Interview with a Linfen Pastor: “Prayer is Essentially Submission to God”


Editor’s note: Over the past year we have been praying for the Chinese church in a new city each month – providing videos, interviews, and prayer requests directly from the churches with whom we work. We hope this helps you better understand the needs of the Chinese church and commit more fervently to stand in prayer with our brothers and sisters.    

This month we continue the project with Linfen. We’re excited to bring you this interview with a Chinese pastor in the city! We hope you will check out the Linfen page for additional content and to sign up to partner with us in prayer

CP: Can you tell us about churches in Shanxi? 

Pastor: I am from Linfen, Shanxi. Our church is in an area called Huozhou. Huozhou’s population is about 300,000. Because of urbanization that began in 2015, we have lost large numbers of people. That is why in 2016 we started planning for new church plants in other cities of Shanxi. Since then we have focused much of our energy on these new churches. 

The church in Shanxi was earliest established by missionaries from China Inland Mission and Pastor Li Qiushan, who set up churches in Linfen in areas around Tie Fo Si. Pastor Xi Shengmo might have been the first person who came to faith in Shanxi. He was very famous, and he founded many churches as well as rehabilitation centers for alcoholics in the area. Our church is influenced by these traditions. 

Never miss a story

Sign up to receive our weekly email with our original articles.

We do not have the office of “pastor” at the moment. Pastor Li Qiushan was largely from the Methodist tradition; however, churches in Shanxi experienced a period of disruption due to the beginning of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement in 1951 and later the Cultural Revolution, during which there were no sacred offices being set up. Later, influenced by the two traditions of Christian Assembly and Jesus Family, the church would have no clergy; members are all brethren with one another. Our church began to follow the Reformed tradition since 2010, and we only began to advocate reformed theology and a Presbyterian polity in 2012. We are a fairly big church with mostly older women, and so it has been a very slow process for us in terms of setting up ordained ministry positions. This is why we still do not have a pastoral staff or church membership. 

CP: You have mentioned the planting of new churches and adopting a new theological tradition for your church. These are huge changes. What role has prayer played for you and your church in coming to these decisions?

Pastor: I believe that prayer is essentially submission to God. It is a kind of surrender. We love our city very much and we understand some of its real concerns. We also understand churches from our own tradition. Our vision has really come from knowing what God says in the Bible and recognizing our circumstances, and then submitting ourselves to him in obedience through prayer. It is not that we have been given any unmistakable vision or guidance. Rather, it is our city’s real need for the gospel that has brought about or guided us into such a transition.  

CP: What does prayer look like in your church then? How do you pray together? 

Pastor: Even though we are moving toward Reformed theology, prayer has always been an integral part of our church tradition. 

We have prayed in many different ways. We do prayer walks, we pray around the city, and we do Trinitarian prayers. We intentionally gather together to pray for a whole day. We also have all-night and evening prayers. There are many forms of prayer. 

The themes of our prayers have also changed over the years. In the past we focused on praying for the problems of our own small town: the growth and future of our church, the suffering and difficulty of our brothers and sisters, etc. Our focus was on these things. And then we went through some changes and we have learned to pray kingdom-centered prayers. 

Everywhere we go, whether it is a workplace or a school, whenever we visit a new place, we would pray for the unit and the workers there according to what we observe. That changes us from not being very willing to pray for certain public departments in the past to loving them, caring about them, and praying for God’s grace and mercy to come in their midst. These are some ways we have changed.

CP: How important is prayer to the church in China? 

Pastor: I believe that the power for all ministries comes from prayer. The Bible is God’s Word; it guides us in giving and showing us a vision, a blueprint, and God’s will. Prayer, on the other hand, is our vertical relationship with God. Without this relationship with God, all of our ministries will likely fail. This is why we say that Word and prayer are foundational to all the ministries of our church. These are two means of grace. We believe prayer is extremely important to the church in China. Perhaps Chinese churches need to set up more prayer groups in support of them, and perhaps they need to have clearer prayer topics. And churches need to pray not only regional prayers but more broadly for the whole nation. This is what I think.  

CP: You know there are churches in the US praying for the church in China. How do you feel when you hear that? 

Pastor: It makes me picture myself in a Sunday service, where all of the angels, and all of the saints past and present, and all of the churches around the world come before the throne of God like in the book of Revelation. 

CP: Do you have a memorable story to share of how you have experienced God in prayer? 

Pastor: There have been many such experiences. Our church tradition tends to highlight spiritual and emotional experience, and we often connect prayer to things that happen in real life. For example, once during discipleship training we were inside a large mountain where there was a reservoir. A group of us was there and we were raising our hands to pray for the city. Meanwhile, there was a kid who (he was a little mischievous), on his way up the mountain, slipped and was falling downhill. It was at that moment that we heard a noise while praying, and as soon as I heard it I instinctively stretched out my hand and grabbed. And I thought as I grabbed hold of him, “This is how Christ saves us. We should also pray that we would lead people to him and his church. This is the mission that God has given to me.” 

CP: Praise God. Thank you for your time. 

Share This Story

Further Reading

Nanjing: Loving People Through Prayer
Read More
Nanjing: Love Under Pressure
Read More
Why Should I Love My Enemies?: Give Up Revenge, Love Enemies
Read More


With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.


  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church



About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.


Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.


Stories from Qingdao

About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.


Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.


Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.


Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.


Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.


Stories from Guangzhou

About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.


Stories from Kunming

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.


Stories from Shenzhen

About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 


Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.


Stories from Beijing

About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.


Stories from Shanghai


A short message about partnering with us.