Tuesday China is coming across as being very smug recently as she shows off her new military capabilities. She has begun to project her power in Asia and elsewhere and directly challenge the domination of the United States which is commonly referred to as the Bruce Lee Syndrome". Bruce Lee was not only a master of kung-fu in movies and philosophy, he is also regarded as a nationalistic hero who defeats oppressive foreigners. Some believers naturally feel that God has given the churches in China the unique role to complete the evangelization of the world and in their zeal, they look down on the prior missionary efforts of Western nations and even those of the Korean people. We pray that believers will approach evangelism, not with ethnic and nationalistic pride but with humility and a repentant heart. Wednesday In recent years the number of scientific papers published by Chinese scholars has dramatically increased so that they surpass the number of those published by people in the United States. However, despite the volume of these "reseach results" very little is being quoted from them by other scientists which shows that the quality of their research is still not up international standards. It also presents an ethical dilemma when someone uses a sermon or Bible study materials from the internet as if it were his/her own. Let us pray for everyone who teaches in the churches in China. May the Lord give them an understanding of God's word, and conviction by the Holy Spirit of how to make the Scripture practical and applicable for their listeners. Thursday The quality of scientific research in China is not up to the international standard which is evidenced by the fact that research by China's scholars is rarely referenced by other scholars (ranked 100th in the world). The big problem is that so much of this "research" is fraudulent since many colleges reward the writing of scientific papers without requiring actual research. Many would say that Chinese believers have good testimonies but they are lacking in original and fresh theological thinking. The Chinese church is still young and is only beginning to have believers who are truly gifted with reasoning. Let us pray for all the seminarians and Bible scholars in China. May their study and writing become an influential force and their godly lives be an inspiration to all believers. Friday Some Chinese colleges and universities use various financial incentives to boost their ranking, enhance the image of the school, and increase their publications. Such drives lead to faculty members publishing as many fake scientific papers as possible without doing any reasearch. The ethical standard of professors and teachers is often neglected in the pursuit of a financial reward. In most Chinese house churches it is hard to actually count the number of members and the temptation (and tendency) to claim huge numbers is always there. Again, we pray for revival for all of the house churches, not merely in numbers but in individual spiritual growth and a healthy leadership structure. Saturday For college professors in China, the more papers or books they publish, the more money they receive from the school, the faster they get promoted and the better their tenures. Under such pressure, it seems that everyone is doing fake "research", buying results from other people, having someone else write the paper, or even publishing textbooks of poor quality knowlingly. There is a great deal of fake goods on the market, even basic nutritional items such as milk powders and cooking oils. We pray for genuine Biblical teaching, not just the promise of prosperity and healing for those who clamor for them but instruction on the true cost of discipleship and carrying one's cross as a follower of Christ. Sunday Experts believe that the current plight of the college education system in China stems from their trying so hard to become research institutions without doing good research. Many professors do not possess the ability or proper training to do research so the quality of their scientific papers reflects this deficit. One big need is the improvement in the moral standard of the faculties in colleges. It is a natural tendency to want to have more members and bigger buildings than the next person. Let us pray for those churches that have more than five hundred members. The majority of them are Three-self churches but few have full-time pastors. We pray for those members who are responsible for caring for the congregation and even do the teaching without a title or pay. Monday The one-child policy in China has resulted in the unique phenomenon of the stealing of children. It is very common for children to be kidnapped and it is unofficially estimated that about 70,000 children a year are sold on the black market. Anhui province is well-known as a region where there is large-scale kidnapping, then maiming them, and forcing the children to beg. We pray for divine comfort for those parents who have lost their only child because of kidnapping, illness, or an accident, and that a Christian may enter their lives to share Jesus' compassion with them. We also pray for all believers whose only child has been kidnapped by the god of this world so that he no longer walks with Jesus. May the Lord have mercy and bring them back to Him.
