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。

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Prayer Request 7/10 - 7/16

Tuesday
Divorce in China has now become very common and no longer raises any eyebrows. Women are not content to accept a "lousy" marriage any more and eighty percent of divorces are filed by women. People in the churches feel compelled to give advice rather​ than merely listening, so, often their good intentions are misunderstood. We pray for wisdom from God so believers know how to care for those who seek divorces in their church for whatever reasons.
Wednesday
People twenty to forty years old who work in the larger cities in China are actually very dependent on their parents because they pay the down payments on their apartments and babysit for them.​ We pray for wisdom and gentleness for young believers who have unbelieving parents. May the Lord give them a good testimony by the way their honor their parents​ and are considerate children. We pray especially for those who live with unbelieving parents or in-laws.
Thursday
Divorce leaves a long and profound scar on the children. In China, children from broken homes are more likely to divorce, have a​ higher crime rate,​ more​ mental problems, and suicides. We pray for believers who came from broken homes​. May the comfort of the Spirit, affirm​ to​ them that they are loved by the Lord, able to escape the shadow of divorce and​ able to​ help those who have ​had ​a similar experience in their church.
Friday
One can easily find and attend services at a Three-Self or so-called "Open Church" in China. However, trying to locate and attend its small groups in a house church is totally different.​ Many house churches are “secretive” and would not take in a random newcomer and insist observing new members. House churches are experiencing new restriction and scrutiny. We pray for all believers as the restrictive official religious policy is implemented. The Lord give them perseverance and be “partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. “(1 Pet.4:13)
Saturday
Three-Self churches are usually well-funded and often have newly renovated church buildings. In contrast, “house churches” operate with more autonomy at often obscure locations — sometimes in a house or ​an ​apartment. They are more often not registered with the government. In recent years many house churches have chosen to register so they have a bit more freedom in purchasing land and building on it. We pray churches will be able to evangelize more publicly and effectively in their neighborhoods with this new status.​
Sunday
Shanghai is known as the most open city in China with a large number of churches, both registered and house, plus many international churches. Churches in Shanghai have ​a ​lot more foreign influence with​ a​ preaching style closer to churches abroad. But, there are also many churches promoting the Success Theology. We pray that churches in the coastal provinces, including Shanghai, will share their rich resources with churches inland and be a shining example of love for God and His people, and all kinds of good work.
Monday
For the returnees who have known church only in a liberal Western campus setting, both registered and house churches represent a drastic change. Some have a hard time adapting to life in China,​(​both church and life in general​)​ after returning from abroad, during which they converted to Christianity. Young people do move from city to city, especially after graduation from college. We pray that young believers can find churches who are friendly and accepting, so they can quickly find a spiritual home and continue to be nurtured spiritually.


