Henan province in central China is mostly a flat expanse of fields, towns and villages whose one hundred million people are sometimes looked down on by the rest of China as "bumpkins". However, Henan is probably the one province in China with the most Christian people living there. We remember the great revival of the Holy Spirit Who worked there. We pray today for the renewal of the church in Henan and that the Lord will save the people there from vicious attacks by the cults.
Adding to the humiliation of the people in Henan, the Chinese government has skewed opportunities away from them in the area which means so much to Chinese people--getting their children into universities. Historically, the believers in Henan are poorer and less educated than people in other areas of China which causes them to be less deeply rooted in Biblical teachings and it has been easy for them to fall into heresies. We pray for solid Bible teaching there and especially for those who aren't well-educated.
People in Henan have long complained that funds for education and openings in the universities have been tilted away from them and other large crowded provinces in favor of the wealthier and more privileged parts of the country, especially Beijing and Shanghai. We praise God for the rise of urban churches in China that have added many well-educated believers and we pray for wisdom for the churches to know how to disciple them and that they will not neglect believers with less education like those in Henan in teaching them to live out the teachings of Jesus Christ.
China's system of university recruitment is just one way in which inequity and political favoritism undercut the government's vows to deliver equal treatment to all citizens, creating an enormous chasm between villages and cities. We don't know the future of the rural churches in China but the sheer numbers of people in rural areas cannot be ignored as a mission field. We pray for better strategies to help the rural church grow and disciple more believers.
The vicious cycle of inequality of education persists for the people in Henan so they feel that it is better to be born in the city than in the countryside, better to be born in Beijing than Henan. We pray for rural believers not to feel discouraged or doomed, but rather ask the Lord to use their children, knowing God has His wonderful plan for all of them, and He will use those who are willing and faithful.
Educational inequality riles many Chinese families because they see education, especially getting admitted to a prestigious university, as an escape from a hard, uncertain life for both themselves and their children. Many parents see the success of their children’s education as their ticket to a good life and retirement. We pray for those believers who are disappointed in this aspect, and ask the Lord to remind, comfort and instill in us all, how to raise children to love God, the way He intended.
Under China's Intensely competitive and stressful system of exams to get into a university, each province and each city (such as Beijing) sets its own cut-off score for the exam. So when students apply to a school, they are not guaranteed to get in if they are past the cut-off number. We pray for all of the high school students in the churches as they face such immense pressure from their parents and the college entrance exams. May the Lord grant them strength, wisdom, and grace to persevere at this difficult time.