Tuesday The biggest traffic jam took place on the highway between Beijing and Tibet, lasting 10 days and 100 kilometers long. Beijing residents are buying 2000 new cars a day and officials predict the average speed in the city will drop to below 15 km/hr. Too many cars and too little roads are causing Beijing to be known as the worst traffic-jam city in the world. Let us remember the Beijing churches in prayers. Traffic and parking spaces are becoming the limiting factors in church growth. House churches are particularly affected because they usually meet in office buildings or apartments. May the Lord give church leaders special wisdom in how to minister to many young professionals and young families in the city. Wednesday In Manilla eight tourrists were kidnapped and killed causing a lot of anger about the way the Philippine government handled this case. The locals often refer to Manila as "The Kidnapping Capital of Asia" We pray for Chinese churches in the Philippines that are guarded by gun-carrying guards, much like the Chinese stores there. We pray the believers will have the burden of sharing the gospel with not only the Chinese but also with the local Philippine people and even the Muslims. We pray, too, for the 150,000 laborers in Hong Kong and those minstries and churches with an outreach to serve their spiritual needs. Thursday In August of 1980 Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shantou in Guangdong Province became a "Special Economic Zone" and ushered China into the modern economic boom. This month, residents of Shenzhen received a birthday gift of "red packets"--a year's worth of free medical insurance.Health insurance is a luxury for all of the pastors, especially those in the house churches since t6he unregistered churches often lack the legal and financial ability to buy such coverage. We pray for good health both physically and spiritually for all of the church workers, especially those who serve in spite of being ill. Friday Shanghai is the economic capital of China. It has the highest personal GDP ($11,000 US) and has the second largest stock market (next to Wall Street) in the world. However, it has the largest exchange of gold in the world. Shanghai has the world's largest seaport and the busiest airport in Asia. We know that people often suffer spiritually because of material riches. In fact, we should pray that churches will not become lukewarm like the Laodecian church which was rejected by Christ in Revelatioin 3:14-18. Saturday It is well known that international name-brand goods and clothing are a lot more expensive in China than in other places even though they are made there. A pair of Levi's can cost three times more in China than in the United States. Famous foreign preachers have many followers in China who adore them and try to imitate their church growth methods. We pray that God will raise up a generation of Chinese Christian thinkers, preachers, and leaders who will model Christ with humility and passion. Sunday In spite of government efforts to improve safety, large scale mine accidents continue throughout China. With the nearly daily coverage of mine disasters and casualties, it is noted that the people in China have become numb to these reports of coal mine accidents. It is easy for believers to feel the same way about disaster relief, the recent flooding, and the earthquake last year. We pray that churches in China will become active and reach out to the needly not only when major disasters strike, but that they will always have compassion for the poor and disenfranchised in their neighborhoods. Monday A unique Chinese way of getting justice is for people to kneel in front of a government building to protest corruption by the officials and demand that their grievances be addressed by said officials. Such actions once covered by the media often swiftly bring down the "bad" person. In China when a church has a leadership problem, the church usually splits and many of the people in the congregation quit going to church rather than finding another one to attend. Let us pray for those churches that have split or have gone through division. May the Spirit of God bring healing to all involved so that disenchanted believers will learn to focus on God rather than on men.
