Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prayer Request 7/22 - 7/28

Until recently there have been only two types of churches in China: the state-recognized “Three Self “ (government controlled) churches and the house churches. There is still much distrust and even animosity between the two groups. In many ways this has hampered the growth of the Body of Christ. We know it takes time to heal wounds and we pray for love and forgiveness for those who have wronged us.
The house churches are not registered with nor recognized by the government of China. They have also been called “underground churches”. Recently a third type of church has appeared—house churches that have registered with the government and are attached to the Three Self Church. Today let us pray specifically for the registered house churches. May the Lord use them to be a powerful witness in their communities, bless them with many new converts and help them in their plan to purchase church property since they are now considered a legal entity.
Many years ago the government of China failed to bring house churches into the fold of the Three Self Church but now it is promoting the formation of a House Church Association as a new attempt to bring them under their sphere of control.Many house churches struggle with the difficult decision of whether to register or not. The process is not only emotional but also potentially divisive. We pray for God’s wisdom and protection for all of the churches that are now in this process.
During 1989 missionaries from Hong Kong, North America, and Korea went to China’s rural churches and God sent great revival though their preaching, healing, and casting out of demons. The largest revivals were in Shandong Province and at Fangcheng in Henan Province where several thousand people were frequently baptized at one time. We pray the fire of revival will be renewed in rural churches because many have drifted away from the Lord due to materialism and church divisions. Even more have suffered attacks by the cults and many churches in the villages are without shepherds.
Currently it is very difficult for older people to move about within China or even to move closer to where their children live. Health insurance is provided in only their hometown so when an elderly person visits another city, certain medical fees are not reimbursed. Let us pray for believers whose parents have chronic illnesses which require a great demand for time and add a financial burden. We ask God to give them an extra measure of strength and patience knowing that God will reward their labor of love.
The top four-year universities in China have resisted pressure to expand their enrollment so roughly half of all college students there attend a growing number of less prestigious three-year polytechnic schools instead. We pray for believers who are in the “less prestigious” schools, whether high school or college for greater confidence in Christ and spiritual maturity. These students know they are not the best students in China and feel “ignored” in churches, especially in those where good grades are emphasized.
In China, polytechnics resemble community colleges in the USA but they offer more specialized vocational training and fewer college level courses like history or literature. Despite high tuition, polytechnics spend much less time teaching each student than universities do because they have so few subsidies. Let us pray for families of believers who have children studying in polytechnics and ask the Lord to protect them from the temptations of youth, give them a healthy outlook for a job prospect, and above all to have godly friends to encourage them so they can build each other up.
中國目前有兩類教會:一類是登記在政府之下的「三自愛國運動委員會」和「基督教協會」,另外一類是家庭教會。 一般來說,三自與家庭教會之間仍有很多的猜忌,甚至敵對不往來。雖然近來彼此關係普遍已有改善,但是還是有很長的一條路要走。歷史傷口的癒合需要時間,求主幫助弟兄姊妹能效法耶穌,以愛和饒恕來彼此相待。
家庭教會因為沒向在政府登記,不被政府所承認,也被稱為「地下教會」。而現在又出現第三類教會就是在政府登記下附屬於三自教會的家庭教會。 我們特別為那些註冊的家庭教會禱告,願主大大使用他們成為社區的一盞明燈,加添他們得救的人數。也因著他們註冊合法的身份,能開始著手購買教會場地的計劃或改建。
多年來政府嘗試將家庭教會歸納入三自教會沒能成功。現在可能透過推動一種「家庭教會聯合會」的形成,再次嘗試把家庭教會納入政府可以掌控的軌道中。 許多家庭教會掙扎是否要註冊的難題,這個過程會情緒化也有教會分裂的可能。我們求主保守,賜給眾教會智慧與合一的心志,尋求神的意旨。
八零年代, 來自香港、北美和韓國的宣教士進入農村教會,傳福音、醫病、趕鬼,給中國教會帶來了極大的復興。最復興的是河南的方城和山東,那裡一次往往幾千人同時受洗歸主。 現今許多農村信徒已經冷淡退後,有受物質主義吸引而湧進城打工去;教會有因沒有牧者的餵養,遭到異端邪教的攻擊。求主再次賜下復興的火給農村教會,激動信徒愛主的心智,重拾起初的愛心。