The Heavenly Man - Prayer Guide  - Introduction


This is the Introduction Page for "The Heavenly Man - Prayer Guide"

Return to Main Contents Page


a) Purpose of these Readings

b) Dangers of Unbelief when reading the Book

c) Emotional responses to the Book

d) Theological Questions raised by the Book

e) The Chronology of the Book

f) Other Studies of the Book

g) What you will find in the Book

h) What you need to be able to read this Book and pray for sixty days




Preliminary Considerations



a) Purpose of these Readings


We have prepared this Prayer Guide using The Heavenly Man published by Monarch Books and Christian Solidarity Worldwide. The Guide covers 60 days of prayer.

Our objectives in producing these notes are as follows:

  •   To provide guidelines for those who wish to read the book and use it as a basis for prayer,
  •   To help the reader take in the import of each chapter so that it will not be glossed over,
  •   To help the reader focus on Christians in China with the hope of ongoing prayer for them,

                  in this Olympic year of 2008 when China will be so high-profile.

As we have written these notes, we have sought to focus the prayer topics to be in line with the lessons coming through in the chapter being read. Sometimes that may suggest specific prayer for China and sometimes not, but we hope that whenever you are praying using these notes as guidelines, you will always include prayer for the church in China and for the Chinese people. However, we believe there are crucial lessons coming through the book and so we would encourage you to focus on the specific topics coming through in specific chapters.



b) Dangers of Unbelief when reading the Book


As we have prepared these notes, we have been concerned for various possible negative responses in readers which might hinder those objectives. Please consider carefully, therefore, the following comments, so that you may not have negative responses and can be a vessel for the Lord to flow through in prayer, for the blessing of both our own lives and the lives of those in China.


It is our opinion that, for most of us who are Christians in the West, it is probable that we have never encountered or experienced much opposition, far less outright persecution, and therefore we may read the pages of The Heavenly Man with an (unwitting) attitude of unbelief that either:


  •   romanticises these events and unthinkingly glorifies the ‘wonderful experiences of deliverance' of the Chinese Christians (refusing to enter into the terrible nature of them) or
  •   denies these things happened, as the Chinese authorities will no doubt have done, or think of ‘fanatical Christians' who brought these things on themselves, and who ‘probably exaggerated anyway!' or
  •   says “Well it might have been like that three decades ago but it isn't like that now!”


Please overcome those expressions of unbelief. There are four answers to the last two:


  •  First read the book carefully and you see it goes into the twenty first century and,
  •  Second, watch the news carefully and gauge the ongoing nature of the authoritarian, anti-Christian government that still maintains its opposition to believers, and
  •  Third, read some of the closing chapters carefully to see how they specifically counter these suggestions of unbelief.
  •  Fourth, note the following words from the ‘Open Doors' organisation, a well known and respected organisation that helps persecuted Christians, from one of their leaflets earlier in 2008:

Christians in China are experiencing an unprecedented level of persecution and repression. In cities where Bibles have previously been readily available, they are suddenly in short supply. House churches have been subject to raids and arrests, and foreign Christians have been expelled from the country. Local newspapers have singled out local Christians for abuse and local officials have forbidden Christians to meet.”



c) Emotional responses to the Book


Two other responses that some in the West may experience are:


•  To shrug off the awfulness of what happened and to be unmoved by it, because we have allowed ourselves to be desensitised to violence by modern Western TV and films, or


•  To become overwhelmed by the violence and have nightmares, and even doubts about our faith.


We need to ask for God's grace to avoid these two extremes and ask Him to help us enter in with tears to the experiences of our brothers and sisters in such circumstances, while at the same time appreciating and rejoicing in the wonder of God's provision for His children – even in the midst of such things.



d) Theological Questions raised by the Book

i) Persecution  

This then brings us to the theological aspects of what happened and does happen, when we consider the sovereignty of God. There will be some who will read the pages of The Heavenly Man and ask, why didn't God protect him from all the awful beatings he received? For the simple answer to that you have to go to your Bible. Joseph unfairly ended up in slavery and then prison. Job suffered loss of everything. Daniel ended up in a lion's den and his friends in a fiery furnace. Paul's category of unpleasant experiences might make some of us run a mile from being an apostle! In the book of Revelation, those in the church at Smyrna were warned that some of them would be put in prison, while at Pergamum, Antipas had been martyred, but in Philadelphia they were told they would be spared the hour of trial coming. In Acts 7 Stephen was martyred and many in the church fled the persecution. In Acts 12 James the brother of John was killed by Herod, yet God sent an angel to release Peter from prison. Of the remaining eleven of ‘the twelve', ten died for their faith.


