Tuesday The Academy of Social Sciences of China said in 2010 that the average price of an ordinary apartment in thirty-five cities has increased by 29.5%. This implies that an ordinary urban resident will have to spend his entire income for 8.76 years to buy a house and 85% of the households do not have the ability to buy a home. Let us pray for those believers, especially the younger families who are trying to buy their own homes. May the Lord add to their faith the trust that He will provide and care for all of their need. Wednesday Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities have a price/earning ratio of twenty or more which means it takes a person's entire salary for 20 years to buy an apartment.Shenzhen requires 15 years, Guanghzhou 13 years, and Nanjing 12. Although average incomes have increased, housing costs have jumped ahead of income. Rent increases when the price of housing goes up. Many urban churches that meet in residential apartments now must pay higher rent. We pray for their relationship with their landlords， their desire to own a meeting place of their own and above all, unity in their planning. Thursday The churches in rural China are being hit hard by secularism. Believers are ravaged by cults and there are even growing waves of serious corruption among church leaders. It is worrisome that the once-thriving rural churches of China are now the disaster zone of secularism. We need to redouble our efforts in prayer for rural churches in China and especially for the believers who are robbed of their shepherds or become disappointed by bad shepherds. May the Lord grant them mercy，return to the fold and a renewed faith in Him. Friday In the traditional Chinese home, the children will take over the family business and continue the family line. Experts warn parents not to call their only child every day but give them plenty of space when they leave home. Will the children from Christian homes continue to keep their faith after they leave home? We pray for the young men and women in China who grew up with believing parents. May the Holy Spirit continue to remind them of their sincere faith like Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5) Saturday When their only child turns eighteen and leaves home, the average Chinese parent is about 45-47 years old so there are fifteen more years before they become senior citizens. Experts advise them to make sure they have their own social circle and interests and do not depend on that of their child. Many Christians claim they will start serving God when their child is grown. We pray for all those who have made such prayers that the Lord will stir up in them a passion for His word, a love for His people, and the humility to serve Him. Sunday The economic disparity between urban and rural areas in China has caused many young and able farmers to go to the cities to find work. As believers move to the cities, the rural churches have suffered a huge drain in manpower and financial resources. We believe God can do miracles for the rural churches and we pray that believers and those shepherds who stay in the countryside will not be discouraged. May the Lord raise up many shepherds and mature believers to fill the gaps and even start new ministries. Monday What is a typical rural church in China like? For example, among churches boasting of hundreds of thousands of believers, there are no young people willing to serve because they all choose to work in the cities. There is great pressure for young people to find work in the cities because they know that the churches expect them work hard with little pay and no benefit packages. Few believers want to marry pastors either because they are poor. Let us pray for those who are making the decision to answer God's call. May the Lord give them faith to trust Him for every need.
Tuesday Christmas dinners and "Silent Night" specials are offered by hotels and restaurants throughout China now. Because of inflation, the average cost of these lavish dinners is nearly 10% higher this year than it was last year. Christmas Day falls on a weekend this year so merchants and consumers alike expect a bonanza. Many churches plan to make their Christmas celebration a time of outreach. Many also have special musical programs and services. We give thanks for the greatest Gift of all the ages and pray that every Chinese church will gain new friends through their outreach efforts this year. Wednesday Officials in China have reiterated that police there will no longer treat any woman who is arrested for prostitution with discrimination, abuse, assault, parading them through the streets and exposing them to public humiliation. They will stop calling these women "whores" and will instead refer to them respectfully and call them "fallen women". The vast majority of Chinese Christians looks down on and would not bother to reach out to those they consider to be sinners. The problem is that our Savior came to this world to be a friend of sinners. We pray that all of us will be reminded that we live by the grace of God and need to learn to have the compassion of Jesus as we strive to be more like Him. Thursday The Chinese government has invested heavily in scientific research to garner a Nobel Prize. However,when a Chinese citizen was awarded the Peace Prize, officials said that was awarded to a "criminal" and they felt they have totally "lost face". Preserving "face" is very important in Chinese society. Admitting faults and being transparent are considered weaknesses rather than strengths. We pray that this will be a time of soul searching for all Chinese and that believers will have true peace and a love for other believers rather than pretending that nothing is going on. Friday Since the financial turmoil two years ago and while Western countries have been laying off talented people, China has been hiring people with talents in finance and technology and luring them to work there. Many Chinese people have returned home because they believe that they have better opportunities in China. We pray for those who are believers. May the Lord open doors for them, not only to find