Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Prayer Request 7/10 - 7/16

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.
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.
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.
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)
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.​
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.
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.

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。
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)

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