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. 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.
Brothers and Sisters,
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Would You Pray With Us Today?
There are days when I don’t pray or long for you to hold fast to the promise found in Philippians 1 – that God will hold fast to you. There are days when I long for you to flee to a country with religious freedom. There are days when I long for you to prize ultimately the presence of your family to avoid the confines of a jail cell.
This is where I often find my heart when I pray for my brothers and sisters in China. I want to hold fast to you. I want you to be preserved. I want you to be with your children as they grow up. I long for you to experience peace, comfort, and joy.
Jesus longs for more.
The ‘good work’ Paul has in mind as he writes to his brothers and sisters from the confines of a jail cell is their salvation. With chained hands, separated from his brothers and sisters, under the threat of death, Paul is bursting with confidence. “I am sure of this…”.
Paul’s desire for his brothers and sisters is rooted in the reality of how Jesus holds them fast:
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
There are days when I long for your comfort, brothers and sisters, over and above what Christ longs for you to experience now – being filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.
Righteousness. Existing, living, hoping as you were created to be. And this state only comes through Jesus Christ.
This is what Paul longs for his brothers and sisters to experience – to be! This is what our Savior longs for you to experience and be as well.
Jesus, thank you that your desire for your children is good. I praise you that the good you long for them to experience dwarfs what I long for them to experience. Where I’ll settle for safety, you willingly allowed yourself to be handed over to the authorities, to suffer infinitely, so that you could fill your children with a hope that does not disappoint, because your love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Jesus, thank you that you are the one who holds fast to us. Come, Lord Jesus, and give us hearts that yearn for more of you, more of what is eternal, and sustain us, we pray, until the day of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Michael Gregory is a church planter in the Los Angeles area.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Pray for Chinese Christians to have hearts that yearn, most of all, for more of Jesus.