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God Raises up New Prayer Warriors for the Persecuted Church

June 23, 2014 by Open Doors in Asia

China

Open Doors (OD) fieldworker Sheng* recently visited a group of a hundred church workers who belong to a major Christian network in China. He was deeply touched by what he encountered. “They have little to no information on the persecuted church, but they pray day and night.”

As the Chinese church experiences increasing levels of religious freedom, one of OD’s major projects is creating awareness among the Han Chinese – the Han people group represents 90% of the Chinese population – about the persecuted church around the world. Sheng’s visit to this group in China was a part of the awareness campaign. “My meeting with them gave me a lot of new insights,” says Sheng. “We work with five levels of awareness-informed, interested, inspired, involved and incorporated. However, what I discovered is that there are many church leaders in China who already pray for the persecuted church, even though they have little to no information to help them pray. I realized that many would be willing to risk their lives for their persecuted brothers and sisters, but they have no idea how to get involved.”

The group Sheng met was a clear example. “They knew so little about the persecuted church. However, I could see a God-given determination in their eyes. And they said: ‘We are called to pray’. So every month, they pray and fast for two days. They have also carefully selected prayer warriors who form a 24/7 prayer chain for a particular country God has placed on their heart, even though they virtually know nothing about it. Usually, they gather in groups and pray for a couple of hours. They say that the more they pray for this country, the more they start to love it. For them, it feels like they are supporting their real family members in this way.”

God uses those prayer vigils to inspire the Chinese Christians to become more actively involved with persecuted churches in other countries too. “I spoke to sister Da-Xia*. While she was praying, the Holy Spirit prompted her to go to Bangladesh, and visit a lonely missionary there. This happened last year, when there was a serious outbreak of dengue fever in Bangladesh and also a political upheaval. She argued with God and came up with excuses. Then God asked her, ‘Would you go for your own daughter?’ She replied, ‘Yes, Lord, I would go anywhere for my daughter.’ And God asked her, ‘Would you go for my daughter?’ She answered ‘Yes’. So she asked who wanted to come with her, and six people responded.”

None of the six volunteers were core leaders, and Da-Xia began to doubt. Had she really understood God’s voice? If this was a God-ordained venture, why didn’t the key leaders join this trip? “But God told her He selected the six, because they would be committed to pray for Bangladesh. Still, the group was very afraid to go. How could they protect themselves from those deadly mosquito bites? They all wrote their wills, because they expected to lay down their lives in Bangladesh. Sister Da-Xia said only the love of God could overcome their fears, and once they were filled with it, they could face death totally unafraid.”

Not one of the believers became ill in Bangladesh, and the Holy Spirit did more than protect them from harm. When they reached the solitary missionary, they discovered she felt lonely and rejected. “God told sister Da-Xia to embrace this missionary lady. You have to understand this is totally against the Chinese culture. People don’t hug each other. But she did it, and it meant so much to the missionary. It was like the feelings of loneliness and rejection just melted. Her hardened heart became soft.”

The meeting with sister Da-Xia and the other church workers boosted Sheng’s confidence in God’s plan to use the Chinese church in ministering to persecuted believers. “It is amazing to see how God is at work and how He uses the Chinese church for prayer and presence ministry. It shows us we need to continue to create awareness among Chinese Christians and give them tools to get involved. God has a big plan for the Chinese church.”

* Names changed for security reasons

Father, with glad hearts, we give You praise for these Chinese Christians who pray sacrificially for those around the world who are persecuted. Thank You for the Christ-like example of Da-Xia and the other church workers who prayed and followed Your call, facing even the possibility of death in a foreign country. Thank You for banishing their fears and bringing encouragement to the beleaguered missionary in an answer to her own prayer for help. Guide and equip Open Doors workers there to give the Chinese church the tools they need to serve the persecuted church. And increase our own zeal in praying and following Your call to serve You fearlessly, even in the face of death. In the name of Jesus, who calls and equips His Church as she faithfully serves Him, Amen.

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