Welcome to the Aug 2019 Prayer Vigil!
In recent months there were disturbing events in Hong Kong - massive demonstrations against the government's proposed "extradition amendment bill", confrontation and violent clashes with the police, an attack on the legislative council building and vandalism of its interior facilities, siege of the police headquarters building and vandalism of its external installations; attacks on police officers, harassment of their family members and accusations of collusion of the police with triads. On the other hand there were also massive gatherings in support of the police and opposition to violence. More recent events were the confrontation of demonstrators with the police outside the Liaison Office Building of the Central People’s Government, with vandalism of the exterior of the building including the emblem representative of the Chinese Central Government and its sovereignty. At night on the same day there was a violent clash between people of different factions in the train station in Yuen Long, New Territories. Accusations of wrongdoing, blame, condemnation, finger pointing, and opinions from all sides fill the airwaves and social media.
“The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Rev. 12: 9
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8: 44
It seems that the devil, the father of lies, is having a wonderful time on earth. What is the truth? Who is right and who is wrong? Who should be responsible? Who should step down or be punished? Who is being misled and who is doing the misleading? Some say that this is a political crisis and should be resolved as a political problem. For Christ followers, we should be able to see what has been happening is a spiritual conflict requiring fervent prayer to our Father in Heaven.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6: 12
How should we pray as followers of Jesus Christ? In his book "Pray Big", Pastor Alistair Begg teaches us about the Apostle Paul's prayers and his prayer life by looking at Ephesians 1: 16 - 21 and Ephesians 3: 14 - 21 (please read these passages) where the apostle described how he prayed for the Ephesian Christians. Paul was in prison when he wrote the letter to the Ephesians but he did not pray for God to secure his release or for freedom, nor did he pray for his fellow Christians to struggle against the oppressive Roman government. Instead, his prayers were focused on the faith and spiritual growth of the Ephesians, their relationship with God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. He prayed that they be secure in the hope, riches, power and love that they can have in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. Such spiritual things of eternal value should be placed first and foremost in our prayers before we come to the worldly "practical" things which should be secondary. God is always at work and the earthly things will fall into place when your spiritual condition is made right (Matt. 6: 33). As Alistair Begg put it in his book, a person's life is like a wheel - "The hub - the center of our lives and our actions - is always spiritual…….When the spiritual hub of my life is solid, then the practical spooks will be strong".
The Bible tells us that as God's children we are not to judge or condemn, for only God is impartial (Matt. 7: 1 - 5; Rom. 2: 11; Joshua 5: 13 - 15), but to pray and do good, even for our enemies (Matt. 5: 43 - 48). Let us therefore take heed of the following passages in the Bible as we pray.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Rom. 13: 1 - 5
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim. 2: 1 - 4
Let us pray to our Father in Heaven -
• For the “eyes of the heart” of all in Hong Kong to be opened to see that you are God and you are in control of history, and that all may see that their perspectives are narrow, see their own sinful nature and their need for Jesus Christ.
• To give wisdom, humility and benevolence for those in the governing authorities that they will do what is right in God's eyes and restore peace and harmony in our city.
• For the churches in Hong Kong not to be divided by worldly matters but to be united by the love of Jesus Christ, to be peacemakers and to focus on the work of our Lord Jesus for the salvation of the lost.
• For Christians in Hong Kong to help people understand that hope in a government, a person, or a system is temporary and only reliable part of the time at best, but that the hope provided by Jesus and promised in the Bible is true and eternal.
• For protection from the deceptions of Satan and from the dark and evil forces in the heavenly realms, and for the truth of the gospel to shine through.
• That we at IBC will be focused on the spiritual and the eternal, and the things that glorify God, and not be distracted from the most important things of the kingdom by worldly struggles.
• That all of us are rooted in love and be able to help our children and young people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
• For the preparations for the Vacation Bible School, August 5 - 9 and 11, at IBC; for the children and their parents to have eternal benefits; for energy for all the workers; for safety and health of the children and for good weather.
• For those who are suffering from illness here in Hong Kong or abroad - Lena Lam, Paul Jackson, Sylvia Teh in England, Frederick's father in Australia, James Paul in India; may their faith and hope in Christ give them power to overcome their difficulties. Pray also for Beatrice, Y.M. Chen and Herald Lau; may they live victoriously each day despite their disabilities.
• Ask him to show you which outreach activity you should join to help people know Jesus.
• Ask him to show you who you should invite to gospel sharing night on October 25 at L'Hotel.
"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…..And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."” Matt. 28: 18 - 20
[This prayer guide was prepared by Charles Ip]