spiritual homes there but also to be able to serve Him in those churches. Saturday In spite of the effort China has put forth to recruit talented people in the world market, many highly-talented Chinese people are not "returning home". In fact, more than four hundred thousand Chinese people emigrate abroad each year. It is also difficult to attract top workers from foreign countries to live and work in China long term. There are many Chinese pastors who desire to return to China to serve in a church or teach but few of them are able to stay long term because of family and finances. We pray for those who enter China to do short-term teaching. May their labor be fruitful and long-lasting. Sunday As the first people in the "only child generation" grow up and leave home for college, work, or marriage, it is common to see 40-50 year-old couples left in an "empty nest" in the cities.Young believers are usually so busy with their child that they find little time to get involved in church. Middle-aged believers have the advantage of having more time and maturity. We pray that more of them will seek to grow spiritually and better equip themselves with the scripture to serve in the church. Monday In the Women's Prison in Shanxi nearly half of the prisoners are there because they were unable to bear the violence inflicted on them by their husbands so they themselves turned to crime. Many victims of domestic violence in China run away from home, commit suicide, or turn to violence on their spouses. Many of the women in the churches in China have husbands who abuse them physically, verbally, or even emotionally but the majority of the churches are unable to help or the sisters are ashamed to tell others about it. Let us pray for them that they will have strength to trust in God and that He will bring deliverance.
Tuesday The Shanghai World Expo, from May to October boasted a staggering seventy million visitors. November's Asian Games in Guangzhou had 6.5 million visitors, and there were 1.16 million registered volunteers, or one for every eight people in Guangzhou. It seems that China is now an international powerhouse and destination, attracting people around the world to see the new China of the twenty-first century. Will the Chinese government give up its high-pressured way of dealing with the churches in China? We beseech the Lord to give the atheistic officials a heart to favor the Christians in those churches. We pray, too, that believers will be firm in their faith knowing that God has called them to give a strong testimony to His great power. Wednesday Several former top Chinese soccer officials will stand trial on charges ranging from taking bribes for fixing the outcome of games to placing players on the national team. A player had to pay 100,000 yuan (US$14,800) to 300,000 yuan to be picked and to play on the national team, Many believers in China do not trust those concerning the way their offerings are spent so they hold back in giving to the church. We pray that there would be more transparency among churches. We also pray that believers will learn to be cheerful givers and " That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute" (1Ti 6:18) Thursday About 2.79 million villagers in northwest Shaanxi Province who have been suffering from frequent natural disasters and poverty are to be moved to new homes with better conditions next year. This relocation will be the largest in the history of the country since 2006 when the Three Gorges Dam project dislodged nearly 1.5 million people to make way for the world's biggest dam on the Yangtze River and is scheduled to be complete by 2020. Let us lift up the churches in Shaanxi. Many of them are impoverished and without shepherds. (Eze 34:6) We pray that the leaders of the churches will see this great opportunity to share Jesus with many who were unreached before. May the Lord revive the churches in the whole Shaanxi Province. Friday Many churches in China do not give their pastors any salary and in most of them it is not a lack of offerings but the tradition of asking the shepherd to live by faith. Therefore, many pastors in the house churches are only part-time workers who are unable to devote full attention to their ministry. A lack of full-time ministers hampers church growth. We must pray for a change in the fundamental attitude of believers since they wrongly believe that church workers should not be paid lest they lose their trust in God. They also believe that a poor worker in the church is a more spiritual person. Saturday An expert commented, "Is this revival of the church in China a thing of the past? Although house churches seem vibrant on the outside, there are many hidden crises inside and there are also some significant setbacks." It is true that economic prosperity, secularism, and decisions based on theological differences are the things that kill the house churches. But, God has done a miracle and He will continue to do great things for the churches there, We are committed to keep praying for believers in China. Sunday In China there is the phenomenon of the "one-voice church". One person built the church or the meeting is held in a person's home, therefore that person gets to make all the decisions for that group and no one else can give feedback or raise a dissenting voice. We do not doubt the love and faithfulness of many of the church leaders but their authoritarian leadership style stifles the vibrancy of the body of Christ. May the Holy Spirit convict all of us to see that others are better than we are and give us the joy of seeing others grow mature spiritually. Monday In the past, many of the churches in China grew rapidly but lacked a clear administrative policy. Traditionally the monthly finances or offerings are reported each week during the service but numbers of churches never tell anyone about their finances and many believers feel uneasy about where their offerings will end up, so they hold back in their giving. We pray that the churches in China will soon learn how to manage their finances and there will be more discussion about their financial accountability and stewardship.