Tuesday China is the only place in the world that has independent mosques for women along with their own ahong, or imam who leads prayers and teaches the Quran to them. Older ladies report, however, that the low pay and few economic opportunities which this profession offers mean that not many women are drawn to it. Churches in China also have a large number of female pastors. We remember their labor and faithful dedication to God and His people. May the Lord grant them strength to serve, courage to preach the word and may He bless their spouses and their children. Wednesday Many overseas Chinese who wish to donate support to their hometown in China often encounter the problem of finding a trustworthy person to receive and use the money properly. They frequently find that the funds were mishandled. Recently officials have revealed scandals involved in the funds sent for earthquake relief. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find people who are truly accountable for the money meant for church ministries. We pray for people of integrity to manage monies that are sent for helping the churches. May the Lord guard our hearts from greed and keep us all from temptation on those lines. Thursday The government of China tries to clean up the vulgar, low-class, and sexy things which are so prevalent in all forms of media there now. One example is the media fixation on big-breasted foreign soccer fans and images of such women everywhere. Believers cannot possibly avoid all the tempting media but we do need to keep ourselves pure. We pray the Lord will keep us all of us from degrading thoughts and that our minds and bodies may be pure as we conform to the image of our Lord Jesus. Friday Officials in China have declared that in the coming fifteen to twenty years half of the apartment buildings in China will need to be torn down and re-built. China is the country in which there is the most construction in the world even though all of the buildings can be used for twenty-five to thirty years.This statistic helps us realize that within the next two decades, half of the urban churches in China will have to re-locate. Let us pray for the congregations facing this problem. May the Lord give them wisdom, a vision to broaden their scope of ministry, and a willingness to reach out to their neighbors. Saturday An official newspaper in China reports that only 8% of residents surveyed in the cities are satisfied with way their cities are planned. Many grumble about the tearing down of buildings to make way for new ones and 83.5% said that the city leaders are merely trying to make a name for themselves.Many churches in China face relocation and repair each year. Building a new church or remodeling the old buildings can be divisive for any congregation. We pray for unity in all of these churches and may their new buildings bring a new beginning to their churches. Sunday The number of Christians in China has grown but it varies by the regions. Almost a quarter of the populaton of Henan is reported to be Christian. Seventy-five percent of the believers in China are in seven provinces: Henan, Anhui, Yunnan, Shangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu,and Zhejian. We praise the Lord for adding to the numbers who are saved and we lift up the people in the churches in those seven provinces as we pray. We can think that the people in these places are much like those in the seven churches in Revelation and the Lord is pleased by our prayers for them. Monday Guangdong province has 7% of China's population but has relatively few Christians. In 1918, 18% of the believers in China were in Guangdong. Historically a majority of the believers have been in the costal provinces but now they are mostly inland. We pray for all the believers in Guangdong which has been called "the soil turned hard by prosperity". May the Spirit come in revival power on them. We also lift up the difficult but fruitful ministry of reaching young believers who go there for work from the inland provinces.
Tuesday A gigantic mudslide following torrential rains killed more than a thousand people in Zhouqu, Gansu in China. A five-mile long river of mud with an average width of three hundred meters and five meters thick flattened everything in its wake beyond recognition. This is yet another disaster that has hit the area that is inhabited mostly by Tibetans who also live in Tibet as well as Sichuan, Gansu, and Qinghai provinces in China. We pray that the grace of our Lord would be on all Tibetans. We remember, too, Christians who are involved in disaster relief. May the Lord give them opportunity to share God's love. May there be more believers who will care about the work of the gospel among Tibetans. Wednesday A survey of Chinese youth between twelve and seventeen revealed that 96% of them say they will care for their parents when they get old but only 79% of the parents felt their children would be there to care for them when they were old. In 1 Timothy 5:8, we read, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." Let us pray for those elderly believers who do not have children to provide for them and take care of them. May the Spirit of God remind us all to honor our parents and take care of them financially. Thursday In China most college students want to work in state-owned enterprises. Their reasons are that there they get good salaries and benefits plus good working hours with a two-hour lunch break. However, they say that these positions are difficult to find because they have already been taken by people who have "guangxi" (connections).Our dream jobs and reality may be two entirely different things. Let us remember all the believers who feel that they do not have a job they like. May the Lord help us to realize that we should have a thankful heart knowing that we have work and the greater purpose for our lives is to glorify God and serve Him and His people. Friday In the past, those Chinese students who studied abroad were the "cream of the crop" but now anyone who has money can go abroad and the quality of those who return is mixed at best. Many more have returned than formerly and they have the advantage of having better English skills. However Chinese graduates also speak good English now. We