Although there are laws against discrimination in China, "hidden discrimination" in hiring abounds there. It includes: people with hepatitis or HIV; girls taller than 1.6 meters or men taller than 1.7 meters; people aged 35 and above; handicapped people; restrictions on pregnant women; people with certain blood types, using zodiac signs or fortune telling in selecting an applicant. In China, Christians do not usually profess their faith at work. We pray for those who do let others know they are followers of Jesus. May they have a powerful testimony and may their lives touch people in ways that glorify God. We pray especially for believers who work for the government at various levels for integrity and a positive influence in their workplace.
A foreign magazine said that sixteen million Chinese women are married to homosexual men. They are trapped in loveless and often miserable marriages and many are victims of abuse and violence. They are known as tongqi combining the words tongzhi or comrade which is the Chinese slang for "gay" with qizi which means "wife" in Mandarin. Let us pray for these women and also all the women who have found no joy or happiness in their marriages. Christian women can have a powerful testimony and be a support to these women who have "unspeakable shame" or unfaithful husbands. We know God cares for and listens to the prayers of widows.
Christian businessmen (and factory owners) have an important role in evangelism in China, especially in cities like Shenzhen and Donguan in the South. These men allow and encourage the sharing of the gospel in factories and workers' dormitories. Many businessmen who went to China to try their luck at starting a business have also come to know Jesus. Numerous overseas Chinese believers have gone back to China for business along with evangelistic opportunities. Let us pray for God's blessing for these kingdom-minded believers and their ministry in the factories.
Any generalization concerning the churches in China is flawed but the lack of quality church leadership is a common problem. It is true that God can use all kinds of people but those who lack leadership ability, genuine humility, and maturity inflict injury to God's churches. Many people seem to be fine and willing workers but once they are in a position of leadership they become full of pride and care more about personal gain than fulfilling their calling to serve. Let us remember the believers who are under such leadership. We look to God for His discipline for them and realize that pride can blind even the best of us.
The government says that in 2009 there was a significant increase in both the number of students who went abroad to study and those who returned. Of the 230,000 people (a 27% increase) who studied abroad, 90% of them were not sponsored by the Chinese government. Last year 110,000 scholars (a 56% increase) returned and 80% of them were not sponsored by the government. Many Chinese students accepted Christ abroad and returned to involve themselves in campus ministries. We pray that God will use their profession of faith as a lamp in the dark and that they will be a great blessing to and mobilize the house churches in sharing the gospel in the cities.
Since the implementation of the one-child policy in the 1970’s, population growth has been effectively controlled in China. However, this has created the so-called "4-2-1" families where one child must bear the burden of support for two parents and four grandparents. We pray for all the believers who have aging parents. May the Lord give them patience, tenderness, and respect knowing that God wants us to honor our parents and when we care for them God will bless us. We are thus a good testimony to non-believers also.
In many large cities in China the "one-child generation" finds it difficult to know how to support aging parents and grandparents. They feel they do not have enough time and resources to care for and raise their own child let alone caring for the older generations. We pray for believers who have both children and aging parents. May the Lord give them joy and wisdom in taking care of both the young and the old. May He give them strength, encouraging words, and blessings as they live out the love of God in their families.