Tuesday Over the years, China's economy has depended mainly on cheap labor and the government has tolerated low wages for workers. So far, the government has mandated a "minimum hourly wage" in the coastal provinces and cities of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Fujian, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Shandong. The rest of the nation will follow. The church in China is rapidly shedding the image of being poor and dilapidated. We give thanks to God for this change. May the Lord bring revival to churches in these wealthy regions and stir the heart of believers there to trust in Him rather than in their wealth. Wednesday Doctors in China accept red packets (gifts/bribes) from patients. The city of Beijing has begun to crack down on such practices but ninety percent of the patients believe that in case of serious injury or if they need an operation, they need to give their doctors a monetary gift. Twenty years ago miraculous healing was very much a part of life in the churches in China. Many came to know Jesus because of the miracles. We continue to pray that God will revive believers who would seek His power and give Him all the glory. Thursday The main reason that people in China give monetary gifts to medical doctors is that they do not trust the medical system. When they enter the hospital, they feel it is necessary to bribe the doctors in order to be admitted and begin to receive tests. Chinese people want to "buy" favor or connection with their money. We pray for those believers who feel they do not have money or special connections. May the Lord give them confidence that they are important to Him and special in His church. Friday Patients give doctors money when they need surgery, have serious illness, or require major procedures. Over the years patients have come to feel they must give a money gift to the obstetricians so twenty-four percent of Chinese mothers have given red envelopes to doctors for the birth of their child. We remember those believers who will need surgery or to receive the diagnosis of an incurable illness. Their family will want to spend all they can afford to seek a cure for their loved one. We pray for all who might not be able to afford the care, that the Great Healer might comfort them. Saturday When patients go to a famous hospital or a well-known doctor, they typically will give more red envelopes than to lesser well-known places or physicians. Giving doctors a monetary gift gives the patient peace of mind and most people believe they actually receive better treatment because they have "bribed" the doctors. The greatest fear for many Chinese people is that they will not have enough money to pay for future illnesses. We pray for all believers that they will put their trust in God, give Him thanks for their present health, and most importantly desire to serve the Lord while they have good health. Sunday The cost of giving red envelopes to medical doctors has increased steadily over the past ten years. More than half of the patients said they give 1000-5000 yuan (US $150-$1000) or more. Many patients say they also try new and different ways to give money to doctors. We take this time to remember all the believers who have chronic illness and the expenses of medicine and follow-up which they face. We pray for continuing faith in God and trust in Him that He will not abandon them but keep them in His hands. The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nah 1:7) Monday It is common in the churches in China not to tell their members anything about their finances. Although there usually are different people who handle the receiving of the money and the paying out of the expenses, there is often no real supervision or accountability on how the money is spent. We pray that the Holy Spirit will guard those who are in the position of overseeing the finances of the church and that all of the believers will have integrity and be faithful to the Lord. May the Lord protect each of us from pride, greed, and self-deceit.