In a May 7 article in National Review, Nina Shea, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, announced a campaign to encourage global, ecumenical prayer focused on China. Global Prayer for China, led by international Catholic lay persons, was inspired by a call to prayer “for the Church and Peoples of China” issued by Burma’s Cardinal Charles Bo, the president of the Federation of Catholic Asian Bishops Conferences.
American Congressman Chris Smith, the U.K.’s Lord David Alton, Canadian parliamentarian Garnett Genuis, Australian parliamentarian Kevin Andrews, Irish entrepreneur Declan Ganley, Canada’s former religious-freedom envoy Andrew Bennett, CSW’s expert Ben Rogers, Ave Maria law professor Jane Adolphe, as well as myself, are part of the informal coalition supporting the campaign. What resonates with us is Cardinal Bo’s explanation that prayer is needed as China rises in power that it may “become a force for good and a protector of the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world.” He writes that his underlying concern is the “inviolable dignity of the human person.”
Global Prayer for China begins, appropriately enough, on Pentecost — this Sunday, May 23. The campaign continues until Sunday, May 30. But it would be entirely appropriate to make this time of prayer for the Church and the peoples of China an ongoing part of your prayer life!
China, specifically the Chinese Communist Party, (CCP) is rising in power. This is a dangerous situation for the whole world for many reasons. Not least of the dangers is the CCP’s ambition to take over the whole world. But the CCP’s brutal treatment of its own people, and the people of the nations that it has captured, is unspeakable.
The Global Prayer for China website provides abundant resources for prayer topics and more information. In one of the short videos on the website there is a speech by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). Smith, a hero in defending human rights and religious freedom, is beloved by all (except the CCP, which recently put their own sanctions on him!). Smith declares in the video that the persecution of Christians and all people of faith by the CCP is rooted in the Communists’ hatred of God.
Smith is exactly right. This is spiritual warfare in which we are engaged. But the Chinese regime’s hatred towards God is manifested in its hateful actions towards Chinese Christians, the Falun Gong, the Uyghur, and others. It is intended to strip them of their humanity, their dignity, even their lives. Congressman Smith gives the example of Chinese Bishop James Su Zhimin, who has spent more time in prison than out of it in his life because of his faith in Jesus Christ (a total of 40 years in prison, without charge and without trial). Bishop Su has not been or heard from since 2003. But as I said in the statement that I was asked to submit to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on Bishop Su in July 2020: “whether he is here or has passed into Eternity: he is the Lord’s!”
Recently I reported on this blog about the campaign to stop the Genocide Olympics. It is unthinkable for a genocidal regime to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. And, as an official designation of genocide has actually been declared against the CCP’s actions in East Turkestan (Xinjiang Province), it may indeed be a violation of international law. There are actions you can take to help that campaign. But starting this week, starting on the day when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus, you can also purpose to pray for the Church and peoples of China.
Here is a prayer created for the Global Prayer for China. We hope that it will go viral all over the world — even in China!
Almighty God, We praise You and thank You for Your love for all the peoples of the earth, and especially for Your love and care for the Church in China, and for all the people of China. We thank You for the faithful in China -- for bishops, priests, pastors, church members, and for those of all faiths, whose hunger for freedom is inspired by Your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on them, Lord, and give them the desire of their hearts. We think of the Chinese Church's apostle-like courage -- to speak Your word with boldness in spite of tremendous suffering and oppression, and we ask You to continue to strengthen them and use them to transform China and all the surrounding areas into the nations that You created them to be. Help us to remember them and those who are persecuted in China, to pray for them without ceasing, and to be inspired and encouraged by their example that we might be the people that You created us to be, as well. Thank You for the sacrifice of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, who stretched out His arms of love on the hard wood of the Cross, so that everyone might come within the reach of His saving embrace, and in His Name we pray, Amen.