The truth is that God in His wisdom decides the fate of His servants. Some He takes through trials and others He takes around trials. Some die prematurely of violent deaths, others die of old age. There is no set rule! James established a teaching that trials are to be received joyfully for what they achieve in us (Jas 1). The message of Job was that it is not our goodness that sees us through but God's grace and mercy. When Paul cried out to God in his weakness, he was told by the Lord, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 13:9). Paul warned Timothy, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12) Jesus taught his disciples, If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (Jn 15:20). Yun himself saw the various things he went through a means of purifying him.


We thus need to understand that persecution is common – even if we ourselves have not encountered it. It is legitimate to pray to avoid it, or for it to be stopped, or for God's grace to be available to us in it. We may not always pray aright, but as we seek to be led by our Lord, we must simply trust Him and pray accordingly.

ii) Wisdom from Teaching

There will be some of us from the West who will struggle with some of the things which happened in this book. You will see two completely different prison experiences, the second one being because he took the words of the Lord about speaking with gentleness and respect and because he blessed those around him with care for their needs. Why you might ask, didn't he do that in the first regime and make life much easier?

Later on you will read about the poverty of his family and wonder about the inability of the local church and all those he ministered to, to provide for him and his family. You will read Deling's loyal words about how he 'generously' gave away her two precious crosses but you may also catch her anguish at her husband's insensitivity to her needs. Why didn't the church realise their responsibility to these servants of God? Why didn't Yun be sensitive to the inner needs of his wife?

May I suggest that if you do think like that, then it is likely that:

a) you take for granted the good teaching you receive from your own churches in the West, and

b) you haven't taken in some of the fundamental issues involving the church in China in this period, and

c) you haven't read on and seen the growth and change in both Yun and the Church.

For instance when you read (p.26) about how his family came to the Lord, you will see that, "My  mother had never learned to read or write" and, "couldn't remember much of God's word."  The very existence of the growing church was almost a miracle in itself in that it grew without the resources of the Bible that we so take for granted. You will also note that Yun's main focus was on preaching the Gospel and seeing salvation come, with very little reference to wider teaching at that time - and this from a man with very little education. Whereas many of us can testify to the benefits of teaching from so many great men of God from around the world, this resource was denied the church in China until they started having Western contact, and even then it was limited.

You may also find yourself struggling from time to time, with Yun's shear humanity. He was not and is not perfect - but then none of us are! In chapter 21 you will read of him leaping out of an upper storey window seriously damaging his legs. It is easy from our positions of ease to be critical of actions brought about by fear that were clearly unwise.  Similarly you may wonder why he did not enter into dialogue with his captors, explaining that neither he nor the Church was a threat to the State. Again it is too easy to be critical when we have not walked that path. In hindsight these things can be seen but, as is true of all of us, we don't get any warning at the time and perhaps don't respond with the wisdom that perhaps we could.


It is also worth bearing in mind that this was (and is) a church in the throws of revival, when the Lord was moving very powerfully in salvation and signs and wonders, and in such conditions it is often humanly difficult to maintain balance of Gospel preaching and subsequent teaching. In the chapters that followed, this need for teaching was being addressed. Moreover, as noted above, as the book develops there is a clear and obvious development of the church's teaching, especially about caring for our own family.

