Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Prayer Request 3/3/ - 3/9

As the Protestant Christianity moved into inland China, Wuhan (Hanko) was the very first port back in 1861. John Griffith, an English missionary was the first missionary to enter the inland provinces. He preached the gospel in China for 55 years and returned to England only three times.Many "firsts" had happened in 2020. For the first time, cities and millions were locked down, neighbors monitoring each other and the inability to meet for worship, plus the unprecedented discrimination against Hubei people. We praise God for the compassionate responses of Christians, the responses we know, and communication via WeChat.
Griffith John was known for his extensive travels in the interior of China, Hubei, Hunan, and Sichuan. In 1857, he was granted the privilege of preaching freely in the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (an unrecognized rebellious state in Qing Dynasty).Let's continue to pray for the healing of the epidemic in China. God called the Israelite "stiff-necked" because they repeatedly turned away from Him. We pray that our kinsmen will turn away from sins and come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior, and believers will once again be revived, especially in the interior China provinces.
The other major contribution of John Griffith was his writing and translation. He studied the language and was able to speak and write fluently. His eloquent preaching and mastery of Chinese language was very popular and often attracted a large audience. Although churches in China are not able to meet publicly and regularly during the crisis, prayers and sermons have filled the online media. Prayer is the privilege that God gives to each of His children. We pray that believers will continue to be strong prayer warriors, interceding for others, not depend on our own strength, nor boasting about our church buildings or numbers of believers.
John Griffith wrote and printed many Chinese gospel tracts used by all foreign missionaries to help them bridge their gap of communicating in Chinese. (A 1899 statistic shows that 80% of tracts used in China were written and printed by his sending mission society). Churches in China are under duress and believers are frightened. May the Spirit of God convict us all, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chron. 7:14 (KJV)
In Wuhan there was a great influx of population in recent years. The net rate of increase of young people is now second only to Shenzhen. Wuhan is the one city in China which has the most people from other provinces in it and it ranks number seven in terms of urban vitality in the world. Students and young people should bring a lot of vitality to churches, but because of the severe limitations imposed on campus ministry and inability to attract young professionals and young families, churches have been stagnant. We pray that gospel work in Central China will grow because of the many urgent prayers for them.
As tens of millions of people were locked in their homes, information continued to stream via the smartphones. In this epidemic, we have witnessed the special power of WeChat. We pray that God will continue to raise up people who can share the gospel, witness and equip believers on this mobile platform. Believers need peace from God, especially in times of great trouble. It is imperative for the church to preach the gospel, preach the doctrine of sin, leading our kinsmen to repentance, to seek refuge in Christ, and to enjoy peace through the redemption of Jesus Christ.
The Central South Theological Seminary in Wuhan is the only four-year seminary in the region. Since 1985, more than 700 have graduated and many have served in central and southern China. More than 300 were ordained, more than 120 were teachers, and 170 were elders. Many of them became Lianghui ( members of government churches' ruling bodies) or officials in charge of religious affairs. Let us pray for the great need for the workers of the gospel, especially good shepherds in China. “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is among you, watching over them not out of compulsion, but because it is God’s will; not out of greed, but out of eagerness; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Pet.5:3-4 NLT)

楊格非以在廣闊的中國內地旅行佈道而聞名。他1857前往南京,獲得在太平天國境內自由傳教的權利。他也是第一個進入湖北、湖南、四川三個省份的新教傳教士。求主憐憫武漢這座城市,當地人民因為嚴重的疫情而陷入恐慌、不安與無助當中,求神施恩阻斷疫情繼續擴散。我們深信即使「洪水泛濫之時,耶和華坐著為王。」(詩29:10),求祢賜下力量和平安給屬祢的人。神稱以色列人民為「 硬著頸項的百姓」,因為他們不斷地悖逆神。讓我們繼續為中國百姓遠離罪惡、願意接受耶穌基督為救主恒切禱告。
楊格非專門編印佈道單張與小冊子供外出傳教時派發,以補外國傳教士漢語不精通的弱點。據1899年統計,全國基督教所用的街頭佈道文字材料,八成都是由楊格非所屬的差會印刷。近年來,因著種種限制和恐懼,信徒的心漸漸冷淡,許多教會沒有成長。願聖靈光照我們,謙卑地來到主面前,懇求主眷顧我們的城市、我們的土地。讓我們彼此提醒和代禱: 「這稱為我名下的子民,若是自卑、禱告、尋求我的面,轉離他們的惡行,我必從天上垂聽,赦免他們的罪,醫治他們的地。」(代下7:14)
武漢近年來對外來人口的吸附作用日漸增強,年輕人口淨增率現僅次於深圳排名全國第二,是全國吸引外來人口最多的城市之一,城市活力排名全球第七。近期因為校園事工空間受到極大的縮限,教會無力吸引年輕信徒,推展家庭事工也有很多困難,教會整體氣氛變得昏沉。求主親自幫助內地信徒在黑暗中看到光明,仍然保持信心和鬥志不灰心氣餒,「 趁著白日,我們必須作那差我來者的工;黑夜將到,就沒有人能作工了。」(約9:4)
中南神學院是武漢目前唯一四年制的神學院。自1985 年開辦以來有七百多名畢業生,主要在中南部地區服侍,當中有三百多人被按立為牧師,一百二十餘人擔任教師,一百七十餘人擔任長老,其中也有不少擔任三自、兩會和政府宗教代表。 求神賜給中國福音工人和合神心意的牧者,在特定的時期回應神的恩召。「牧養在你們中間神的群羊,按著神旨意照管他們;不是出於勉強,乃是出於甘心;也不是因為貪財,乃是出於樂意;也不是轄制所託付你們的,乃是作群羊的榜樣。」(彼前5:3-4)

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