Prayers for China: Matthew 4:12-23
Great and Mighty One, Creator of all the World,
Today we come before you with special prayers for China; that immense land with over 1.3 billion people. We cannot think of China without some sadness for the great suffering that so many Chinese have been through over its long and ancient history. We also think of the great accomplishments of the Chinese people, and of the many years when the western world knew so little of them. Today, as we hear so much about China in the news, it is nearly always news about economics, about huge cities with skyscrapers reaching up to the heavens. We hear about China’s problems, about its floods and earthquakes, and its conflicts. But we seldom hear the good news along with that; about happy families, new work opportunities, the creative arts, the music, the sweetness of the people, and their generosity and kindness to all who come their way. Help us O God to remember the good things and the great things about China.
But as we think of China, we also have many prayers for them for the days and years ahead. Today we pray especially for those in China who are poor, especially in the countryside. We remember those who feel a sense of hopelessness due to misunderstood and untreated mental illnesses. We pray for those who do not have enough money for medical care. We pray for those migrant workers who can so seldom go home to see their families. We pray too for their families who wait for them for so many months of every year. We pray for those who do have jobs but work long hours and feel tired all the time. We pray for those who feel trapped in their situations and cannot see a way out. We pray too for the whole nation that it may find its way safely through the immense and fast economic growth and changes that are happening in these days. We pray for the elderly that they may have a sense of security, and for the young that they not be pushed beyond their capacities and talents. We pray also for those who hold the awesome responsibility of seeing that the people of China are fed and educated and living a good life.
In particular, gracious God, we ask your special blessing on the following:
The Shanghai YMCA, the University of Shanghai, the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary; the students and graduates who are working so hard, the leaders and members of the many English Clubs throughout the country, and the people of the Drum Tower Hospital in Nanjing.
Be with China and with each precious person who lives there. Keep them in your tender care. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Christ,
Mission Stewardship Moment from China:
In today’s Biblical passage, Matthew 4:12-23, we are astounded by the first disciples who not only answer Jesus’ call but also answer it swiftly. Peter and his brother Andrew drop their fishing nets and immediately go to fish for people. James and his brother John actually leave their father in the boat and speedily run off with Jesus.
After four years serving in China as a “critical presence” we report to you that, in China, the call to follow Jesus is being responded to with this same enthusiasm by the Chinese Christians there. The official Churches of China are growing by leaps and bounds, as also are the so-called House Churches. No longer are we western Christians required to step in and push for this kind of change. It is manifesting itself before our eyes! So what then might our new responsibilities be toward the people in this part of the world? There is much we can do from right here in our home churches. We can support the Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, as they partner with Christians in China and throughout the world; sending needed teachers and leaders, medical personnel and all kinds of helpers to the places where we can meet them in their greatest need, whatever that need may be. We can make the effort to learn more about places such as China and communicate in any number of good ways with the people. We can pray for and with the Chinese people as their country burgeons in every area, including the amazing growth of the Church. We can recognize ourselves as in solidarity with people on the other side of this planet we call home. We can share good news about China with our friends and family. The people of China and all the other countries throughout the world will surely sense the love that comes to them from our churches and from our hearts. In these global ways, then, we too will show ourselves to be like those first disciples; leaping forward, anxious to follow Jesus.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Doreen and Michael McFarlane)
Video Resources for China:
Tom Morse: Amity Foundation
Global Ministries International Partners in China:
- Amity Foundation: Read about the work of Amity as it responds to the Sichuan earthquake at: http://www.amityfoundation.org/wordpress/index.php
- China Christian Council: To read about the work of the Protestant Churches in China, click here: http://www.chineseprotestantchurch.org.cn/english/
More info about partners and projects in China: http://globalministries.org/eap/countries/china/
Global Ministries Personnel in China:
Tom & Lynnea Morse: Tom serves with the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital assisting the Hospital in their English communications. Lynnea serves the Amity Foundation of China through Church World Service as an English teacher.
Doreen and Michael McFarlane have concluded their time of service in China. They served for three years as professors at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, in Nanjing China, where Doreen taught Biblical Hebrew and Greek, and scriptural studies and Michael was choir director and taught sacred music courses. Their last year, they moved to Shanghai where they continued teaching but with very different groups of students. Doreen taught American Christianity at Shanghai University while Michael produced monthly concerts and led a Seniors Choir at the newest branch of the YMCA. Doreen also taught American Religion and Culture to a class of seniors at the Y. In addition, they both led the downtown YMCA branch of the English Club. In their Shanghai work, the McFarlanes had the great opportunity to relate to a wide variety of Chinese people: younger and older, Christians and non Christians.
Pray for Partners without Global Ministries Mission Personnel: Philippines
God, we pray for our partners in the Philippines. We ask that you might accompany them as they seek to reach out to the poorest of the poor in their context. We pray for their struggle for peace with justice and we ask you to help us be faithful partners to them. Amen