Editor’s Note: Sister He Kewang and some believers in her church participated in a recent, intensive prayer training for believers across China. She shares here about that experience, as well as how prayer has sustained, changed, and directed her throughout her Christian life.
China Partnership: In your Christian experience, how have you thought about or experienced prayer?
Sister He Kewang: I was very blessed that I came to faith while I was a student in the United States in 2003. I was discipled immediately after I came to faith, and started praying to God very quickly. In 2004, while I was trying to decide whether to return to China or stay in the United States, I asked God about this. I told him that I knew the need for the gospel in my country, and I wanted to return to preach the gospel. But I was a new believer and wanted to be equipped in the church in the United States before returning. God reminded me through Ecclesiastes 11:4 that, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” No one waits until conditions are perfect to serve God. Then I understood God’s heart, and returned to my country to preach the gospel and plant a church.
CP: How has prayer been a part of your personal life as a believer? How has it been a part of your corporate church life?
Sister He: Since I returned to China less than a year after my conversion, and planted a church in less than two years, there were no spiritual elders around to lead me. But there was a sister in the U.S. who walked with me after my return. She prayed with me on the phone, once a week, for about two to three years. I was very naive spiritually when I first started the church, but God kept bringing people to the church. I knew the difficulty of pastoral care, so I had to do my devotions and prayers first thing in the morning to draw strength from God.
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CP: Did the prayer camp change your attitude toward the power and importance of prayer? If so, how was it a change?
Sister He: Because we started studying kingdom prayer six years ago, the dimension of prayer was expanded back then. Since we began to study kingdom prayer, prayer is no longer dry. This has made my prayer life more lively and powerful.
CP: What prompted your interest in attending a prayer camp?
Sister He: The prayer life of brothers and sisters in the church is very lacking and they rarely experience the beauty of prayer. I want to use this prayer camp to teach brothers and sisters to truly love prayer.
CP: Tell me about your experience during the intensive training camp.
Sister He: Nearly ten people from our church attended the training over three days, and we split into two groups for outdoor prayer walks. As our group prayed for our city in southeastern China, we continued to see signs of God’s grace in the city over the last 200 years. One thing we especially noticed was a 150-year-old hospital that was established by missionaries. Several brothers and sisters work in that hospital, and we prayed for them.
At that time, we were just thankful, but not long after, we heard that some of those brothers and sisters had been approached by leaders for questioning. We also heard that they were beginning to experience persecution for their faith. We are not sure if it was directly related to our prayer on that day, but we saw that, through the faithful testimonies of these brothers and sisters, God began to make his good name known in that hospital and throughout the whole healthcare system.
CP: I saw pictures of people going out and praying in the streets, praying with and for strangers during the prayer training camp. Can you tell me what that experience was like? Was it scary at first?
Sister He: My church started to learn about kingdom prayer six years ago. I remember the first time the pastor who was training us in this type of us prayer took us to walk the streets and pray for the city: we were not afraid, but excited. When we really prayed for our city, our internal love for the city grew stronger. Since then, the church has been circling the city with prayer almost once a month. Now that we are facing a major outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, many churches have begun a daily prayer vigil for our city at 9 o’clock every evening.
CP: Have you had any memorable experiences through prayer? Tell me about those.
Sister He: There were several! There was one very miraculous experience. When I was called to prepare for church planting 15 years ago, I fasted and prayed for that calling. One day I came home from outside and found heavy smoke rising from my house, but there was no fire. I rushed into the house and found smoke coming out of my bedroom. I looked carefully, and saw that the hair dryer on the dresser was blowing on the mirror. I had no idea how long it had been blowing, but the mirror was melted. There was heavy smoke, but no fire. There was a Bible next to the mirror, and although the cover had been burned, none of the pages were damaged.
I also had an experience of being lovingly disciplined by God. In 2007, I was reading Ephesians 4. That passage says, “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work.” Through that passage, God reminded of how, in 1993, I had unlawfully taken a sum of money from a client. God wonderfully arranged for me to meet with this client—with whom I had not been in touch for years—so that I could apologize, return the money, put an end to the matter, and cleanse my conscience.
There are many more experiences also…
CP: If you could give other Chinese Christian friends a message about prayer, what would you say?
Sister He: I would say two things. First, prayer is the most incredible thing in this world. It is amazing that the king of kings would be willing to hear the cry of such a small person like me. And secondly, there is no one in greater debt to God and to their neighbors than a Christian who does not pray.
He Kewang is a pseudonym for a ministry leader in southeast China who has a heart for prayer.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
-Pray that, through prayer, the Chinese church will grow in love for their cities, their nation, and the world.
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