Together for the Gospel: Praying for Asia
With concerns over aerial surveillance, military aid to Russia, and increasing tensions with Taiwan, it seems that China is constantly in the news. Asia as a whole remains largely in the throes of economic upheaval caused by supply-chain disruptions and other aftershocks of the pandemic.
And yet the Gospel spreads. Christianity grew twice as fast as the general population in Asia during the 20th century, and that trend continues in the 21st. According to sources cited in this article from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Christians now make up 8.2% of people living in Asia.
How can we, as the global Body of Christ, pray together for the Church in Asia? Here are five ways:
1. PRAY for self-sustaining, growing churches.
TEAM Asia global workers report the formation of new congregations everywhere from large cities to remote villages. The Gospel is touching areas and people groups that have long been unreachable.
One TEAM global worker says that many house-churches sprung up during the pandemic, and the national evangelical church in that country promptly took steps to support and encourage those house-churches to grow. “It was a time when more individuals than usual stepped into a leadership or discipleship role, and quite possibly an outreach role to their neighbors, and the national church worked to make the most of the situation. It’s a cool example of God at work during a time of a lot of stress, discouragement, and isolation.” Many of those congregations still meet together in homes, while others have rejoined a local church, but in either case, God is building up the Body.
Pray that these bodies of believers will stand solidly on the Word of God and grow in wisdom and knowledge of Him.
2. PRAY for God to continue to build on ministries borne out of COVID restrictions.
For many of us in the West, pandemic restrictions are beginning to fade from our memories. But in parts of Asia, lockdowns and other regulations are just recently easing. Amazingly, God used the unique challenges of COVID to grow His Church in Asia in amazing ways. One global worker shares this:
“[Churches] did an amazing job of utilizing digital tools during the pandemic. There were city-wide and nationwide prayer meetings, worship nights, training of all kinds with dozens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of believers joining in. [Believers used technology] to keep in touch with one another, share prayer requests, find practical ways to help (like delivering food and medicine to quarantined members), share the Gospel with friends and relatives, and counsel the discouraged and mentally distressed. Some went one step further and used online tools to link people in cities who lived close enough to manage in-person meet-ups or gatherings. Now, believers continue to utilize this hybrid strategy even with the risk of AI surveillance. Their courage inspires me!”
Pray that believers will continue to find Spirit-led ways to adapt and thrive in ministry in an ever-changing post-COVID world.
3. PRAY for Christians facing persecution and/or political violence in Asia.
According to Open Doors, 2 out of 5 Christians in Asia face religious persecution. The most extreme forms of persecution are often brought against people converting from Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism. A new believer in Christ is frequently cast out from his or her home, family, and community. Persecution comes also from government entities or political factions when Christians faithfully meet together despite laws prohibiting such gatherings.
Many Christians (and others) in Asia find themselves in the midst of other kinds of violence as well. In one politically charged area, a children’s hostel has recently been the target of aerial raids, scattering hundreds of refugee children into the jungle, hiding for their own safety. A global worker shares, “There is a deep need for peace. I am praying for supernatural ability of Christians to forgive their enemies and for peace to rule in that land.”
Pray for the Lord to bring peace, protection, and provision to those facing persecution and other forms of oppression and violence.
4. PRAY for God to raise up Asian workers, and for Western churches and workers to embrace the role of “partner.”
No longer is cross-cultural mission work a primarily Western endeavor. God is clearly raising up ambassadors of the Gospel “from everywhere, to everywhere” and Asia is no exception. In the last few months alone, TEAM has partnered with multiple groups of workers and mobilizers in Asian nations to set the strategy for cross-cultural sending and provide resources for the next wave of evangelism, discipleship, and planting. A TEAM global worker says this about one such recent gathering:
“Much time was given to praise and prayer and sharing stories, testimonies, and reports. These kinds of activities develop and build the ‘one spirit’ fellowship and trust necessary for partnering. Next, we engaged in a facilitated process of identifying problems and obstacles in areas such as church mobilization, member care, working on multicultural teams, access and visa issues, and, of course, finances. Our six working groups then went on to identify potential solutions to each of the problems and obstacles. We came away with practical next steps to implement over the coming year.”
Pray for Asian believers to hear the call to missions and for TEAM and other traditionally-western entities to effectively come alongside polycentric sending movements.
5. PRAY for continued Gospel response!
Though many are coming to Christ in Asia, 60% of people living in Asia are still considered unreached (source: Joshua Project). A global worker in Thailand shares that she and her co-laborers are seeing whole villages respond to the Gospel like never before. Yet other areas and nations remain steeped in spiritual darkness.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to pour out on these regions, that we may get a glimpse of the promise in Revelation 7:9, where we will behold people “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”
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2 CommentsLeave a comment
Thank you Suzanne for highlighting Asia, the beautiful praises as well as huge needs there for prayer.
Great work, Suzanne. Thank you for the news of the progress of the gospel in Asia and ways to pray.