A pastor in India who was brutally beaten by a group of Hindu extremists because he was leading many Hindu people to Christianity has shared how one powerful prayer subdued his persecutors.
Biswas, the pastor of a church in northern India, shared with persecution watchdog Open Doors how a group of ten Hindu extremists from a local temple arrived at his door one day, shouting his name.
"When I got there I saw ten men waiting for me. I knew that all of them were Hindu extremists from my city," he recalled. "They pointed a revolver at my head, and then, without any warning, they started kicking and punching me. They kept shouting abuse, blaming me for tricking people and luring them to change their religion to Christianity."
"I suddenly heard one of them say loudly 'We killed your mentor one year ago, now it's your turn,'" he continued. "This reminded me quickly at that time about one of the senior pastors in my area who had been murdered one year ago by unknown assailants; he had been the one who had also led me to Christ. They were referring to him as my mentor. I knew now that these men were the ones who had killed him, and they were acknowledging it with boldness. I was shivering with fear."
Biswas said he asked God, "Is it my turn after all because I am sharing your Gospel, will they kill me too?"
But in his mental and physical agony, Biswas realized he could also pray for deliverance: "I then prayed in my heart, 'God who saved Daniel in the den of the lions, save me.'"
What happened next was a "miracle," the pastor said: "Just after I had said the prayer in my heart, one of the attackers told the others to stop and said let's just make him pay a huge fine. The God who saved Daniel from the lion's den saved me from being killed that day."
Eventually, the Hindu extremists allowed Biswas to go in exchange for a hefty fine worth eight months' of his salary, which he was supposed to provide them the very next day. He arranged the money from a local money lender immediately on a very high interest rate as he had no savings.
Amid this financial crisis, Open Doors stepped in, providing the pastor with the finances he needed.
"I am so grateful. I will never forget what Open Doors has done for me through its partners. Please convey my thankfulness to all those who have supported me," he said.
The persecution watchdog urges Christians in the international community to pray for Biswas and his family as they continue to face abuse at the hands of Hindu extremists.
"Keep praying for us," Biswas' wife said. "We need more strength. We know we are being monitored and our lives are constantly under threat. But we want to continue with our ministry; however, we are worried about our children."
Christians have experienced severe persecution in several Indian states this year, which has resulted in pastors being beaten and churches being destroyed. Often, the abuse is carried out at the hands of Hindu extremists.
In recent months, a number of worship services have been interrupted and church buildings being taken over and converted for other purposes. Hindu hardliners have often accused believers of forcefully converting villagers to the Christian faith.
Morning Star News reports that in November, at least three Christian families converted back to a tribal religion in Jharkhand state, India, after Hindu extremists destroyed their homes, leaving them in fear of losing their land and resources.
In July, Pastor Srinivas Sapa told persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern that Hindu radicals in the village of Sangameshwar, north of Hyderabad, destroyed the only church building there.
"All that the Hindu radicals want is for Sangameshwar to be a 'Christian-free' village," Sapa said.
"Of all the 50 odd Christians who are native to Sangameshwar, most were born in the village and are now panicked over the situation," he added.