Prayer requested as persecution increases
Reports are coming out every few days about the persecuted church and it appears that a new wave of this type of pressure is rising.
Just yesterday, several news stories released about China and these are just the tip of the iceberg:
- China's pre-Christmas church crackdown raises alarm
- China shuts Protestant church as part of religious crackdown
- China closes another underground church
- Chinese officials force third prominent house church to close
And, I can verify these and many more. Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a congress for this great country. More than 500 people were in attendance, about 100 of them were either pastors or leaders of missions and NGOs. The majority were Christian marketplace leaders with a heart for mission.
The stories we heard were overwhelming! Just in the previous few months, at least 15 churches were either shut down or their pastors and members were arrested, some taken into custody and many threatened for their faith. Most of the leaders are either friends of mine or deeply connected to our work.
Recently I heard that over 10,000 people had been detained this past year which was quite a jump from the year prior. And, this is just China. I hear story after story of leaders being pressured and persecuted for their faith in over half of the countries in which we serve.
In one key meeting that same week, many of the non-Chinese leaders kept asking questions to find out what to share with the world at large. We were all being asked what is happening and what we could do. I just listened as the meetings seemed to derail from our primary focus to these questions about the state of persecution and what the world can do.
Of course, we can pray and we can advocate our governments to put pressure on these countries. But, as the leader of Asian Access stood up, he reminded everyone:
“Don’t be overly concerned. Of course, we need your prayers. And, of course, you can advocate for us. But, don’t ask us why we stay in our country or why we don’t leave. Remember, that the church grew the most in our country when we were under pressure before. And, we are committed to seeing the Gospel go forth. Please partner with us to help us withstand the pressures but don’t forget, we have a mission that God has called us to serve.”
Call to Pray, Advocate, Empower
Friends, pray for the persecuted church and please do advocate with your governing authorities to help them out. But, let’s also come alongside to empower and equip them in the midst of the challenge. Let’s encourage them as they stand strong and pursue the calling God has given them to reach their countries for Christ!
Pray for Asian Access too. We are seeking to come alongside in a more concerted fashion so pray that God will provide the resources for us to empower, equip and encourage them in ways that no one seems able to do these days. We’re going to be trying some new things and we’d appreciate your prayers and support!
Empowering the Persecuted Church
Here is a new flyer we've developed to raise awareness of the need to empower leaders of the persecuted Church. The link to download this flyer is down below...
Please join me in praying for the Persecuted Church. And, pray that Asian Access can come alongside to help equip them to face the challenges they are facing.
May God be with them as the challenges increase!
Joe Handley, President
- Header photo courtesy of Open Doors USA. Inset photos obtained via Pexels.
- Download flyer, Empowering the Persecuted Church
2018 Empowering the Persecuted Church (1.6MB)
- Published: December 2018. This 2-page report was produced to highlight the need to empower leaders of the persecuted Church.