Never lose sight of the fact that this was an embryonic church with very little teaching input. If these thoughts go through our minds, also recognise various challenges:

1. If you wonder about the inability of the church to provide for its ministers - do you?

2. If you wonder about Yun's insensitivity to his wife - are you?

3. If you wonder about the focus on the Gospel and on salvation - do you have such a passion?

4. If you wonder about their lack of teaching, do you appreciate your teaching, value and apply it?

5. If you wonder about their simplicity and lack of teaching, cry for the same power they knew.

6. If you wonder about their slow development of teaching, is your knowledge & understanding growing?

7. If these needs of the Chinese church have impacted you, can you join in meeting their need?

8. If these examples of the Chinese church have impacted you, have you learnt through them?



e) The Chronology of the Book


We believe it will help the reader to be aware of the time-scale covered by the book and have produced the following to help you see WHEN various things happened and to catch an overview of the contents:





China becomes a Communist nation



Missionaries leave, pastors arrested

Early 1950's


Yun born



Deling (his future wife) born



Yun converted at age 16



Yun first arrested for preaching when he was 17



Yun's father died



Deling converted at age 18



Yun invited to join Three-Self Church but refused

Dec 1980


Yun & Deling married

Nov 1981


Yun arrested but escaped and on the run

Early 1982


Great wave of persecution across Henan province



Yun arrested and badly beaten in Wuyang

Dec 1983


Yun identified and taken to Nanyang – start of 4 year sentence

Jan 1984


Started long fast

Jan 25th 1984


End of miraculous 74 day fast

Apr 7th 1984


Sent to prison labour camp



Released from camp, after 4 year imprisonment

Jan 1988


Bibles brought in by Westerners

Mar 1988


Tiananmen Square massacre made many disillusioned with Communism & students & Govt. workers turned to Christ

June 1989


New wave of persecution against House Churches

May 1991


Yun arrested again & given 3 year sentence

Mid 1991


Transferred to labour camp

Oct 1991


Released early after serving 2 years

May 1993


Development of teaching in the church
Late 1993 on

Shown need to unify the House Church networks

Early 1994


First five leaders of Sinim (China) networks met

Nov 1996


Yun arrested again in capital of Henan Province

Mar 1997


Miraculously walked out of top security prison and escaped

May 5th 1997


Left China to fly to Germany

Sept 28th 1997


Arrested in Myanmar, imprisoned & given 7 year sentence

Feb 2001


Released from prison & returns to Germany

Sept 2001



f) Other Studies of the Book


Alternative studies the reader may like to carry out are to take note throughout the book of:

•  the many dreams or visions Yun received from the Lord to prepare or guide him,

•  similarly, dreams or visions Deling received to help her,

•  the many Scriptures Yun found helpful while in captivity,

•  the number of references to revivals or large numbers being saved throughout the period in question in China, despite the authorities' efforts to prevent preaching.


In such ways you may be able to more fully appreciate the moving of the Lord in the life and service of this man of God and his wife, and in the life of the Church in China.



g) What you will find in the Book


In this book you will find challenges. It is the story of a Church under a repressive government, and the beatings and imprisonments imposed by that government, specifically against this man (although many others are mentioned). In that respect it is a very unpleasant book.

It is also a book about the goodness of God, and as you go through it may we suggest you mark your copy of the book with a marker pen to highlight the number of times that the Lord gave guidance and direction to His servants and provided miraculously for them. 

It is also a book of great human courage as this one man draws on the grace of God in the most terrible of circumstances. However, to provide a balance perhaps, it is also good for revealing human frailty and imperfection as he and his wife struggle with circumstances that few of us in the West even dream of. Sometimes they got it wrong and confess their frailty.

It is also a book that you CANNOT do nothing about. If you dare read it, if you dare work your way through these sixty days of prayer, you will never be the same again. The challenges are too great!


h) What you need to be able to read this Book and pray for sixty days


Frankly, if you are going to read your way through this book, day by day for sixty days, and also pray using this guide throughout that time, you are seriously going to need the grace of God.

It is for this reason that at the beginning of each day's guidance notes we remind you to pray to ask for help. If you don't do that you ARE going to struggle and in fact we suggest you WON'T finish the course! You will need God's help to cope with what you read. You will need God's help to pray daily. With that help you are in for an amazing sixty days. May it be so!  Be blessed!




Return to top of page

Return to Main Contents Page