Jeff Kyle currently serves as China Partnership’s US Manager. He first went to China in the summer of 2004 and has been working with the CP since graduating from Covenant College in 2006. He is passionate about US churches developing a global-local missions strategy. Jeff and his family live in New York City.
Prayer has so easily become a chore in our fast-paced modern life. And within Christian circles, we are so quick to tell someone, “I will pray for you.” How sad that we have diminished the powerful work of prayer and the utter delight our prayers bring God our Father.
Over the years the most powerful image that motivates me to pray is found in Revelation 5:8, “…the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” This image alone should motivate me to continually pray. Having a one-year old son, it brings me so much joy to see him run toward me with a full-out smile. And because this small act has become a habit, and an act that brings joy and laughter, we have made this a routine just about every day as he runs back and forth between me and my wife. In a way, my prayers are my opportunity to relate to God in the same way as his son. He treasures my prayers and values them so much that he has them placed before his throne.
So why should we pray and why pray for China? Very simply, when we pray for China our prayers are joined together with the prayers that have been prayed over China for hundreds of years, and they are a sweet fragrance before our Father.
God has been at work for hundreds of years in China, preserving and growing the church through death, persecution, and tears. We have the joy to watch the Chinese church bear fruit and mature, something the martyrs and saints of old never experienced, but for which they labored and prayed.
Over the years of working with China I have seen God use prayer to strengthen and empower others. Two and a half years ago two churches were detained and brought in for questioning, with four leaders jailed for thirty days. As they lay in their concrete cells, we prayed for God to meet them, sustain them, and speak through them. They reported after being released that not only did they feel covered in prayer and ministered to by the Holy Spirit, but God used them to boldly preach the Good News to those imprisoned. During their time in detention, four incarcerated people came to faith through their ministry, one jailer expressed interest in learning more, and a man from an unreached people group heard the gospel for the first time. One of the sisters detained said her time in jail revealed to her the power of prayer and gave her greater resolve in becoming the champion of prayer she is today.
As we work with churches in China, they continually ask for prayer because they have seen the power of prayer in their ministry and lives. So why wouldn’t we in the West want to join them in prayer when that is what they are asking for? At China Partnership, we want to raise up a great cloud of witnesses to pray – people from different time zones lifting up prayers throughout each day, all praying in unison over the same needs, requests, and praises.
Joining this cloud of witnesses in prayer might be one of the best investments of our time – even if we never travel to China or meet its pastors and our fellow believers there. We have this great assurance in scripture that our combined prayers are a sweet fragrance before the throne. Pleasing our Father in heaven should give us the only motivation we need to start.
I hope you will join me in this new initiative. We are working to provide you with a daily reminder and guide for joining us before the throne. Sign up today through email, text, or social media and ask other friends, family, church staff, and missions teams to join you. We will be on our knees together.