星期二
近年來離婚在中國已屬平常事,當事者無太多顧忌,“女性敢說離”的特徵尤其明顯,不再是 “嫁雞隨雞、嫁狗隨狗”。 因此女方起訴離婚的案件越來越多,80%以上的原告是女方。在教會裡弟兄姊妹面對想離婚的夫妻,不論勸合或勸離,恐怕都不恰當。他們需要的可能不是建議,而是被了解。求主賜給信徒有智慧,知道如何秉持真理和恩慈來關懷教會中婚姻有難處甚至面臨破裂的肢體。
星期三
在一線城市工作的80後、90後,對父母的依賴程度遠高於上一代人。因父母在購房和撫養孫輩的參與度高,對子女婚姻生活的介入程度也相應更高,兩代人生活理念上的摩擦更容易被放大。我們為有未信父母的年輕信徒,向神求智慧和溫柔,願神幫助他們先盡到孝順父母的誡命,做個懂得感恩與體恤的兒女。尤其和不信主的父母或姻親同住的年輕夫婦,求神保守他們有美好的生命見證。
星期四
離婚對孩子的負面影響極其深遠。離異的夫妻,子女也可能有不美滿的婚姻;根据調研:單親家庭孩子的犯罪率、心理疾病患病率和自殺率,幾乎是與離婚率同步增長的。我們為來自破碎家庭的信徒祈求,願主親自安慰他們,幫助他們認定主的愛,能跨越家庭在成長中帶來的傷害。當走出陰霾後,在教會屬靈的家中更能幫助類似經歷的人認識神的大愛,成為別人的祝福。
星期五
在中國,三自教會是公開的,也容易找到,家庭教會卻不是這樣。要找到和參加家庭教會的聚會並不容易,因為他們多半不隨便接待新人,也堅持要觀察一段時間。 目前政府的宗教政策正在改變中,執行也更加嚴謹。我們以禱告記念各地的教會。我們更為眾信徒有忍耐和忠心祈求,共勉“在基督的受苦上有分,就在他榮耀顯現的時候,可以歡喜快樂。”(彼前4:13)
星期六
中國三自教會通常經費充足,且有堂皇的大禮拜堂。相反家庭教會大多只能隱藏在不被注意的地方,通常是在公寓裡聚會。近年來,不少城市教會選擇向政府註冊,但仍然保持他們是家庭教會的身份,註冊的家庭教會在事工的運作上多了一點空間。求主保守這些教會能更多公開地,也更有效地在社區中傳講主耶穌的福音。
星期日
上海被稱為中國最開放的城市,有許多三自教會、已登記的家庭教會以及國際教會。上海教會受海外影響較多,各樣資源都比其他城市的更豐富,講台信息也接近國外的風格。然而,上海教會中標榜所謂的成功神學也是最多的。求主復興沿海各省(包括上海)的教會,不但能與各地教會分享神賜的豐富恩典,更是在愛神、愛人並各樣的善工方面,都能成為其他教會的榜樣。
星期一
對於在西方校園環境中認識信仰的年輕信徒回國後,無論參加三自或家庭教會,都是一個巨大的改變。這個改變不單單是教會生活,也是要重新適應國內的文化風氣。一般大學生信主之後,畢業了也會遷移到其他城市生活。我們要為所有年輕信徒禱告,願他們在新的城市中都很快找到溫暖又有愛心的教會,能被接納而繼續靈命的成長。

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Prayer Request 7/3 - 7/9

Tuesday
The men's soccer team in China ranks dismally at only number 73 in the world. However, the president has vowed to turn the country into a "soccer superpower" that will host, qualify for, and by 2050 win the World Cup.​ Many believers sincerely believe that China will become the largest Christian country in the world. We pray for revival fire, that all believers will forsake their lust for material goods, and the churches will again fearlessly focus on evangelism.
Wednesday
Even though China is not in the World Cup at all, Chinese companies are heavily involved as sponsors, promoting their dairy products, electric scooters and movie theaters, unrelated to soccer itself.​ Churches in China are facing pressure and close scrutiny from officials. Let us beseech God on their behalf, as they conduct their ministries and especially summer outreach programs for the young people this​ summer.
Thursday
Advertising in the World Cup will definitely give Chinese companies a way to promote their brands globally and to show their patriotism but it is hard to say whether these companies will becomes household names outside China.​ There are many well-known urban churches in China that have multiple worship locations and dynamic pastors. They often serve as the inspiration and model for church growth. We pray for these churches to remain fervent in their outreach and building of fellowship groups in their communities.
Friday
Many house churches are undergoing a transformation, especially those in bigger cities. Churches that have successfully transformed are able to attract young believers, appeal to the well-educated middle class and grow. Although the number of Christians in China has increased in the past 30 years, spiritual maturation is still lacking in general. We pray that churches will not only teach Bible knowledge but also help believers to live a victorious life in this crooked age.
Saturday
The Communist Party of China actively recruits college students. Many students also eagerly join because they believe Party membership provide​s​ the elite status among their peers and benefits in advancement in whatever careers they pursue later. ​We pray for young people from Christian homes who are struggling with the decision of whether to join the Party or not. May the Lord reveal His will in their lives and may they know He has a great plan for them without compromising their faith.​
Sunday
Young converts who return to China from abroad have a limited experience in churches in the West since they live on campus. For them, to worship in China is a huge adjustment because they do not even know the difference between the registered and house churches.Churches in China do not usually embrace those converted abroad, suspecting whether their faith was genuine. We pray that churches in China will reach out to the new believers and commit to disciple them, rather than looking down on them.
Monday
Many young people have accepted Jesus while they studied abroad but since they were busy studying and received little discipleship, their faith is shallow. After they return to China, their walk with Jesus quickly becomes distant and they stop attending church. ​Churches in China hesitate to follow up on those who were converted abroad, considering them to be without spiritual foundation and immature. We pray that these churches will have the vision and burden to help these young believers grow spiritually.​