pray for those who are studying English and preparing to go abroad. They will have more opportunities to encounter Christians and churches there. May the Lord help believers to show kindness to them, to share His love and the gospel of Jesus Christ with them, and to lead some of them to Jesus. Saturday The Education Ministry in China reports that 229,000 Chinese went abroad to study in 2009 which is an increase of 27.5% over 2008. In the same year 108,000 students returned (56.2% of those who went). In the past the number of Chinese students who returned has doubled every three years.Many Chinese students are exposed to Christianity for the first time while they are studying abroad. We pray for those who returned to China after their baptism. It is not easy to connect with churches once they go back to China. May the Lord continue to strengthen their walk with Him and enable them to find a spiritual home quickly where they can grow and serve Him. Sunday Youth in China today undoubtedly represent the most privileged generation of any in China's history. Globalization has brought iPods and McDonald's, and China's one-child policy means that these "one and only" children are the sole recipient of the affection of multiple sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles.Who will minister to this new generation? Let us pray for mature Christian role models who can relate to youth and give them worthwhile goals to strive for. We also pray for church leaders who realize they need to do more to make a place for youth even though at the present they do not know how to do this. Monday The divorce rate has shot up 20 times in the past 20 years, the most common problem is extra-marital affairs, which account for nearly 80% of the cases. When public officials involved in affairs, corruption, briberies and illegal deals are universally involved as well."He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. " (Pro 6:32) We remember believer families wrecked by affairs. May the Spirit bring repentance in the corrupted hearts, His mercy come and heal the broken hearts. We pray too for forgiveness out of the great love of God which brings about healing.
Tuesday The lyrics from a popular song in China satirizing Chinese parents who struggle to pay expenses for their child go like this: "Do you know, my daughter, how hard it is to earn money? To raise a child is so (expletive) hard. Is family planning still necessary? The great nation is super-rich. I've gotten nothing from the 4000 billions. The GDP keeps growing but who will buy diapers for me?" We pray for all of the believing parents who worry about how they will pay for the rising cost of raising their children. May the Lord give them assurance, wisdom, and a desire to raise their children to love the Lord above all. Wednesday Internet video is a new medium the younger generation in China has found to express their feelings. A folksong called "Happiness" says: "Happiness is paying 40,000 a square meter (of apartment) which I cannot afford... Now that I've bought happiness, it will take me thirty years to pay for it. Where is true happiness?" We pray for all young believing couples as they work so hard to make house payments along with saving for expenses for their child. May the Lord remind us all to keep Him as the Master of our house, growing closer to God and each other as we learn to serve in His church. Thursday There are many incidences of Chinese celebrities who were caught with shoddy and dubious academic degrees. Many claim that they have a master's or doctoral degree earned through life experience which they got from a foreign degree mill. Many Chinese pastors feel that since they do not have an academic degree they are inadequate in ministry. We pray for their efforts to receive more training and theological education. May the Lord help them to know that it is not by wisdom of men but by the power of the Spirit and His Word that people come to God. Friday Respecting elders is a virtue in the Chinese tradition. Conversely, young people complain that they do not receive "due respect" particularly in the churches in China where young pastors feel that the elders do not take them seriously. Let us pray for all the young workers in churches, for spiritual maturity and that they will trust in the Lord and not in their own wisdom and strength. We pray specifically for those who might be hurt or discouraged. May the Lord use a godly older person to give them encouragement. Saturday Some people describe the church in China as being "A mile wide, and an inch deep". Many of those who preach and shepherd churches need to be ministered to themselves. They are still learning but have people in their congregations who are much more mature in age and experience. It is difficult for young people to minister effectively in churches with older members. Let us pray for humility for all, both young and old. May the Lord give each of us tenderness in helping the younger shepherds learn to teach the Word of God boldly with conviction and with humility and gentleness. Sunday A year after the ethnic violence in Xingjian, the region is gradually returning to normal. This is a tense area where Muslim Uighur live side by side with Han Chinese. Many of the Uighur, however, do not speak Mandarin Chinese and so are unable to find jobs. Economic disparity and job discrimination are some of the issues of contention here. The work is hard here and not welcomed by the officials. Converts are ostracized from their families. The one bright spot is the college Bible study groups which target mainly the Han Chinese. We remember them in our prayers. Monday Although the Chinese government has repeatedly said that it has no plan to abolish the Cantonese dialect, there have been recent protests to keep the Cantonese dialect strong. China has many dialects but Cantonese is the only one which has its own radio broadcasts and television programming in China. There are likely more than four thousand Cantonese-speaking churches worldwide. Many of them are very mission-minded and send out missionaries worldwide. We thank the Lord for the great work the Cantonese-speaking churches have done and we pray the Lord will call out more workers from these congregations.
