When we don’t pray we depend on ourselves. [We live] by our own strength. We can feel like we are doing something great, but the effect is not so powerful because human beings cannot do God’s work unless we depend on his power and his mighty hand to do his work.
With so many items on our prayer list, why should we pray for churches and Christians in other countries? For one, they are members of the same body (1 Corinthians 12). The whole body of God is infinitely impoverished if believers from another country are weakened. Conversely, the whole body of God will benefit if believers in another country thrive.
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.
As I reflected on the church, I realized that she is our mother, and a healthy church must be balanced. The preaching of the word, the practice of sacraments, and the enforcement of church discipline: all three have to be there. Some say that faith is a personal matter, and that salvation has nothing to do with being part of a church. However, it is only through being part of a church community that people can examine whether they actually have genuine love. Only the church has the authority to carry out discipline measures, to warn us against our sinful natures, and hold us accountable for sinful acts.