Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Prayer Request 8/25 - 8/31

TuesdayDuring the Maoist era in China, all religion including Buddhism was repressed but a growing number of people are discovering the dormant traditions of Buddhism. We praise God for the increased numbers of Christian believers in the past but the sheer number of those forever lost is astounding! May the Lord press upon us the burden to spread the gospel and see souls saved rather than reveling merely in a large attendance in the churches.
Wednesday
In China, some people discover Buddhism while they are in a university where Buddhist groups are active and famous monks and lamas give lectures. Others have devout Buddhist parents and grandparents and are introduced to it early.​ Bible study groups, unlike the Buddhist groups are frequently monitored and suppressed. We lift up those who lead and participate in campus fellowships. May the Lord add to them courage and faith so they clearly know the Christ they believe in and serve.
Thursday
The government in Zhejiang embarked​ on a three-year campaign to rebuild old residential areas there--old factories and the center of the city. This aggressive project has included tearing down many churches and the crosses associated with them. Although many churches lost the crosses on them, we pray the Lord will comfort the people and help them to move forward in their ministries knowing they can still have a powerful witness to show how believers live out the meaning of the cross.
Friday
Some churches in China that had a proper building permit were destroyed in the wake of the province-wide demolition in Wenzhou. However, this project of tearing down the crosses was not limited to Wenzhou. We pray that this kind of thing does not spread further. We pray for wisdom and courage for the church leaders is Zhejiang and that they will know how to negotiate with the officials.
Saturday
The latest episode in the government’s attack on Christian churches in Wenzhou is the drafting of regulations outlining precise limits on the size and location of religious buildings and the size and placement of crosses. The majority of house churches do not have visible signs announcing their presence. We pray for safety and harmony with their neighbors for them as well as effective evangelism even though they have to keep a low profile.
Sunday
The new regulations on the building of religious structures in China highlight the arbitrary nature which lacks a clear definition and explanation with which officials in China deal with the church. National and even local regulations and policies for church​es can change overnight so we pray for wisdom for all churches to be able to enjoy favor with God and the goodwill of the officials as they continue to expand their ministries.
Monday
​One pastor in Zhejiang wondered why the government regulations apply to only Christian places of worship and also why the standards are different for Protestant churches from those of ​the Catholic churches. He appealed for fairness in dealing with religion. Having a good relationship and knowing how to deal with the local officials is a must for churches in China. We pray for wisdom and a great personal testimony for all who must interact with the local officials on behalf of the churches.

星期二
在毛澤東時代,所有宗教(包括佛教)都被壓抑。可是現今越來越多中國人重新認識並接受佛教的傳統。我們為中國基督徒人數有增長感恩之餘,也要記念還有很多骨肉同胞仍未能認識主耶穌永生的救恩。求主賜弟兄姊妹有廣傳福音的心志,而不是不冷不熱,自以為富足,會堂人數多,就沾沾自喜。
星期三
佛教團體在中國大學裡非常活躍,也常有著名僧侶和喇嘛來講學。許多大學生成為佛教徒,是因為他們有禮佛的父母和祖父母,自幼被潛移默化。基督徒在大學中的聚會,非但沒有像佛教團體般受到厚待,且倍受校方或官方壓迫,常被監視。我們為帶領的同工及參與的學生禱告,求主賜他們膽量和信心,更多認識耶穌基督的信實,勇敢與祂同行。
星期四
浙江省政府用三年時間推行「三改一拆」:改造舊住宅區、舊廠區及城中村,拆除違法建築。這措施亦影響許多溫州的教堂。求主安慰受影響的教會及信徒,鼓勵他們繼續積極向前。建築物上的十字架雖保不了,但教會仍能透過活出基督的信仰見證,高舉生命的十字架。
星期五
有些沒有違章也具備所有合格法律文件的中國教堂,十字架也照樣被拆。另外,在溫州以外的城市,亦相繼有教堂十字架被拆的情況。雖然這只是浙江內部事件,求主保守不會延伸到其他省份。我們為浙江教會同工及領袖禱告,求主賜下智慧與勇氣面對目前的挑戰。
星期六
在溫州教會被拆事件之後,浙江政府頒布法規,明確限制宗教建築物的大小和位置,也包括了十字架的尺寸和擺放的位置。絕大多數的家庭教會沒有外在的標誌或門牌。我們為這些聚會點禱告,求神賜下平安,又幫助神的兒女能在街坊鄰舍有美好的見證。
星期日
目前徵集社會意見的”宗教建築規範”,突顯出官方對宗教建築物管理的任意性, 條例本身的解讀也常是反复無常,莫衷一是的。對教會管理的政策,無論來自中央或是地方,都有隨時改變的可能。我們為眾教會有神的智慧禱告,在當局的眼中都蒙恩惠,好叫福音事工不受阻礙,把握機會盡力多救人靈魂。
星期一
一位浙江牧師抱怨,新的建築規定只針對基督教教會,但天主教教會卻又有不同標準。顯然政府在處理宗教事務上並不合理和公平。在中國帶領教會常常要與當地官員有良好的關係,也要有靈巧的應對。我們為需要常與政府官員打交道的領袖禱告,求神賜下智慧對答合宜,且能以生命見證贏得尊敬。