Tuesday While Japan suffers from its worst earthquake in centuries, China is also dealing with the aftermath of its own deadly earthquake in Yunnan. China and Japan are closely linked economically but their ties are often strained with lingering bitterness over Japan's brutal occupation of China during World War II. However, the Chinese have expressed admiration for the orderly manner in which Japan has seemed to handle this disaster.We pray that this would be an opportunity for Chinese believers to reflect on how the love of Christ compels us to forgive, especially since Japan is the biggest mission field nearby. Wednesday With the booming economy in China coupled with the emerging middle class that is willing to buy expensive products, it is expected China will become the world's largest market for luxury goods by 2020. The sheer number of Chinese consumers which includes a swelling number of millionaires will account for the consumption of 44% of global luxury goods. In the churches in China it is no longer a big deal to own name brand clothing and accessories. We know it is not what we own or wear that defines a person so we want to pray that all believers will have a sound Biblically-based value system and realize the danger of materialism. Thursday The consumers of luxury goods in China love to show off their wealth and achievement by not only buying for themselves but also buying for their friends and families. More than half of the consumers surveyed said they have been or are planning to buy luxury goods. Currently 875,000 Chinese are said to have a net worth of a million US dollars. Chinese are generally modest people, not usually wanting to flaunt their wealth, except when they become "rich". However, the young people today are very different. They feel they must have the "hottest" and "coolest" stuff. We pray for young Chinese Christians that the Lord will show them what it really means to be content, not greedy and also not to envy. Friday With the one-child policy in place in China, there is one younger couple to take care of four elderly parents. The cost of caring for seniors has also skyrocketed as rural communities become more urbanized. Chinese know that if they do not save enough money themselves there might not be anyone to take care of them when they get old. We as Christians should honor our parents and take care of them when they get old. Let us pray that young believers will not only care for their elderly parents but that they will do it in gentleness and love so they can be a good witness for Jesus and be able to share the salvation of Jesus with them. Saturday One of the reasons Chinese people save more than they spend is the lack of financial services in the country. They are unable to obtain loans and those who go from villages to work in cities feel they must save to buy a house there so they will not be excluded from the basic services a city offers. We remember those believers who work in cities. They all try to save enough money to send home. May the Lord give them strength, faith in God, and the desire to continue to walk closely with Him. So often, they manage to save some money but pay a huge price in a faltering marriage and their relationshp with their child. Sunday With the rise of urban churches and more highly-educated believers, the churches in China must naturally respond to social and cultural events by declaring their position. This is good because many churches act as if they are totally disconnected with current events and it shows their concern. Young Chinese believers are ready to accept whatever is in vogue and have very different opinions from those of the older generation. May the Lord give these churches discerning, convincing, and wise leaders whose Biblical views will provide guidance and direction for the many younger believers. Monday Religious tours have become very trendy and popular in China. The faithful join tours of major temples that include stays in the temples and other religious activities such as meditation and lectures on Buddhism or Taoism. This tourism has also become a major source of income for the temples.Religions, especially Buddhism and Taoism, are enjoying a resurgence in China and the local government openly promotes and welcomes tourism to religious sites. Believers often give up sharing with their Buddhist or Taoist neighbors. Let us pray that churche s will redouble their efforts in reaching out to the lost and not give up sharing Jesus with their neighbors.
Tuesday Since 1978, it is mandatory that Chinese male workers and Party members retire at age 60; female workers retire at age 50, but female Party members get to retire at 55. Government is considering changing such rigid requirement because of the inequality and huge waste of human potential. There are untold numbers of sisters who have retired early and have helped in all aspects of church ministry. The visitation, caring and teaching they perform make up for the shortage of pastors in their churches. We praise the Lord for all of their service and we pray that many will be blessed because of their dedication, both as Mary and Martha. Wednesday Although the tradition has been giving money to the groom to buy an apartment or a car, the new judicial rule regarding marital properties is that whoever buys the house before marriage gets to keep it. This gives confidence to many parents of daughters to buy a house for their daughter. All parents want the marriage of their children to be successful. We pray that Christian parents will have the wisdom to teach their children the fear of God and that to serve Him is to be blessed. We pray that above all they will continue to pray for the young family and always be a godly influence on the new couples. Thursday hat the groom buys the house and the bride pays for a car is a longstanding wedding tradition in Zhejiang Province. However, when the the cost of a house is figured in the millions and even tens of millions, it has become a touchy subject for young couples and their parents to decide who does own the house. Given the high divorce rate, even a Christian couple in China is at risk of breaking up. We lift up those who are Christians but are married to non-believers. May the Lord give them special grace and an extra measure of patience knowing that God loves their family. Friday The most recent judicial interpretation of China's "Marriage Law" states that when a married person lives with someone and that person seeks monetary compensation to quit living with that person, the court does NOT support it. There are many couples in the churches in China who have broken marriages and the spouse is living with someone else. We pray for those who are going through not merely rough patches but turbulent times in their marriages. May the Lord give them special grace knowing that He will not abandon them and through all of this may their faith in Jesus grow even more. Saturday There are many young female college graduates who cannot find a good job so have decided to find a Sugar Daddy and be a mistress.The new "Marriage Law" has put an end to the dream that young women have had that they could be compensated legally for being a mistress. Nearly everyone in China knows of someone who has a mistress or has had an affair. Unfortunately, even Christian men are not immune from such actions. We pray again for the guarding of hearts and that they will stay away from temptation and live with a renewed commitment to their families and those of all of the other brothers. Sunday The new interpretation of China's "Marriage Law" states that if a wife decides to have an abortion her husband has no right to stop her and cannot seek compensation. If a couple fights over the issue of conception and wants a divorce, the court will allow it. There are many Chinese believers who have no children and are unable to have them. We remember them in our prayers. May the Lord bless them with His joy. May they have spiritual maturity and be able to help others in the church and become a great blessing to them. Monday The Supreme Court of China's new judicial interpretation of the "Marriage Law"which says, "After marriage, the parents of one member of the couple must buy real estate and record it in their child's name as a gift to their child. It is not joint communal property of the couple." has caused a heated debate. We pray for believers who must help pay for the house of their soon-to-be-married child. It is indeed stressful financially and emotionally. We pray that Christian parents will not only give their child a piece of valuable property but also their faith that "Christ is the Head of our house".
