The culture of brown-nosing becomes a costly competition during Teacher Appreciation Day, a national holiday in China in September, when students of all ages are expected to bring gifts to their teachers. Besides the pastor, churches have many who teach or lead fellowship groups or classes. We praise the Lord for all the teachers in churches, asking God for wisdom, humility and more spiritual gifts as they serve the Body of Christ.
In the past, a floral bouquet or fruit basket would suffice for a teacher's appreciation gift. Now many Chinese teachers expect to be given designer watches, expensive teas, gift cards, or even vacations. Churches in China have not been very good in showing appreciation to those who serve, wrongly thinking that “praise from men means loss of praise from God”. It is our prayer that we will not be stingy in showing appreciation to those who serve whether visible or behind the scene.
It is said that the value of gifts to teachers has grown fifty times from a decade ago. In Inner Mongolia, some parents said, more assertive teachers welcome debit cards attached to bank accounts that can be replenished throughout the year. Serving the Lord should never be for money, power or influence. We pray for churches that have lost confidence in or are dissatisfied with their leaders. May the Lord show them how they can correct it and help them to pray earnestly for their church and its leaders.
The news about corrupt officials who have multiple mistresses in China is no longer a shocker. Sexual immorality and corruption go hand in hand in China's society today and the young people there have very few good role models for their romance and married life. We pray for good solid Bible teaching and a good role model for young believers in the churches in China. May the Lord raise up couples who will minister to young people and help them to desire courtship and marriage that is blessed by the Lord from the very beginning.
The military in China is ending the so-called "paid services" which means they are giving up army-operated hospitals and hotels which have been a "cash cow" and provided a huge income. Corruption is everywhere in China and is a way of life. We pray for all believers who are striving to live their lives knowing that God is the Master and they want to resist temptation to greed.
The latest effort to improve and fight corruption in the military in China was preceded by the recent announcement that they are going to cut 300,000 troops. Despite these reform efforts, much resistance and deviation in their implementation can be expected. Church tradition and attitude are probably the hardest to change. We pray the Lord will bring revival and renewal to many churches in China, first by changing the attitude many churches hold so dearly. “we are the one who are spiritual and on fire for Him.”
In 2017 the Communist Party will hold its next National Congress and it is likely that at that time they will reveal the next line of succession.This is a difficult time for China as the economy slows and job prospects are poor for the unemployed and those newly graduated. Besides praying for the political leaders, we also pray for those who are replacing retiring pastors or are new to leadership in the church. May the Lord give them vision, a clear sense of the priority of the ministries God has given them, and a spirit of unity in the churches.