Praying for Hong Kong: A Profile of Hong Kong


Editor’s note: Alex McCoy joined St. Andrew’s Church in January 2010 as its Senior Minister. Originally from the U.S., he lived for a time in Jakarta, but has spent most of his life in Sydney. Alex is married to Megan and they have three boys.

Hong Kong has been through a tough year, probably its toughest in the last 75 years. Yet amidst the city’s current mood of gloom and uncertainty, there are opportunities to speak of the better hope we have in Christ.

The city’s recent struggles have been well documented, but require a brief recap. Large scale demonstrations in response to the proposed extradition law were followed by months of escalating protests, uncovering deep divisions within the city and diminished trust towards the government and police. As the tension abated, COVID-19 arrived. Like many places around the world, Hong Kong applied strong restrictions. Schools were suspended and group gatherings (including for churches) were prohibited for four months. Currently, Hong Kong is experiencing a third wave of infections with accompanying strict restrictions. A normally vibrant economy has been battered by the effects of protest, pandemic, and trade war.

More recently, tension has surrounded the introduction of the national security law by the Central Authorities. Whilst providing for national security is a legitimate concern, the imposition of the law without due process and consultation with the people of Hong Kong has caused apprehension and called into question the “one country two systems” framework of autonomy Hong Kong was promised under the Basic Law. Further questions exist over how the new law will be implemented.

In some respects, people are triaging their anxieties. Of more immediate concern is COVID-19. Can we stay safe? How long will the restrictions last? When will travel resume? How long will the economy suffer? The more distant but deeper anxiety is the future of the city. How much of the Basic Law will be eroded before it is due to expire? What freedoms will be taken away that were previously enjoyed? Increasingly, people have spoken about whether they will leave Hong Kong.

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These anxieties are manifest in different ways. The protests showed the incredible polarization in the city. There is a failure of discourse. Normally, tensions are eased when opposing parties take the time to listen to the other viewpoint. Empathy is encouraged when you can slow the pace, cool the rhetoric, and describe your opponent’s viewpoint in the best possible light. However, during the protests, this careful and measured discourse was in short supply. Worryingly, this polarization exists even amongst Christians. Some churches have taken official and active stances on either side of the political spectrum. Moreover, with the introduction of the National Security Law, people are afraid to discourse at all.

With these challenges and anxieties in Hong Kong come opportunities for the gospel, to tell the better story of our King. 

One of the fascinating things I didn’t know about COVID-19 is that it has crown-like spikes on the surface of the cell (that’s why it’s a coronavirus). COVID wears a crown. It’s a wannabe king. It has the power to make people fear it, to have it rule over their lives. However, we Christians have a far greater King. The only true God, who reigns over all the earth. Over every country, every person, and every cell. We can take our worries and concerns about the future to our gracious Savior and King, who knows us intimately and provides for us perfectly.

As we share about Jesus, we seek to become a non-anxious presence. We have this calm engagement with the communities around us. We don’t get worried or outraged if we don’t win the political battles, because we know we’ve got a better kingdom to come. We don’t get upset if people misrepresent us or shout us down, because in Jesus, we have all the affirmation we need.

We also get intimately involved in the lives of people around us. COVID-19 forces social distancing and easily puts people in siege mentality, unwilling to connect or engage with those around them. We’ve used a saying in our church community: “Social distancing doesn’t mean social disconnection.” This is not simply through showing practical care and support to one another. It’s being intentional in sharing Christ to those whom God puts in our lives. We’ve been delighted at the response to our online services and the opportunities to reach people who otherwise don’t normally come to church. This has spilled over into online evangelistic courses.

Prayer Points

  • “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lam. 3:22-26) During these times of trial and anxiety, we can give thanks that God is enough. His compassions never fail and he is always faithful. Pray that we would put our hope in God and wait for him.

  • Pray for Christians in Hong Kong to give expression to the unity that we have in Christ, to be active in listening, quick to extend grace and forgiveness, and joyful in fellowship. Pray that we would be a non-anxious presence, sharing the hope that we have in Christ, and that many people would turn to Jesus as Savior.

  • Pray for peace, stability, and justice in Hong Kong after the passing of the National Security Law. In this climate of uncertainty over the future, pray for clarity and fairness over the implementation of this law. Pray that people will not be given over to either despair or division but would work for the building of a safe and prosperous city, where the rights of all are respected. Pray that that people might seek shelter and comfort in the Lord God, who rules all and sees all.

  • Pray for the city amidst the recent escalation of COVID-19 infections and the return of increased in restrictions. Pray for recovery for the afflicted and for protection and safety for those caring for the sick. Pray that we would not be overly frustrated or exasperated by these circumstances; that we would persevere and be patient in these trials.

  • Pray for the material and financial provision of those who have been deeply affected by the slowdown in the economy due to the coronavirus. Pray especially for the poor, the homeless, and the marginalized, and those who care for them.


How does having faith in “a better kingdom to come” change the way we think about, pray for, and live within our current reality?

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Further Reading

Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
Read More
Nanjing: A Welcoming City of Newcomers
Read More
Nanjing: A Relational Gospel
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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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. 


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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.


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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.


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