TuesdayThe Beijing city government now prohibits lighting up a cigarette in any enclosed public space including offices, shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, airports and trains. This involves 4 million smokers in the city--a fifth of the population. We pray for believers in Beijing who are probably the most vocal and socially active Christians in China. May the Lord give them strong and powerful testimonies.
China has some 301 million smokers, almost one-third of the world's total. Smoking is also important to the country financially. A state-run monopoly manufactures one-third of the world's cigarettes and accounts for a significant share of state revenue. Children learn to smoke from their parents who smoke. We pray for Christian mothers who worry for their children because their father smoke and are often still non-believers.May the Lord sanctify their families because of their love and dedication to Him.
Beijing bans public smoking, but enforcement poses a challenge. The municipal government has banned smoking twice before — in 1996 and before the 2008 Olympic Games — and each time the ban was widely ignored. It is difficult to break all addictions. We pray for God's strength and power for believers who try to break their addictions of all kinds, whether it is smoking, gambling or pornography.
Millions of mainland Chinese visited Hong Kong every year. While these visitors bolster the local economy, they also crowd the long narrow streets of Hong Kong and drive up the price of consumer goods and real estate. How the residents of Hong Kong feel about their neighbors to the north is important because their churches have faithfully supported churches in China for years. We pray their commitment will not diminish.
Residents of Hong Kong are familiar with the national anthem of China. Since 2004, under a government initiative to enhance their "sense of national identity" local television stations have played it every day before the evening news. We pray for unity and harmony in the churches in Hong Kong as well as in Taiwan since different political orientations and preferences often spill into the churches, especially at election time.
Even though the words to China's national anthem are in Mandarin and people in Hong Kong speak Cantonese, a survey in 2014 found that more than 53 percent of the people could sing it. As Mandarin is popularized, Christian programming and praise music in Cantonese may be losing importance. We pray that churches using Cantonese will be very effective in sharing Jesus with their countrymen.
Playing the Chinese national anthem "March of the Volunteers" has chafed people in Hong Kong at time since they, a former British colony. have been until partial control of China. A recent survey claims that 14% of the residents of Hong Kong are "averse to" the song. The policies of Mainland China can evoke strong emotions in both Hong Kong and Taiwan, especially during election seasons. We pray churches will not be affected by these waves of emotion but will remain focused on Kingdom work and sharing the gospel of Jesus.
香港民眾對中國國歌頗為熟悉。自2004年為加強「市民的國民意識」，著香港電視台在每天晚間新聞前必須播放國歌。某些香港或台灣的教會有時會因為對政治、時事觀點的不同 (尤其在議會選舉期間) ，就出現摩擦。我們為此禱告，求神賜下合一的靈，又教導教會不要迷失在世界潮流中，忘記自己存在的目的和使命。