Editor’s note: Believers around the world are preparing for the joyous celebration of Christ’s coming and birth. For some Chinese Christians, though, this is a season of uncertainty as well as joy. Although no one knows what the future holds, Elder Li recently shared with other believers a list of how he is practically and spiritually preparing himself and his family for what may be a difficult future. After seeing his list, a sister at Elder Li’s church shared that his wife recently bought a heavily padded cotton coat which she keeps on throughout the day, so that she will be prepared to face the cold temperatures of prison in case she is suddenly taken away.
Please join us in remembering those who must not only be prepared to explain what they believe, but to pay the price of their faith. Pray for them to have faith to willingly take up their cross and follow Christ.
A co-worker from our church asked me how to prepare for persecution within the family. In response, I wrote down a few items for the brother’s reference.
The first way to prepare for persecution is to pray with our wives in deep spiritual fellowship and unity.
These prayers are so that our wives know exactly what the spiritual essence of the persecution we are facing is, and how we can benefit spiritually from this persecution. We should prepare not only for our own arrest, but also for our wives to simultaneously lose their freedom.
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Second, prepare in advance for the daily necessities of life.
What about utilities and daily life at home? What will be done about our parents? What about children being forced to go to public schools? What if the children are sent to orphanages? What if the church is raided and there is no source of income? If your wife is arrested, how will she be cared for inside? If you are released after some time, how will the life of the family be organized?
Third, communicate with your parents in advance so they know what they may face and how to recognize it.
If strangers come and say how their son is doing, how will they discern [the validity of] the information? Make sure they know that it is an immense honor and no shame for their son to go to jail for his faith. Teach them to trust the church and to trust brothers and sisters, instead of trusting the authorities.
Fourth, prepare the children in advance.
Don’t just say comforting words, but tell the children the truth: why we are persecuted, how to face the scene of persecution [i.e. how to respond if the authorities come and mistreat their parents or other adults in front of them], and how to fully rely on the Lord in the absence of their parents. Even if both parents are arrested and they are sent to an orphanage, help them to believe that the Lord’s arrangement is always good. Pray often. Pray for your parents, pray for yourself, and ask the Lord to keep watching over you.
Fifth, if possible, leave some video, audio recordings, or letters for your family.
These can be very important comfort when you cannot see them. In this way, you will always be there to comfort them in the Lord and strengthen their faith.
Sixth, at 5 p.m. in China, pray together!
This is a very beautiful appointment. This time of prayer will be a great help spiritually to those who are inside as well as those who are outside of prison.
Seventh, trust the Lord for any remaining matters.
Elder Li Yingqiang is an elder of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu. He and his wife have two children.
After being arrested at the same time as Pastor Wang Yi in December of 2018, he spent about eight months in jail before being released.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Pray today for the families of Chinese believers who are imprisoned for their faith. Pray for their spouses, their parents, and their children to have means of support and to trust God in their distress. Pray for these families to experience the Lord’s tender care and gracious provision.