Editor’s note: This excerpt from the regular, weekly prayer journal of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu gives a glimpse into what Chinese churches are praying for, and how they are exhorting themselves to follow Christ in the midst of difficulty.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
1. Pray for the pandemic in Chengdu and nationwide
Merciful Heavenly Father, we pray to you for the pandemic situation in Chengdu! First of all, we thank you that the spread of the pandemic is under control. Over the past two weeks, tens of millions of people in Chengdu have undergone nucleic acid tests. Thousands of people are still under centralized quarantine, and many more are under various restrictions. However, the pandemic did not continue to spread. You protected the lives of the people from the virus through the government, the hospitals, and the health system. You protected your people in this city. You also protected those who did not know you, and even those who resisted and persecuted your church. Lord, we give thanks to you for your grace and love!
Lord, for the sake of your people, please further prevent the spread of the plague in Chengdu, so that we may quickly resume in-person worship and fellowship, and that we may be free to preach the gospel of your grace to the people in this city.
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Lord, we also pray for other places in the country where the cases are multiplying, especially for Dalian in Liaoning, Heihe in Heilongjiang, Zhengzhou in Henan, Xinji in Hebei, Shangrao in Jiangxi, Dehong in Yunnan, etc. We pray that you would have mercy on the people in this generation, whose lives are already made difficult due to the very strict COVID-19 prevention and control policies. Lord, may you stop the spread of the virus in China. Lord, let the people of the land turn to the true hope in their despair; let the ears of many be opened to hear the call of your mercy, and let the hearts of many be turned away from idols, visible and invisible, and to the one true God.
2. Pray for Chinese house churches
Righteous Father in heaven, we come to you in repentance for the Chinese house churches’ reserved approaches and competition among ourselves in the midst of persecution for the purpose of self-preservation! Lord, you are holy, and you ask us to live out holiness in the world. Not only are we to live according to your holy law, but we are also “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.”
Lord, we need to repent before you. In many things we have not testified to your righteousness and have fallen short of your mercy. We did not pray for the people of Hong Kong, nor did we pray for the people of Xinjiang. We did not even pray for our brothers and sisters in bondage, which included our lack of prayers for our sister, Zhang Zhan, as she was dying. We dare not rebuke evil, nor do we have any good deeds to testify to the gospel. In this crooked and perverse age, all we hope for is to preserve ourselves.
Lord, may your holy and good Spirit rebuke us, and your gracious Spirit uphold us, so that we may be strong and courageous, and remain faithful in the midst of persecution. Let us not count the gains and losses of this life, but with the kingdom and the gospel of the last days in mind, bear witness and glorify your name!
3. Pray for Christian education
Almighty Father, we cry out to you for the dilemma we are facing with Christian education! Lord, we thank you that you have opened the eyes of tens of thousands of Christians to the nature of atheistic education. You have opened the eyes of numerous parents to see the picture of spiritual warfare, and you have stirred our hearts to bring our own children out of the devil’s lies.
Yet how should we walk this path? Lord, have mercy on us! In many places, churches either lack vision or lack resources, and Christian parents are not effectively supported. In addition, in many homeschooling places where church schools and Christian educational institutions exist, they are constantly being persecuted and besieged by the government. Lord, we pray for courage and wisdom to rely on your grace in every situation and always bring our children to you, no matter how difficult it is. We long for this so that we may equip them with knowledge that has been renewed by biblical truth and a biblical worldview, so that they may be of use to you in the future. May they become a new generation of well-trained soldiers, sent by the Lord to spread the gospel and revive the church in China.
4. Pray for Pastor Wang Yi, Elder Qin Defu, and Elder Zhang Chunlei
Gracious Father, we ask you to show grace to your servants who are suffering for the sake of Christ! Lord, it has been almost eight months since the arrest of your servant Elder Zhang Chunlei, and his lawyer has not been able to meet with him for three or four months. According to the indictment from the prosecutor’s office, the Guiyang Public Security Bureau believes that “Zhang Chunlei does not have the qualification of religious clergy issued by the Chinese government, but he gathers people in the name of religion without authorization and defrauds believers of about 100,000 yuan [about $15,700 USD] which constitutes the crime of fraud.”
O Lord, we pray for justice for your servant! You commanded us that “those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” If a preacher receiving a salary from the church constitutes fraud, then there are many preachers in China today who will be condemned along with him. We pray that the wiles of the Evil One will not succeed! If not, we pray that we will be able to bear the burden and glory that the Lord has given us by your grace.
We ask that the Lord will be with Pastor Wang Yi and Elder Defu every day. May the Lord give them the incomparable breadth and riches of the Holy Spirit in narrow places, the great light of your Word in dark places, and always grant them the hope that the Lord has won and that he will come again in the land of despair!
Lord, please help us and grant us double joy!
In the triumphant name of Jesus Christ, Amen!
Author bio, such as: [Author Name] is a pseudonym for a pastor serving urban Chinese house churches.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Join Chinese brothers and sisters in praying for the spread of COVID across the globe; in repenting for the church’s myopic behavior and feeble prayer life; in lifting up Christian families seeking to raise their children in the Lord; and in prayer for those who are in chains for the sake of the gospel.