Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Prayer Request 11/17 - 11/23

Tuesday
China has attempted to develop "soft power" through the Mandarin language and cultural programs, including its most effective ambassador, the giant pandas. However, she realizes that it is through success in the realm of soccer that she can truly reach the whole world.​ ​We​ strongly believe that each of us can learn much from the churches in China, especially in their resilience under persecution. We pray that believers in China will grow and flourish spiritually in times of prosperity and secularism as they have in the past under persecution.
Wednesday
China has engaged in "stadium diplomacy" by building soccer stadiums across Africa and Latin America for years. They were also trying to smooth political relations and gain access to natural resources in those places. Now China wants to become a major​ soccer power herself. ​Although the government forbids churches from having unapproved contact with foreigners and mission organizations, the church in China still receives much of its resources from abroad. We praise God for this assistance but pray earnestly against the false teachings that corrupt many naive believers.​
Thursday
The government of China is determined to improve its soccer standing in the world so it has announced a grand plan with some eye-popping goals: 20,000 training centers, 60,000 new soccer fields, and 50,000,000 youth playing soccer regularly by 2020. ​There are also many grand visions to make China a missionary-sending powerhouse, especially with the official "One-belt, One Road" plan. We pray for humility and a willingness to partner with other countries to make it a kingdom-minded effort rather than ​just a nationalistic goal.
Friday
Despite the soccer targets set by China's government, there are many social impediments. The "one-child​ parents" with their single-minded focus on education rather than sports and the lack of a soccer or even a sports culture are hindrances as well as the history of failure to win soccer games. ​It is common knowledge that "one-child parents"​ who are Christians discourage and forbid their children to serve the Lord full time. We pray for the young people whom God has called to Him and want to attend seminary but must overcome parental opposition, especially those parents who are not yet Christians.
Saturday
China is officially an atheist country and the Communist Party has about 88 million registered members who are forbidden to believe in any religion. The government oversees religious activities, assigns pastors, and provides guidance to the so-called registered churches. It is often quoted that there are as many Christians as there are​ Communist Party members in China. No matter what the numbers are, we pray that believers will not be in name only but rather be solidly rooted in the Bible and able to live out the love of Jesus Christ.
Sunday
The so-called open churches in China are known in Chinese as sanzi, meaning “three-self,” standing for self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation — part of an effort to disavow foreign meddling. These churches often feature rhetoric in line with the Party doctrine. ​Visitors generally say they cannot really find fault theologically with the preaching in the open churches. We pray that God will continue using them to strengthen believers in sound doctrine and help them to aid the less affluent churches nearby, especially those that do not have a shepherd.​
Monday
One can find a Three-Self or so-called "Open Church" easily in China but finding a house church is totally different.​ When someone who became a Christian overseas returns to China, that person needs to have a contact to give him/her an introduction ahead of time to be connected with such a church. Many Christians attend both open and house churches. We pray for the strengthening of believers so they will not compromise in the foundational Biblical truths​. We pray for all believers as the new and more restrictive official religious policy is implemented.


星期二
儘管中國試圖通過語言和文化項目,甚至租借最有效的大熊貓大使,來大力發展軟實力;但中國還是意識到,如果中國能擁有最強的足球隊,才能有更強大的全球影響力。我們相信全球信徒都能從中國教會如何在迫害下持守信仰中有所學習和見證神的信實。我們特別為今日的中國信徒禱告,當處在繁榮和世俗主義的大環境中,仍能堅持靈命繼續茁壯成長,為真道打美好的仗。
星期三
中國多年來一直致力「體育外交」,在非洲和拉丁美洲修建足球場,以緩和政治關係,獲取自然資源;現今則想給自己打造成一個足球強國。雖然政府禁止教會與國外組織接觸,但中國教會仍然從國外得到許多資源。我們為這些外來的幫助感恩,也禱告主幫助中國信徒能分辨外來的錯誤教導和提防國外異端的攪擾侵蝕。
星期四
中國政府決心成為足球超級大國,擬定偉大的目標:在2020年前建成兩萬個訓練中心和六萬個新足球場,要有5000萬人經常踢足球。因著政府的「一帶一路」計劃,中國教會更有成為宣教大國的異象。我們禱告教會常懷謙卑的心,能與世界眾聖徒合作,共同為神的國度努力,而不是又一個民族主義式的嘗試。
星期五
即使將來中國成為足球大國的目標都實現了,中國社會存在的阻礙因素依然巨大:獨生子女政策的影響使父母一心只重視教育,忽略體育;整個社會缺乏足球乃至運動文化。還有歷年足球大賽的失敗經驗。中國信徒父母會極力禁止他們的獨生子女全職服侍神,這是教會中常有的事。我們為神呼召的年輕人有堅定信心來禱告,雖然他們願意去讀神學,但是要克服家長的反對,尤其是來自非基督徒的家庭。
星期六
中國是一個無神論國家,註冊共產黨員共有8800萬,共產黨員不得信奉任何宗教。政府監督所有宗教活動,指派神職人員,並向註冊教會提供指導。有人說中國基督徒的人數幾乎與共產黨一樣。不論基督徒人數到底多少,願神幫助眾信徒不該只是掛名而已,而是在神的話語上札根,生活中能活出主耶穌的愛。
星期日
官方認可的教會,又稱為三自教會,意思是自治、自養、自傳,也就是不受外國的影響。這些教會中常會有配合政府政策的口號。一般而言,三自教會的信息是正統的神學。我們為當中的信徒能得著真理的教導禱告,又求主使用他們幫助及支援鄰近的貧窮教會,尤其是那些沒有牧者的教會。
星期一
三自教會是公開的教會,也容易找到,但家庭教會多數卻不是這樣。對回國的年輕基督徒而言,要能與當地的家庭教會取得聯絡,一般是需要有人介紹才能找到的。許多三自教會的會友,亦同時參加家庭教會的聚會。求主堅固信徒的心,不在信仰的基要真理上妥協。同時,中國宗教政策也正在轉變中,我們就求神保守、記念各地神的教會。