned some rather unpleasant things about Nagaland. But be assured that its hills are enchanting and its people are friendly and hospitable. I hope you will pray for us. But even better, I hope you will visit Nagaland and pray with us.