Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Prayer Request 9/7 - 9/14

A recent survey compares the tastes of young Chinese consumers with those of overseas youth. It found that Chinese young people do prefer name brands and trendy products but in terms of family values and saving money, they are more inclined toward traditional values. 88% of them trust Chinese name brands while only 65% trust foreign brands. Historically churches in China have not been "youth-friendly" nor do they feel they know how to reach the younger generation. However, churches that don't have young people are in danger of being disconnected from life. We pray for more church leaders who will reach out to the younger generation and make their churches more friendly for the youth.
Every year China sends high level officials and professors abroad to learn new management skills. However, once they return they invariably are not able to implement what they learned and must still conform to their old way of doing things. In the past many pastors from both open and house churhes have received special training or even visited abroad to learn more about leadership and church administration. May the Lord grant their wish of helping churches to be more transparent and the leaders to be more open in making decisions.
A report claiming 65.4 million vacant apartments exist in 660 Chinese cities, indicated by their zero electric meter reading for more than 6 months. That is an excess of housing units for 200 million people. Such report quickly aroused great public concern about the housing bubble. Chinese housing market has been so hot and everyone "make big money buying houses". Yet, so many believers feel they are still poor and they do not need to give to God at all. Lord help us to know how to be truly content and always give thanks lest we become greedy.
For millions of older Chinese Christians the poison of the Cultural Revolution remains in their hearts. The worst of this poison is the teaching "Doubt everything, overthrow everything". This explains why a seemingly innocent discussion of theology could quickly turn into a heated debate or even an outright attack. There is still a strong tendency to question any authority in the churches. For believers to genuinely and humbly accept others who hold a slightly different interpretation of the Bible is extremely difficult. Let us pray for the work of the Holy Spirit in changing our hearts and minds to have the humility of Christ, seeing others as better than we are.
Although Chinese parents are universally expected to help with the down payment on their children's homes, for young couples the choice is either to pay for an expensive apartment in the city and become a "house slave" or to buy a cheaper house in an outlying area and spend hours daily commuting to work. It is hard for Christian parents to give to the church because they save not only for their retirement but also to help pay for their child's house. We pray for trust in God Who will care for us and provide for all of our needs. We must have faith in Him and because they know about our devotion to our Lord, bring blessing to our children.
It is predicted that by the end of 2015 the total population of China will reach about 1.38 billion people with 700 million of them living in cities which means that more Chinese will be living in cities than in the villages. Rural churches have caught on to the shift in population and want to develop urban ministries but they often do not have the proper training and experience to minister to city folks. Let us pray for this important shift in the population in China. Rural churches have been declining as the young people move to the cities to work and stay there. We pray for vision, wisdom in long-term planning, and revival in all of the churches in rural regions.
Factories in the Pearl River Delta (Guangdong) have attracted tens of millions of Chinese workers from all over China as well as illegal workers who come mostly from Africa. The recent salary increases throughout the region have drawn even more illegal. It is estimated that there are almost a million illegal foreign workers in Guangdong Province, with a majority of them coming from Africa. Pastors in rural churches often have to take a part-time job to support their families. This is not only physically demanding but it also influences the effectiveness of their ministry. We pray that churches will treat their pastors as servants of God and take care of them financially by cheerful giving and not merely expect their pastors to "live by faith".

文革的傷害仍殘留在無數老一輩的中國信徒心裏。「懷疑一切,打倒一 切」的文革思想餘悸,常使原本單純的神學討論瞬間升溫,成為激烈的辯論甚至演變成相互攻訐。在中國,教會的權柄仍常受到質疑和挑戰。信徒很難真誠的虛心接受觀點跟自己略略不同的聖經解讀。求聖靈在眾信徒心裏 動工,作更新的善工,使我們學習基督的柔和謙卑心態,願以開放的胸襟接納別人的觀點,看別人比自己強。

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