Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Prayer Request 6/11 - 6/17

The development of rural churches in China is very different. In the North, churches are very prevalent while in the South they are relatively scarce because of the cultural differences. We pray that believers in both regions will have a firm foundation built on God's Word and a deep commitment to Him, that they will grow daily in their faith to be spiritually mature people and be fit for the Master's service, not live as babies in Christ.
Sociologists say, "Chinese peasants choose a religion or belief that meets their daily needs and helps them in what they lack in life and relationship. Christianity meets their needs." We pray specifically for pastors who are serving in the rural churches who are trying their best to care for the emotional and spiritual needs of their flocks, despite the fact that there are not enough of these pastors and the needs are very great.
When Christian churches started in villages in China, the early converts were fellow villagers, neighbors, relatives, and friends. What was taught to converts were the basic truths of God Who brings healing and comforts. Only God is eternal and everything else is transient. And, God has predestined all things but prayers bring about salvation. In the past, there were many miraculous signs and wonders among the rural churches in China. We continue to pray for the mighty works of the Holy Spirit and at the same time a real hunger for His Word and growing deeper in the foundation of faith.
Ancestral worship and the passing on of the family name are the beliefs that matter the most to the peasants in the southern part of China, where ancestral memorial pagodas and elaborate graves dot the landscape. These values and practices are deeply entrenched and are very difficult to change. Most of the churches in southern China are in the cities. We pray that urban churches will redouble their evangelistic efforts to the villages near them, and not simply give up because of resistance and rejections.
Farmers in southern China rejected Christianity because it preached against ancestral worship and regarded their ancestors as devils, claiming the power of the Lord Jesus would satisfy all their needs. Believers in the city often overlook and ignore the fact that there are so many villages around them where people have not heard of Jesus Christ. We pray that God will always remind us that we cannot simply ignore our own "Samaria". We also pray that all Chinese believers can give good explanations of why we discourage the practice of ancestral worship.
Success theology had a great impact on Chinese churches. It offered a gospel stripped of the Cross and sufferings, substituted it with the false promises of easy lives, healings on demand, a good university, a plum job, and prosperity. Churches in China face the temptations of the prosperity gospel. We pray that our Lord will preserve our pure love for Him, not just for the material riches. And, that we will persist in our love for the Lord in all adversities and testings. We should not ask only for blessings, but love the one whom all blessings flow.
No matter how many believers there are in China today, less than five percent of the population is Christian. There are 2,300 provincial and municipal cities in China, and only one-third of them have any churches. In the western part of China, there are very few Christians. We pray for churches in China to stand firm in a time of persecution. And, to have an even greater faith in the Lord in the harsher days ahead, knowing His return is coming, just as the night is the darkest before the dawn.


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