Monday, November 14, 2005


I forgot International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church 2005 was yesterday. They say the greatest honor is to be persecuted and die a martyr, but it sure ain't easy. That's reason enough to pray for those who are persecuted.

Luckily the Acton Institute remembered-

The one comfort that privileged Christians can offer those of our brothers and sisters who are suffering beyond intercessory prayer is a word of reassurance and hope. We are told by the Lord that along with the apostles we will suffer rejection from the world and persecution at the hands of others (Luke 21:12–19), but he says that “By standing firm you will gain life.” Indeed, we honor and pray for the sacrifice of our fellow Christians, realizing at the same time that they are storing up for themselves “treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20 NIV)

I've been thinking a lot about this issue- especially the Church in China after reading about it from the many articles from the Angry Twins, this is their latest on Ignatius Cardinal Kung.-

Here's what I found-

The cell is only 20' by 20' and occupied by 40 prisoners. One of these prisoners is a Chinese underground church pastor in his mid-40s, sentenced to a three-year prison term for preaching the Gospel of Christ. At 5:30 a.m., after being allowed four hours of sleep, a swift blow awakens him to his back from the boot of a communist prison guard. Pastor Stephen is allowed to have one of the two bowls of soup that will be his food for the day including the one small steamed roll he is given each day, he will consume perhaps 500 calories.

Now all 40 prisoners are taken to a room and put in two lines facing each other and forced to kneel. In front of each prisoner is placed a box containing unassembled Christmas lights. The guard viciously barks out the command and Pastor Stephen quickly grabs the empty strings of lights and begins to assemble them. He takes the tiny individual light bulbs and threads the two small metal wires extending from the glass through the plastic holder and bends them into place. Before long, his fingers are raw and bleeding. Then he puts the bulb into the fitting on the string of lights and clamps it into place with his teeth, as prisoners are not allowed tools. His quota for the day - 5000 bulbs. Work will continue for 16 to 20 hours or all night if necessary. If the guards are unsatisfied with the speed or quality of the work, he will be beaten mercilessly. Such is a normal workday for this humble servant of God.

When he is taken back to his cell, he recalls the many verses of Scripture he has memorized and thanks God for His faithfulness in spite of the hardship. Then quietly he begins to sing worship songs he has hidden away in his heart and he begins to pray for the well being of his family. Tears of thanksgiving begin to roll down his face as he ponders how blessed he is to be considered worthy to suffer for Christ. Blessed because he is a part of the underground Church of China - the largest Church in the world, numbering over 80 million believers. A Church that is vibrant and passionate and deep in the things of God. A Church that is paying a great price for this great turning to God with persecution and suffering.

According to Adam Graham -
The Underground Church does not want us to boycott Christmas lights. The information that was conveyed to David Hunt of World Serve is that the Chinese government is going to have them make something. They just want us to use these Christmas lights as a reminder for us to pray that they would be faithful in their sufferings and that God would care for their families.

Besides giving money to these people one can-

For Pastors in Prison, pray that:
an extra provision of rice or bread will be given to them.
they can resist temptations to deny the Lord in exchange for food and comforts.
they are able to effectively witness to other prisoners and guards.
the hearts of those who persecute them will be filled with compassion and turn to Jesus Christ.

For the families of persecuted pastors, pray that:
a sense of safety will calm their spirits
clothing, food, and shelter will be provided to them.
families will be able to stay together.
the children will recognize their parent’s love for Christ.

For the house churches, pray that:
their ministries continue to flourish even when their pastor is in prison.
their meetings will be uninterrupted, and new believers will feel safe coming.
the secret training schools in caves and hidden in villages will not be discovered by authorities.

If you want a more Catholic approach to helping the Chruch in China, here's The Kung Foundation's Site

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