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AP Photo/Kin Cheung
World News

How Hong Kong Christians say we should pray for protests

by Cara Bentley

Thousands of people in Hong Kong have been protesting for weeks for their 'five demands' - including the end to the extradition bill, which has been dropped, but would have allowed Hong Kong criminals who committed a crime in China to be extradited there, comprimising Hong Kong's autonomous agreement with China.

The bill has been declared 'dead' by Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam but the protests encapsulate a greater theme of Hong Kong people wanting more of a say over their laws. 

Having started over three months ago, the pro-democracy demonstrations have turned more dangerous recently, with a teenager being shot on Friday night and protesters defying a new law not to wear masks.

Karen Chu, a Christian student in Hong Kong told Premier: "When there's demonstrations going on, the best thing to do is just stay home."

Karen has not been involved in the protests but said: "At the beginning there are quite a lot of Christians that were going out and singing the song 'Sing Hallelujah to the Lord', or otherwise participating, but recently they got a lot more violent and so most of the Christians I know have not been going out and doing those things.

"I do know some people that have escalated their actions as these protests escalate, but I think most Christians decided that this has gone too violent and illegal and they don't want to take part too much in it. We still have a lot of prayer meetings for it and a lot of different churches have called for fasting and extra prayer meetings for Hong Kong."

When asked what Christians can pray for, she replied: "To be honest, I personally feel quite fed-up with the demonstrations. I understand that people are frustrated, but honestly I just want to see things go back to normal, even though normal isn't that great either.

"I feel like there's a lot of fear and anger and hatred going on and I guess just pray for peace and pray for more understanding because I personally think that I judge these people quite a lot...and pray for the police because their jobs are hard and people hate them."

Ming Lai Cheung, director of C3 Church Hong Kong told Premier their satisfaction will never be fulfilled by political systems alone: "We're praying that people will fix their eyes upon Christ. What we are seeing is that many people are putting their heart in government, in money or in different political systems but we really, truly believe that only one person can give people hope and that's Jesus Christ. So, what we're doing a lot is to pray for the city, we pray for the people, we pray for the leaders to have wisdom, we pray for people who are in authority and we also pray that God will come and help us."

C3 Church Hong Kong announced that all their Sunday services would be cancelled on 6th October, including all youth groups and connect groups, due to the trains being affected. 

Speaking about the escalation, she said: "It's actually quite intense, it's been going on for more than 100 days. If you talk to a lot of local people here, everyone is getting very emotional and people lose friendships and relationships within families as well because people just have very different opinions. It's all very heated up and over the weekend we always have to look at the schedule of the protests. If people are going, of course, they will go, but people who want to avoid the clashes will actually sometimes just have to stay home because it could be happening in their district."

One church, Every Nation Church in Hong Kong, decided to broadcast its service online this weekend because they expected it to be difficult for some members to get there, writing on Facebook: "The safety of both our volunteers and members are important to us." Another, Lifehouse Hong Kong, asked people to make alternative travel arrangements due to two nearby stations being closed and asked members to keep praying for the city. 

Ming Lai Cheung explained that the church sympathised at the start of the protests when they were more peaceful: "We want to see Hong Kong flourish and be prosperous too.

"There are quite a number of people going to the street to do peaceful protests but the situation has evolved and we've seen that there are more violence going on, and it's quite impossible to know how long the situation will last and how it will play out but we also believe that it is an opportunity for the church to point people to Christ and to the true freedom."

She recommended people to pray the verses in 1 Timothy 2:1-6 about submitting to authority, saying: "We believe in praying in Scripture. So, we pray for the government and we pray for those who are in authority, so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives, marked with godliness and dignity."

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