During the 40 days of Lent I’m committed to praying each day for Christians in the 40 countries where the cost of being a follower of Christ is highest. I invite you to do the same. The information on the prayer needs of each country comes from a combination of Open Doors, Barnabas Fund and Operation World.
Today we are praying for China
The survival and growth of the Church in China are two of the decisive events of our generation. The staggering recent growth of the Chinese Church has no parallel in history – from 2.7 million evangelicals in 1975 to over 75 million in 2010. Much growth is among the majority Han Chinese, with some growth among minority groups. A few groups with no known believers among them in the late 1990s now have networks of growing house churches.
Challenge for Prayer
The window of opportunity for spiritual receptivity might not be open indefinitely. China today faces materialism – with increasing wealth, the debilitating effects of spreading corruption, moral decline and the growing social and economic impact of the one-child policy. All of these may profoundly affect the spiritual openness of the nation and the Church itself. Pray that the Refiner’s fire might keep burning and that the Church’s spiritual cutting edge – honed in the midst of persecution – might not be blunted.
Increasing tolerance for unregistered churches was tempered with continuing clampdowns on high profile groups and individuals during 2010. House churches generally experienced less harassment if they maintained a low profile. However, incidents of persecution were reported in some areas. In October 2010, the authorities prevented 200 house church leaders from attending the Third Lausanne World Congress in South Africa after warning that the gathering was ‘anti-China’ due to non-representation by the official church. A Christian human rights lawyer released by Chinese officials on 6 April went missing again two weeks later.
- For Uyghur pastor, Alimjan Yimit, sentenced to 15 years in prison at the end of 2009.
- That the church will have a positive influence on society through ministries to the aged, migrants, dysfunctional families and the poor
- For Open Doors’ Youth Leaders Discipleship Training to develop young leaders to reach out to young people across China.