Hong Kong-based ministry CCL called for September to be a month of prayer for China. This article, in the Christian Times summarizes the prayer requests included in the ministry's September newsletter. Of course you can use these as prayer points for October.
September - A Month of Prayer for Chinese Churches
For a church to be healthy, the pastor must first be healthy. Shenzhou Qing (www.ccchina.org), a publication of Christian Communications Limited, has been closely following the work of the mainland Chinese church and its pastors. Each month Shenzhou Qing publishes a prayer letter calling others to join in supporting the spiritual and physical health of pastors and leaders. The letter of this month (September) includes prayer requests for spiritual renewal within Church leadership, Church growth in China's western regions, servants of urban churches, and pastoral care of believers, etc.
Pray for Spiritual Renewal within Church Leadership
Christian Communications has observed that one of the most pressing needs of mainland churches whose basic needs have already been met is to obtain resources that can help develop individuals and establish service teams. To meet this need they have adopted a training curriculum called S.H.A.P.E. intended for pastoral leadership as well as individual believers.
Since the curriculum leaders have developed new ways of thinking, this has helped deepen their understanding of themselves, restored their motivation to invest in small groups and caused them to experience renewal and other breakthroughs!Pastors are also in need of pastoral care if they are to experience continual renewal, grow in their faith and face various challenges. We are thankful that the Lord has enabled us to use different resources to equip church leaders and encourage them toward continued maturity. May the Lord provide the churches in the Mainland with new resources and may they be used to equip church leaders.
Pray for Church Growth in China's Western Regions
China's western region is developing rapidly, yet the church is facing numerous obstacles in its development. Remoteness, underdeveloped infrastructure, and poverty have prevented many churches from growing. While some churches are relatively stable, with organized activities such as prayer meetings, other churches are still quite young.Since these churches are young, they experience more problems other than simply not having a clear understanding of Biblical truth. There are divisions within churches, financial difficulties, and evidence of carnal living. There are also some churches that desire to be engaged cross-cultural ministry, but dont know how to begin.
Please pray for the current situation and struggles of these churches. May the Lord enable the church in the west to rely on the Lord's strength to face their current problems. May God appoint workers to help in areas regarding Biblical truth and the development of ministries. There are large numbers of people in Western China who have not yet been reached. May God raise up the church that will courageously work for Him.
Pray for the Servants in Urban Churches
A worker of a church in Zhejiang shared that since their church has experienced rapid growth, the number of believers keep increasing. Activities have become a major part of church life. The increased workload has left small group leaders so busy that they have little opportunity to communicate with one another regarding their own lives, struggles and thoughts. Consequently, small group leaders are under great strain and have unwittingly lost their spiritual vitality and enthusiasm to serve, all of which have adversely affected church growth.
Shenzhou Qing asks for prayer for the following: If church leaders place too great an emphasis on the work and neglect their own spiritual development, their spiritual life will suffer along with the quality of church growth. Please pray that these churches will make adjustments in their current emphasis on growth and be able to cultivate a congregation and leaders who are healthy in body and soul. Also, may these churches inspire more disciples to glorify God.
Pray that the Church Can Stand Firm
With rapid economic development, marriage and engagement ceremonies have become quite extravagant. A church worker in Eastern China shared that when some couples are engaged the male side of the family will give a car to the female side, which then returns an identical favor. In other cases the couples will exchange gold bars. Whether great or small, this atmosphere of excess will have an effect on the church.
The emergence of such an atmosphere is not only connected to the tremendous increase of wealth, but also to the ubiquitous tendency of making comparisons. May the Lord protect the urban churches and enable them to stand firm, so that they will have a pure heart of loving God and bearing witness for Him in the world.
Pray for the Work of Providing Pastoral Care for Believers
A church worker in Eastern China has said that many believers in their area enjoy going to different churches to listen to different pastors preach. This has created a shallow sense of belonging among believers and a lack of intimacy within the body. This problem has affected the church for many years and has yet to be resolved.
Shenzhou Qing pleads for prayer: for believers to desire more spiritual knowledge is a delightful thing, but if they listen to preaching in many different churches, this will create some problems. May the Lord help all the churches in this area to establish a more influential process of pastoral care in order that believers in every church can experience consistent spiritual growth.
Image information: desperate.prayer, by Matheiu Jarry, via Flickr
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