Date:  August 20, 2022

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? ... But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. (Psalm 13:1-2a, 5)

Sometimes when it feels like our own words aren’t enough, we can use words of Scripture to guide our prayers for justice. Use the words of this psalm as we pray for Chinese Christian lawyer Gao Zhisheng this week.

Together with Gao’s wife Geng He, their daughter Grace and son Peter, we are marking the fifth anniversary of Gao’s enforced disappearance.

‘It’s as if he has evaporated.’

On 13 August 2017, Gao Zhisheng disappeared without a trace. No one has seen or heard of him since. In the words of Ms Geng: ‘It’s as if he has evaporated.’

It is believed that he is being held in a detention centre, yet the Chinese government has refused to reveal any information on his whereabouts or condition to his family, who are desperately seeking answers.

Targeted for his human rights work

This follows nearly two decades of targeted violence and harassment against Gao. As a prominent Christian human rights lawyer who has defended vulnerable groups such as Christians and practitioners of the spiritual practice Falun Gong, he has long been a prime target for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Gao was illegally arrested in 2006 and spent three years imprisoned on false charges before finally being released with serious health challenges. He also underwent severe beatings and torture. Even after these horrific experiences, he continued to champion the rights of religious minorities in China – even releasing a 40-page report detailing his experiences, despite the huge risk to him and his family.

Join us in praying for Gao Zhisheng and his family:

  • For Ms Geng, Grace and Peter, pray for strength and comfort as they mark another year without answers, and the accumulating emotional distress. Pray that the God of all comfort will bring them strength and peace today and every day.
  • That the CCP would reveal information to the family about Gao’s whereabouts, and that there would be accountability for what he has experienced.
  • That wherever Gao is, God will bring him strength. Pray also that Gao’s legacy of incredible human rights work will be continued by others.