Since the new religious policy was implemented in China, many house churches have been shut down due to their "illegal religious activities". Christianity is now perceived of as a political danger which is vulnerable to "foreign infiltration" so it is tightly controlled. This crackdown has caused believers to be scattered and some have even left their churches or ministries. We pray for continuing love and fervor for those who now worship in smaller groups in their homes. May the Lord use them to take the gospel to more people and places (Acts 8:1-4)
The new religious policy in China allows house churches to be registered in their neighborhoods. However, many overzealous local officials are forcing house churches to join the Three-self churches, rather than simply register with the authorities (and technically be able to worship openly). We know there are always many difficulties involved in complying to the laws of the land. Many church leaders have strong personal convictions and have had bad experiences. We pray these people would have wisdom and vision as well as favor with the authorities.
As the religious policy in China tightens, some house churches are forced to relocate. Local officials often threaten the landlords to "get rid of the tenants engaged in illegal activities" lest they themselves face fines or seizure of property, so they would either cancel the lease or raise the rent steeply so a house church could no longer afford it. Many churches have to meet in smaller groups at homes, rather than together in their rented facilities. Let us pray for churches who are debating the very thorny question of whether to register with the authorities in order to worship legally. May the Lord give them peace and faith in these difficult days.
The new religious policy has also deeply affected student ministries on many college campuses in China. There is a lot more pressure from teachers than in the past, and school officials specifically warn students not to attend these small Bible study groups. In general, there has been a drop in attendance. Many young people come to know about Christ for the first time through campus ministries. We pray for boldness and strength for both the leaders and the students. May the Lord reward their dedication and bless them with a good harvest of souls.
Even as the religious policy tightens in China, many believers have shown resilience in dealing with pressure and continue to rely on the Lord. More and more people have realized the importance of discipleship through families and small fellowship groups and sharing the truth orally, instead of relying on books and handouts. We pray that Christian parents will realize that it is the responsibility of parents to rear godly children and not delegate that responsibility to God Himself or to the churches or Sunday schools. May there be a revival of family worship in the homes of Chinese believers.
China's divorce laws state that residential property is not regarded as jointly owned and does not need to be divided equally in the event of a divorce. Instead, whoever paid for the apartment or house is the legal owner and gets to keep it in its entirety. The divorce rate in China is rising and in churches too. We pray for more Christian families to bear witness for Christ in this time of high divorce rates and “quick marriage, quick divorce” among the young people. We specifically pray for Christian fathers to wake up and take up their God-given responsibilities for their families.
The law in China now readily grants a divorce if evidence of physical violence, abuse, or abandonment can be proven and interventions have failed. We pray that churches will attempt to provide at least some teaching on preserving marriages. Pastors are often overwhelmed with many ministry demands, and we ask the Lord to raise up mature older believers whom young couples can model and seek for guidance and encouragement.