Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Prayer Request 3/19 - 3/25

China is facing its most precipitous decline in population in decades. China’s notorious “one child” policy may have achieved its original aim of slowing population growth, it has also created new challenges for the government. Young Chinese couples who are predominantly one-child themselves are not interested in having more children. We pray that Christian parents will see children are gifts from the Lord and know that it is more than providing education but also teach children to know the Lord from a small age.
China raised the limit to two children for all families in 2016, in hopes of encouraging a baby boom, but it did not work. A decline in the birth rate and an increase in life expectancy means there will soon be too few workers. Aging of pastors and church members, in general, is an obvious trend too. We need to pray for the Lord of the harvest to provide more workers for His field, who effectively minister to the needs of the ever-increasing numbers of seniors in church.
The birth rate in China went up slightly after the relaxation of the one-child policy but continued to fall again in 2017, with 17.2 million babies born compared to 17.9 in 2016. Although the number of families having a second child rose, the overall number of births continued to drop. Many young Chinese couples consider having children as expensive and troublesome. We pray for Christian families that they will see raising children to love the Lord is the most blessed and rewarding accomplishment of their lives and enjoy the fruit of their labors.
In China, the total number of births for 2018 could fall to as low as 15 million. The fertility rate required to maintain population levels is 2.1 children per woman, a figure known as “replacement level fertility.” Let us pray for the children's ministries in China. It is always God’s desire that parents shoulder the responsibility of raising up godly children for Him. We pray for vision and strategies for church leaders as they work out ways to provide worship for the entire family under the given restrictions.
China’s fertility rate has officially fallen to 1.6 children per woman, but even that number is disputed. As in other countries, there are myriad reasons for the declining birth rate, including rising prosperity and new opportunities for women to work outside of the home. Couples who are both the only child have a heavier burden in caring the elderly parents of both sides. We pray that all believers will fulfill their responsibility of honoring their parents, supporting them financially and spiritually, so they would also be blessed by the Lord.
China’s economic expansion has created a society where many young couples now struggle with economic pressures, including rising education and housing costs, making it difficult to have even one child, let alone two. Let us pray for Christian parents and grandparents who will pledge themselves to be the spiritual pillars in their families, like Joshua who proclaimed, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”.
The most profound cause of the drop in birth rate in China is the “one child” policy. Fewer children were born, and because of cultural preferences for male offspring, fewer of them were girls. Most churches in China do not have many young believers. Young sisters are often pressured by their parents to marry earlier and often with non-believers. We ask the Lord to give them the very best marriage partners and provide them mature elders in the church who would care and minister to them.