Editor’s note: This year, China Partnership is praying for the church in China to hold fast. In the fall of 2022, we spoke with Chinese house church leaders and asked them how the global church can pray for and support them in 2023. They specifically asked that we pray that they would hold fast to Christ and to his promises in the midst of pressure, persecution, and uncertainty.
They also asked for encouragement. In 2023, we will be periodically publishing letters of encouragement to the church in China from the global church. This is the first of those letters. We hope these letters will remind Chinese Christians that they are not alone or forgotten, but that around the world, their brothers and sisters in Christ care and pray for them regularly. We invite you to join us as we labor in love and prayer for the church in China.
Dearest sisters and brothers,
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We your family at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn., USA, send our warmest greetings to you. In the past twenty years, your steadfastness to the gospel has been of humbling encouragement to us. With wonder at God’s power, we have watched the Spirit multiply churches into cities in your country. With tears, we have prayed for you who have suffered bitter persecution for faithful commitment to Jesus Christ. Despite physical abuse, detentions, and arrests, new believers are being added to your number daily.
Our hearts have been knitted to yours through many personal relationships, not the least of them being with Pastor John Qi and his family, who spent a sabbatical with us a few years ago. We have a dedicated mission prayer group at Second Presbyterian who pray for you weekly, especially for Pastor John. One of our elders prays daily for Pastor Wang Yi’s health, spiritual encouragement and release from prison. We also pray fervently for his family’s perseverance through their suffering.
Would You Pray With Us Today?
Praying for you has strengthened our resolve to follow Christ regardless of the cost. Your courage, endurance and joy through suffering regularly moves us to repent of preferring comfort to discipleship. When we remember your example, we are bold in sharing our faith. When we hear of your thanking Christ for the privilege of suffering for his name, we loosen our grip on worldly comforts. When we read about your worship even behind prison walls, we strain more to sing praises. And when we learn that you pray for us, we cry out, “How long, O Lord?!” until we can worship with you together some day in heaven.
Though we are not worthy to ask to follow our example, we humbly beseech you to hold fast to the Christ who holds you in the palm of his hand even as he is held in the Father’s hand by the infallible sealing power of the Holy Spirit. May the shield of God’s covenant faithfulness extinguish the devil’s fiery darts against you. May Christ your head assure you of his helmet of salvation guarding your minds. May his righteousness be your breastplate. May Christ your peace keep you peaceful in your walk. May you wield the sword of truth with power bringing many to faith in Christ and strengthening the faith of believers.
May our sovereign God remind you he knows the plans he has for you, to give you a hope and a future, to prosper you and not to harm you. May he who began a good work in you, complete it. May the one you have believed remind you he is able to keep what you have entrusted to him against that day. May the God of peace sanctify you through and through. May your spirit, soul and body be kept blameless until the coming of Christ Jesus. The one who has called you is faithful and he will do it!
Though our nations may be at odds, be assured we are your loyal fellow citizens of that city with foundations whose architect and builder is God. May his kingdom come and his will be done in every place on earth as it is heaven. His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen!
George Robertson is the senior pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Pray for Chinese Christians to walk with joy and peace as they hold fast to Christ and his promises this year.