TAIPEI- Saturday marks the 6th National Prayer Breakfast of Taiwan, which encourages Taiwanese to seek hope in the midst of internal and external social and economical challenges.
The National Prayer Breakfast is held at the Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei. Various representative pastors from major churches in Taiwan were presented and gave keynote address. Rev. Kao Chun-ming of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT) and Rev. Chow Shen Chu of the Bread of Life Church of Taiwan spoke on the theme "Hope in Adversity" in Mandarin and Taiwanese respectively. Rev. Andrew Chang- also from PCT- delivered the welcoming address.
"When two or three people gathered in the name of Jesus, the Lord is within us…God listens to the prayers of the righteous, so we must become the righteous of this era and pray for our nation. The world may then enjoy peace when Christians honor the Lord and benefit the people around," said Chang.
Kao exhorted Taiwanese to acquire three types of courage, including the courage for confession of sins and repentance; the courage to put trust in Jesus and the courage to love one another. He pointed out that greediness is the root of all sins. As we are all sinners, we must repent for our selfishness, jealousy and envy and greediness by following Jesus, who is the path, the truth and the life.
The founder of Mackay Memorial Hospital came all the way from Canada and built the hospital more than 100 years ago. Today the hospital is able to serve a capacity of 2 millions patients. Kao believed that amazing changes can happen by relying on the Lord, so he urged all Christians to practice true love, to love the truth, to love the true God, love Taiwan and love the world.
Rev. Chow, delivering the message in Taiwanese, emphasized the importance of faith in face of adversity. He compared the different attitude of King Saul and King David during difficult times. Since Saul could only look at the difficulties outwardly, so the situation became much harder. However, the heart of King David to absolutely trust God has made the situation change. He therefore concluded that for Taiwanese, they must renew their hearts so that Taiwan will change and they can see hope in the future.
Chen Shui-bian, president of Taiwan, joined with church leaders, Christian businessmen and other Christian ministries to pray for the nation. Although Chen is not a Christian, he was very touched by how Christians unite together to offer sincere pray for Taiwan. Chen especially prayed for the all those who serves in the government departments. He also prayed that the Lord will have mercy on Taiwan and every single Taiwanese that He loves so that all people can enjoy peace and hope.
Chen encourages Taiwanese to practice the act of charity, explaining the importance of resources and economy sharing. From the teaching of the Bible, in every three years, the Israelites will offer one tenth of their harvest to the Levities, gentiles, orphans and widows, then the Israelites will continue to be blessed and prosperous.
Chen asked for God’s guidance for China that God will "open fountain in the desert" for Taiwan and let it be the source of blessings for all the vulnerable. He quoted Psalms 46:1 , "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Although the power of men is very limited, Chen prayed that the Lord would give people strength, wisdom and faith to walk the path of righteousness.
Referring to the restriction on religious freedom in China, Chen urged all Christians to pray for millions of brothers and sisters in Christ in Mainland. Especially, the church of China should have the courage and wisdom to be the prophet, so as to petition the government for righteousness.
Chen believes that the essence of prayer lies on listening but not just one-way speaking to God. Lastly, he expressed his hope, "I believe if there are more Christians to pray sincerely for Taiwan, God will allow us to see hope in adversity today. May God protect Taiwan, to give peace and joy to all people, and give me strength."
[Editor’s note: Joanna Wong in Taiwan reported for this article.]