The Voice of Chinese Sisters: “Prayer Gave Me the Opportunity to Go on an Adventurous Journey with God”

Editor’s note: At the end of January 2020, believers from around the world gathered at KL2020, a gospel conference in Malaysia. Despite KL2020’s timing in the rising shadow of COVID-19, God’s presence was tangibly experienced through his protection of and encouragement to oppressed believers.

As Chinese believers continue to experience increasing levels of persecution, the conference focused on building the body of Christ on earth. In the face of suffering, a deep understanding of the Christian’s heavenly citizenship is necessary. The gospel speaks directly to oppressed and suffering believers, showing them the way to live and act in a culture that is increasingly hostile to the gospel. When believers understand their ultimate belonging is “with Christ in the heavenly places,” the way they interact with the world necessarily changes.

We are pleased to share on our blog the voice of Chinese sisters who spoke at KL2020. Here “Wendy” shares about the power of prayer in her own life and in that of her church.


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Moderator: Can you speak a little about why prayer is important in the life of the church?

Wendy: Prayer is a beautiful thing. I am always excited to talk about it. I came to Christ almost fifteen years ago now. God has used the many troubles and difficulties that I experienced to mold and grow me through prayer. Before I became a believer I worked for the government and had my own business. But when I started doing ministry after I became a Christian, it felt very different. Prayer gave me the opportunity to go on an adventurous journey with God. I am not able to predict the future, but the process of trusting God and following him through prayer is amazing every single time.

There are a few aspects of this. First, prayer is engaging in deep worship of God. Through prayer I recognize my limitations, my sinfulness, my impotence. I learn how to rely on God, and the church learns how to rely on God as a body. Prayer is first a relationship—our relationship with God. When we go to the Lord in prayer on our knees, our interaction with him, the total reliance, is a wonderful experience. We experienced a lot of disagreements during the process of establishing our church. When our church first began, we had nothing, no resources. God used that to grow our intimacy with him. We witnessed his mighty work through our prayers.

Second, prayer is an act of faith. Through prayer we come to know God’s presence and faithfulness and see that everything is within his control. We know our identity, and we experience him through prayer, our faith being built up as we see his faithfulness in keeping his promises according to what we read in the Bible and as we see his sovereign plan for his kingdom unfold. In that way, our faith grows bit by bit.

Prayer is very important to our whole church. From when we were persecuted in 2014, to our later journey in becoming more Reformed, our church was met with many challenges and difficulties. There were moments when we felt we could not go on and wanted to give up. But for nearly ten years’ time, our church has been holding prayer gatherings every week. Every time we gather to pray, it seems there is a solution to our every problem.

Regarding the importance of prayer to the church, I can only speak from my own experience. Prayer is our relationship with God, our identity as a Christian, our faith, and the means through which our understanding of God’s mission and his kingdom continues to deepen. Just as the book of Jude tells us, we should build ourselves up in holy faith, praying in the Spirit. If we have God’s Word and prayer, we do not have to be afraid, no matter what lies ahead of us.

Moderator: Do you have any stories to share?

Wendy: Before 2014 I learned about kingdom-centered prayer. But the Lord amazingly helped me put what I learned into practice when I was detained for thirty days. My prayers used to be centered around my personal needs or the ministries of the church. It was similar with the church. We would pray about different things, but no matter how much we prayed, it did not seem like it helped us grow very much spiritually. During the first three days that I spent at the detention center, I had high hopes that God would deliver me and that I would be able to leave after a few days. But when I finally received a note that said that I would at least be detained for a month, I made my peace.

During those thirty days I engaged daily in praying kingdom-centered prayers as taught in Seven Days of Praying with Jesus by John Smed. I saw how Jesus the Word became flesh and entered into our world of darkness and filth. At first, I really wanted to leave that place, because those who were kept there with me were all thieves or drug dealers or prostitutes. But praying the Lord’s Prayer really helped me recognize who I was and what God’s will for me was in placing me in that situation. I suddenly understood all this on the third day that I was there. I surrendered my heart to his lordship, and began to pray every day for the forty-plus cellmates who where there with me.

God was so amazing. We were not allowed to share the gospel, but I prayed that his will be done and that he would bring to me those that I could share the gospel with. Two of my cellmates ended up coming to our church after I was released; one was a [former] drug dealer and the other was someone who had depression and had committed some sort of business crime.

As I prayed, “Forgive my debts as I forgive my debtors,” God helped me face my own sins. In particular, he helped me face my idols of comfort and worldliness and wanting others’ approval. We had little privacy—we were often strip-searched, and we did not have much food and had to sleep on the floor. But God used all that to deal with my idolatry.

As for the police and officers who arrested me, I had a lot of anger toward them at first, but I knew I had to forgive them. Before I was released, an officer asked me, “Do you hate the government?” At that moment, I really could not feel hate in my heart. They were amazed by my answer.

While detained, I was especially worried about my church. I thought, “This is the end, our church must be all divided now.” I was the leader of the church at the time, so I thought there would be no one to lead, our church must have stopped gathering, they must have stopped studying the Bible. I prayed for the church according to the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I was worried that my brothers and sisters would leave God because of what happened.

But the most amazing thing happened. I could not receive any news in the cell, so I did not know what went on outside. I only found out after I was released. During the month of my detention, the church did not stop worshipping. Several pastors from across China traveled to our city to lead our little church in worship. Moreover, brothers and sisters immediately set up three teams—a pastoral team, a legal team, and a prayer team—in order to support us. That was why I was able to spend my days in detention quite joyfully. It is also why the Lord’s Prayer closes with “Amen,” because in all things we see God’s glory being revealed. I thought my time in detention was really quite all right, and I felt very thankful for that. I also experienced the deep [fellowship we had with one another] in the Lord.

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Here are a few ways to pray for China based on this sister’s testimony:

-Pray for believers who are suffering to “know God’s presence and faithfulness and see that everything is within his control.”

-Pray for Chinese Christians to deepen their understanding of God’s mission and kingdom through their prayer relationship with God.

Our blog exists, not just to share information, but to resource the global church to share the joys and burdens of the Chinese church. Our hope is that everything you read here will lead you to intentional, knowledgeable prayer for the Chinese church.

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Further Reading

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The Internal Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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Qingdao: How to Pray
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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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