How I Prayed: Hold Fast to Weakness

Hold Fast to Weakness

When I am weak, then I am strong.”
That’s not the way the world works. My kids are playing baseball these days, and even for 7-year-olds, it’s clear: the most valued players are not the ones who aren’t sure which way to run around the base path; the most valued players are those everyone knows might knock it out of the park at any moment.

But God’s kingdom is different. It’s hard for us to believe this, because we tend to think the hard workers and the talented are the one God is pleased with. But no. God values the weak, the ones who are about to fall apart. His ways are totally different than ours.

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“This month I am praying for Chinese believers to remember and believe and even experience that their afflictions are God’s riches being poured out upon them.

This April, we have been praying for Chinese Christians to “hold fast to weakness.” We are praying this because these Christians themselves said they want to “learn to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit in the face of our weaknesses, and begin to ‘boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses.’” These believers want to learn to rely on Christ’s strength as they walk through the wilderness. They are following in the footsteps of believers across time and geography. Four hundred years ago, English poet John Donne wrote, “Affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.” So, this month I am praying for Chinese believers to remember and believe and even experience that their afflictions are God’s riches being poured out upon them.

Our Weakness Provides Opportunities for God’s Glory

There were many articles this month that helped me better remember the heavenly treasure of affliction and tribulation. Among them was a Chinese pastor who urged his congregation to remember that no earthly home can give them what they are really looking for. He wrote: “Perhaps the Bible is right. Perhaps we really do have nothing to cling to on earth except for our home in heaven. If we believe any country, any land, or any earthly political system is the salvation that will save us from the entanglement and harm of sin, then we are believing a lie.”

This Shanghai pastor was writing to people, among whom were many considering emigration to other countries. He reminded them that emigration is not an issue of sin, but of wisdom, and asked them to think carefully about what they are truly looking for when they consider moving.


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As I tell myself to remember that God’s grace is sufficient in weakness, a series on the history of the modern Chinese house church drove that point home. Li Yingqiang, an elder at Early Rain Covenant Church, clearly showed how God’s grace has always been sufficient, even in times of great weakness, tribulation, and persecution. From the early years of the house church after the Communist Party took power, to the great revival and awakening of China in the 1990s and early 2000s, to more recent difficulties believers have faced under the twin trials of pressure and prosperity: God has always been faithful and gracious to his people in China. He has not forgotten Chinese Christians, and he has used their times of weakness to make it clear that only he could grow and revive and build his church. Human efforts are vain; but God’s ways are proved perfect in weakness. That has always been the case, and I am confident it will continue to prove true today and in the future.

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“God has always been faithful and gracious to his people in China. He has not forgotten Chinese Christians, and he has used their times of weakness to make it clear that only he could grow and revive and build his church.

Finally, I am praying God’s grace will be daily sufficiency for those who are fully aware of their present weakness. I thought especially of Christians who are currently suffering for their faith. This couple, who are separated now because of the husband’s imprisonment, have been particularly near the forefront of my mind. God’s grace is sufficient, even in jail, and even for those who cannot see their loved ones.

The Bible is clear that our own human weaknesses only provide opportunity for God’s glory to shine through. I am praying that Chinese believers will have the supernatural strength and grace to rejoice and give thanks in all of their weaknesses. God has not put Chinese Christians in a hard spot or a difficult time because they failed some test. He has them in this season because he wants to use their difficulties to show his own greatness and goodness. We have only to look at the history of the Chinese house church to see this, and we know this will again prove true. God is working in China in ways we cannot expect or predict, but he himself will prove more wonderful and loving than we could ever imagine.


E.F. Gregory is a mom of three. She lives in the San Gabriel Valley on the border of East Los Angeles, where her husband is a P.C.A. church planter. 

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for Chinese Christians to rejoice and give thanks in their weaknesses.

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

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.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  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

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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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