Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prayer Request 10/26 - 11/1

It is said that, while doing business in Shanghai, there is no need for socializing, no need for drinking, only to let it be known that there is money to be made and that would be enough. Shanghai is a good place to make a deal, legally. Beijing people like to say, "Shanghai people are businessmen; they do everything by the book." Conducting business with integrity is very challenging in China. We pray for all believers as they strive to live according to God's high standard. May the Lord give us all conviction to refuse to compromise and He will not fail us.
Shanghai people are pragmatic in every way. If you told a Shanghai person that you are an author, he would ask you, "Is your book selling well?" If you told him that you are a professor, he will certainly ask you, "Do they pay teachers well?" Certainly, believers have little idea how much their pastors are paid (this is not usually made known to the congregation in China). However, few parents would encourage their children to go into ministry because of its meager salary. We pray that Chinese believers will be good stewards of God's money and that they will take good care of God's servants, financially.
To be the most livable city in China it is required to have the following qualities: fast and convenient transportation, be clean and orderly with no pollution, have good air quality. A recent survey listed Shanghai as the first on the list with Dalian following as the second one. Both cities have many foreign companies, many expats, and many Chinese who have been abroad and returned there to live. Many of them are Christians who have formed fellowship groups for Bible study. May the Lord use them to lead others to Christ and become a great resource for the local churches.
In China, religious beliefs have gone beyond the place where the government is able to control them any more. Two-thirds of those who described themselves as religious in a 2006 survey said they were Buddhists, Taoists, or worshippers of a folk god such as the Dragon King or the God of Fortune. Many Christians have observed that preaching Jesus is now meeting opposition in China. It can be discouraging to see many temples popping up everywhere. We pray that the desire to evangelize there will not fade and that many more of us will see the urgency to do so also.
In the Taoist and Buddhist religions Mazu is a goddess who protects sailors. Recently the worship of Mazu was reclassified as "cultural heritage" rather than a religion, thus making it acceptable for Communist Party members to practice it. Communist Party members are still prohibited from believing in Jesus but we know God still loves every one of them. We pray for those who have the seed of the gospel but are afraid to profess the name of Jesus. May the Lord show Himself real to them.
In 2009 the Chinese government reversed its decades-long prohibition of ancestor worship and made the traditional Grave Sweeping Day a national holiday. This made worshipping ancestors legal and encouraged officials to participate. For centuries the question of whether believers are allowed to worship their deceased parents or not has divided the church in China. We pray for those who are afraid of accepting Jesus because they feel they would longer be able to honor their parents after they are gone.
The Chinese government has given special favor to Buddhism and its activities saying it is a Chinese cultural heritage and must be promoted. Some scholars believe that this move is made to counterbalance the rapid growth of Christianity in China. The resurgence of temple worship in China is very striking and it even includes little children. However, it is illegal to share the gospel with children or anyone under eighteen years old. We pray for new strategies, urgency, and a burning passion to take Jesus Christ to the new generation of Chinese.

宗教信仰的傳播之快,遠遠超出政府預期,多種中國傳統宗教也日漸復興。官方說,自認有信仰的人中,有三分之二是信奉佛教、道教、龍王或財神爺。 許多中國基督徒都能感受到,現在傳講主耶穌,越來越被人抗拒;,然而寺廟卻幾乎無處不在。求主幫助我們,無論得時不得時,務要積極傳道,在這末世人心厭煩真道的時候,有更多信徒仍然信心堅定,興起發光為主盡力搶救靈魂。
政府對佛教活動常給予特別的優待, 認為是中國傳統文化。有學者認為,此舉意在使佛教與眼下在中國傳播發展迅速的基督教信仰相抗衡。 近來中國的廟宇煙火興盛十分驚人,甚至孩童也參與其中。但是現時向18歲以下的人傳福音仍屬違法。求主賜給我們智慧、使命和火熱的心,將主耶穌的救恩傳遞給中國的新一代。

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