Being a "human rights lawyer" means a saint-like status in China. Human rights lawyers have defended many high-profile cases, based on the rights and religious freedoms offered by China's Constitution. Such tactics have endeared them to the people but not to the local officials. By nature Chinese do not like to stir up trouble and are quite likely to overlook injustice. We pray for a sense of justice, compassion such as what Jesus had, and a willingness to defend the persecuted in the hearts of all believers.
Television came to China in 1958 and currently about 95% of households there have TV. Chinese audiences are particularly fond of dramas so each year there are nearly 500 series or 10,000 episodes shown over 363 stations. Many believers are literally addicted to TV drama and spend all evening every day watching it. Let us pray for the many believers who are unable to break their habit of watching TV even to the extent of disrupting family lives and neglecting their children and church attendance.
China’s Defense University recently celebrated its 80th anniversary. Since the Sino-Japanese war, this elite school has produced high-ranking, well-educated leadership for the People Liberation Army. Government-approved seminaries and Bible schools provide all the pastors in the Three-Self churches. Let us pray for all the teachers and ask the Lord to give them not only wisdom in imparting Bible knowledge but also passion for churches and close personal walks with Christ.
One expert has said that “the gap of wealth in China is at an unacceptable level.” While absolute poverty may still exist, relative poverty is the overwhelming social concern. Rising costs of living, education costs and medical expenses are outpacing incomes.Many believers feel despondent and wonder why God has not blessed them with more material goods. We pray for all those who have financial burdens and struggle to believe that God is faithful. May we all find Him to be sufficient in all ways.
Confucianism is enjoying resurgence in China as more and more people seek ways to adapt to a culture in which corruption is rampant and materialism has become a driving value. For many Chinese a system of ethical teaching that stresses the importance of avoiding conflict and respect for hierarchy makes perfect sense. Many Chinese feel that Christianity is a Western religion and Confucianism appeals to their nationalistic pride. Let us pray for intellectual believers who will live out their faith and be a powerful testimony to the rest of the nation that Christ is indeed the answer to China's ills and problems.
According to some people the rift between the Three-Self and house churches is narrowing. Some pastors have left the Three-Self Churches and are now serving house churches. In other cities believers in the house churches attend selective programs offered by the Three-Self churches. Let us pray for these “cross-over” believers. May the glory of God be magnified and their spiritual gifts used to edify more believers wherever they are.
It has been a boom year in the Chinese stock and real estate market. It seems that everyone believes that the government will not pop the present bubble of euphoria before the 2008 Olympic Games. Churches in China have endured persecution and survived attacks by occult forces but they are doing poorly combating the present torrent of materialism. May the Lord's mercy protect all of us against materialism and the Chinese churches from becoming merely lukewarm groups of people.