How I Prayed For Evangelism

Seek the lost. Love neighbors. Preach the gospel.

No matter if times are easy or hard, Christians are to continue doing these things. There is no reprieve from the call to follow Christ and share him with those around us. This month, we prayed for Chinese believers to persevere in evangelism. We are praying this because Chinese pastors have shared specific concerns that their churches have become too inward-facing. Even though persecution has increased in recent years, the church is still called to persevere in sharing the good news with the world.

We prayed for Chinese believers to persevere in evangelism. We are praying this because Chinese pastors have shared specific concerns that their churches have become too inward-facing.

In Season and Out

In 2 Timothy, Paul exhorted Timothy, a young leader: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus… preach the word; be ready in season and out of season…As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

What does the call to “be ready in season and out of season” mean? Christians do not get to wait until the time is convenient to share the gospel. We do not wait until the people with whom we are sharing the gospel are ready to hear. Believers are to share Jesus at all times, to tell who he is and what he has done. Whether it is convenient or inconvenient; whether the climate is hospitable or inhospitable; whether the person in front of us seems to be hard and barren soil, or soft and welcoming.

Evangelism is hard: personally, I’m not persuasive, and hate trying to talk people into things. But the gospel is too weighty for these flimsy excuses. If we truly believe “the wages of sin is death,” offering those weighed down by death the gift of “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” is both duty and joy.

One of the most beautiful experiences of my time in China was seeing people come to faith in Christ. Yet I was always struck by something: no matter their story, I don’t think I ever knew of a person who became a Christian the first time they ever heard the gospel story. In every case (both in my own experiences and in the stories I heard from others), new believers started to believe in Jesus because they heard the story, and then heard it again. Perhaps they heard the story many, many times before they responded. Some heard of Christ from a grandmother, others from a high school teacher, a neighbor, a friend, or a stranger who told them a bizarre and unbelievable story. At the time, they rejected all they heard. Their heart was hard. But later, when the Holy Spirit was ready to move, they heard again – and that time, they believed.

What does the call to ‘be ready in season and out of season’ mean?…We do not wait until the people with whom we are sharing the gospel are ready to hear. Believers are to share Jesus at all times, to tell who he is and what he has done.

This week, an American friend who lived with me in China texted me out of the blue. She asked if I remembered “Zhang Yu,” a mom friend of hers whose child attended preschool with hers and who lived in the same apartment building. Back then, my friend shared the gospel with Zhang Yu. When she did this, Zhang Yu rejected the good news. I remember talking with my friend then about their conversation – my friend felt anxious, and silly, and worried about what her boldness meant for their relationship. She shared, but nothing happened.

But this week, years and years later, she got an out-of-the-blue email from Zhang Yu. After some back and forth, Zhang Yu wrote: “After my dad passed away [several years ago], I believed in God and the Holy Spirit… now I often go to church, and pray to God every day. I always remember that you gave me a Bible as a gift. I’m so grateful.”

“God Gave the Growth”

So, that’s what I am praying for Chinese believers. For many, it might feel like they are sowing out of season – planting tomato seeds in November, not March. What is the point? Pressure is strong, and many churches are struggling merely to survive and hold their next worship service. The frost will come, the ground will freeze, and nothing will come of all their evangelism.

I would venture to say it often feels the same for those of us in the West. Hearts are hard; even those who grew up in the church are streaming out. “Preaching the word” feels as though it will not result in fruit, but only rejection.


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Yet God’s plans are higher and better than ours. In good times and in bad, he is still working. All of us are to seek the lost, love our neighbors, and preach the gospel. He is still calling the lost to himself. We do not know what he will do with our labor, and we do not know when he will cause the seeds to germinate. But we know the growth process is in his hands.

Years later, she got an out-of-the-blue email from Zhang Yu. After some back and forth, Zhang Yu wrote: ‘After my dad passed away [several years ago], I believed in God and the Holy Spirit… now I often go to church, and pray to God every day.’

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” To stick with the agricultural theme (which Jesus used so often in Scripture), we do not always know the types of seeds we are planting. Some, like daffodil bulbs, must be planted in autumn so they can bloom in the spring. Others, like green beans, grow quickly once placed in the ground. No matter the times, Christians are to continue sowing and cultivating, and God will give the growth in his good season.

So, join me: let us pray that Chinese believers will remain faithful, “in season and out,” to love and serve and preach. When seeds are planted, the Lord will surely bring them to fruition.


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 pastors a small PCA church. 

Pray for Chinese Christians to hold fast to evangelism, even in times that do not seem to be as fruitful.

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Further Reading

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Qingdao: How to Pray
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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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Qingdao: Good Soil for the Gospel
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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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