Tuesday In the recently held Hong Kong Book Fair 2010, fictions are still the most popular books, followed by literary genre. The once hot investment how-to books lagged behind because of the sagging financial climate. China churches, especially the rural, laborer churches, and also churches in the disaster-afflicted areas, receive a lot of donated books. Yet, the majority of these books stay boxed up and never reached the intended believers. Generally, the appetite for spiritual readings among Chinese believers is not good. We pray the Lord to give us hunger for spiritual readings, that our lives will be renewed and our love stirred because of the fervent reading. Wednesday Shanghai people are very practical, which is in their very nature. Shanghai men work outside and come home to do housework, too. They are humble, not demanding. Women from northern China consider Shanghai men not macho at all. But, to Shanghai men, they would not have it any other way. It is very difficult to teach the Biblical command of "wives submit to your husbands" in China, when the prevailing culture is "women hold up half of the sky." Let us pray for all the marital relationships of all the believers, for husbands to honor their wives and be considerate. We pray for many couples who can serve as good role models in their church as well. Thursday The divorce rate has risen considerably in China and 56% of while-collared workers consider their marriage "psuedo-happy." Two reasons that couples cite for divorce are stress from work and extramarital affairs. It is also said that Chinese married women often neglect to keep themselves "pretty and presentable," which contributes to marital discord. We believe God can "fix" all bad marriages and that marriages are for life. We pray that Christian couples would not give up and lay blame on their spouses, but ask the Holy Spirit to change themselves first, learning to accept and love, as Jesus loves us. Friday Recently police in Guangdong publicly paraded prostitutes in handcuffs and neck chains in an attempt to humiliate them and cut down the sex trade. Public Security at the highest level has ordered that police cannot do this but must respect the basic human dignity of all offenders. Christians often condemn prostitution in their cities but then they cannot really offer any positive or moral influence to help in a concrete way. We pray that believers will "hate the sin but love the sinner" as Jesus Christ did. We remember the few believers who purposefully reach out to those women trapped in prostitution. Saturday Mr. Yamasaki was a physician with the invading Japanese troops in the opening of the Sino-Japanese war. Now, he is 102 years old and still offers free medical care to local residents every Saturday as his personal "redemption." He deserted his troop and even stayed in Jinan, Shandong, and lives there still today. The Shandong province was once an important place in the history of the Chinese church revival in the 20th century. We remember the believers there, many of them are old but witnessed those glorious days of revival and the sending of the gospel band. May the Spirit of God come again to churches there. Sunday Since 1997, after Hong Kong's return to China from the British rule, Hong Kong's educational goal is "Two languages and three tongues." Schools aim to equip their students to be proficient in Chinese and English and to be able to converse fluently in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. To minister to Chinese churches overseas, those who are "two languages and three tongues" enjoy a great advantage. Let us pray especially for the growth and spiritual vitality of churches who are non-Mandarin speaking, for those who speak only Cantonese, Fujianese, Wenzhounese, or English. Monday China is now the world's second-largest economy, having overtaken Japan. China could even overtake the United States as the world's biggest economy in the next 20 years. Still, China's annual per-capita income is a mere $3,800. We thank the Lord for the great stride China has made in her economic development in the last 30 years. We pray China churches will also grow both in numbers and strength, spiritually and in her ability to minister to churches in China and in other countries.