星期二
雖然中國男足現時在世界排名73,但政府誓言要把中國打造成「足球超級大國」,它將主辦、參加,並渴望在2050年前贏得世界盃。不少中國信徒認為中國將成為世界上擁有最多基督徒的大國。讓我們禱告,願復興的靈火在所有信徒心中點燃,不貪愛世界與追求今生的享樂。願主加力,叫眾教會放膽廣傳福音遍及全球每個角落。
星期三
今年的世界杯足球大賽根本沒有中國隊,但是中國的大企業卻是贊助商大戶,推銷與足球不甚相關的乳製品、電動車和電影業。中國教會眼下正處在嚴密審查的壓力下。讓我們為神家切切禱告,也求主賜智慧給教會帶領者,使用暑期為年輕人預備各樣福音活動。
星期四
中國企業在世界杯足球賽大做廣告,不僅在全球推廣自家品牌,還宣揚他們的愛國精神。目前尚難以預測這些產品是否會在國外成為家喻戶曉的品牌。在中國大城市中有不少著名的教會,其中不同的聚會點裡不乏很有恩賜的傳道人。感謝神,這些教會是中國教會成長的範例和楷模。我們禱告神:保守帶領這些教會能於所在地區中,有更廣泛的拓展和建立更多小組團契。
星期五
中國大多數地區的家庭教會已開始轉型,或處在轉型過渡期,有些大城市內的家庭教會甚至已完全轉型。轉型後的家庭教會發展穩定,吸納了更多年輕信徒及中高層知識分子。近三十年來雖然信徒人數增長了,但在靈性的成熟度上更需要提昇。我們為眾教會禱告,不僅着力於幫助會眾增強聖經知識,更要關注靈命的長進,能堅定委身於主,好在這彎曲悖謬的世代中靠主做剛強、得勝的兒女。
星期六
共產黨在大學裡積極鼓勵和招募學生入黨。許多年輕人認為入黨對未來的事業發展有利無弊,亦覺得是件非常光榮的事。不少來自基督徒家庭的年輕人也會掙扎於是否該入黨。我們為他們求智慧,能清楚知道神在他們一生中有更美好的計劃,不必妥協他們的信仰,也願意為主堅定站立人前。
星期日
對於海歸信徒來說,中國教會的帶領、聚會模式、事工運作等等都與外國教會大相徑庭,且也不明白公開教會與家庭教會之間的差異。對他們而言,投入國內教會是一個不容易的轉變。國內教會對海歸信徒,一般採取觀望態度,甚至懷疑他們信仰的真實性。求主幫助中國教會體察神的旨意,願意接納這些新羊,衷心給予屬靈的栽培,而不是輕看或猜疑。
星期一
很多留學生雖在海外決志信主,但求學期間大部分時間忙於學業、研究,未能參加基要真理的學習或門徒訓練,以至對信仰仍很初淺,也未與神建立親密的關係,以至返國後遇到壓力時沒有更加依靠神,反而是漸漸遠離神。國內的教會也不太接納在國外信主的人,認為他們沒有信仰根基,甚至覺得他們不成熟。求主給國內教會有異象和負擔,以神的視野和恩慈來建造這些海外歸國的年輕肢體。