Tuesday China is the world's second largest market for luxury goods and in ten years it is expected to be the top one, consuming 44% of the world's luxury goods. Ironically a recent report siad that the phenomenon of having a mistress (er naior second wife) accounts for the consumption of a third of the luxury items in China so we can see the staggering problem of corruption there. It is disheartening for believers to see wicked people prosper and still go unpunished. The greatest challenge of being a Christian in China is no longer standing up for one's faith but rather staying faithful to God. May the Lord have mercy on each of us as His church and may He guard our eyes and minds from evil. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (Psa 73:25 ) Wednesday In China men are more likely to buy luxury goods than women. These items are used as a "lubricant" to make smooth business deals and seal such transactions. Another reason for buying them is to please a mistress. The culture of giving luxurious gifts in business is very prevalent as a means of showing trust among businessmen and explains why luxury items are uniquely popular in China. Giving gifts is a long-standing tradition in China but the intentions for such giving are often blurry ethically. We pray for wisdom, integrity, and a strong Christian testimony for all believers, not only in the workplace but also in personal dealings and even in the church. Thursday In China, mistresses love to dazzle people by wearing luxury items in public as a way to show off the fact that they have a wealthy benefactor. To understand such a phenomenon, one needs to realize that mistresses are very insecure people and when a government official boasts that he has a mistress, he is spending beyond his salary and the money invariably comes from corrupted means and deals. It is said that those who can afford it, wear name brands and those who cannot, buy fake things. This mentality can also be found among believers. As we point fingers at so much corruption around us, we pray that the Holy Spirt will remind us what it means to live a life of contentment and purity. Friday China is grappling with a prolonged drought which affects wheat production in the northern region of the country. Inflation coupled with drought has driven the cost of flour up eight percent in the past two months. In the last two years China has even stopped exporting wheat. We do believe that God listens to our prayers, even those about the weather and rainfall, so we remember all of the farmers who are facing a poor harvest this year, especially those who are believers. We pray, too, for rural churches in the northern part of China, especially those that are weak and without a shepherd as well as the churches that are now stagnant and even unfed. May the Lord provide physical, financial, and spiritual nourishment for them. Saturday The White House is opening an internship program for students from mainland China. Ten students from Chongqing will be selected to participate in a month-long internship at the White House this year. Applicants must be independent, sociable students with skills in leadership and debating. They must enjoy challenging the viewpoints of others and defending their own. The vast majority of pastors in China who are in training in seminary are thrust into serving in churches without the benefit of learning from a more experienced worker. Let us pray for wisdom, great interpersonal skills, and support from believers in addition to a close walk with Jesus each day for each of these seminary students. Sunday In 2000, Chinese aged 65 and over made up 6.8% of the population of China but by 2009, this age group composed a total of 8.3% of the population which is significantly higher than the world average of 7.5%. One thing that is unique to China is that the elderly are not financially well off. It is fair to say that older believers make up the majority of people in the churches in China. Seniors may not be able to give financially but they have a lot of time. We pray for their spiritual vitality and all of the time they give to visitation, teaching, and service in the churches. May their efforts be fruitful and be a great inspiration for all of the young believers. Monday Educators in China say that the culture of cheating there takes root in high school where the competition for slots in the country's best colleges is unrelenting and high marks on the standardized tests are the most important criterion for admission to college. Students focus on studying how to take tests and memorizing answers rather than learning to apply what they learn and think for themselves. Thus, they resort cheating to graduate. Many Chinese believers are very impressive in their ability to memorize Bible verses. It is our prayer that all of us would be doers of God's word rather than merely having it stored up in our heads and thereby justifying ourselves as spiritual and superior to others.