China’s medical system is in a crisis. Waiting in long lines to see doctors is a requisite and patients must go to bigger cities to see a specialist. We pray for believers who have relatives, especially older parents with chronic illnesses. The Lord gives them physical, emotional and spiritual strength, and enables them to fulfill the responsibility of honoring their parents and enables them to share and witness His love.
The economic boom in the past thirty years has transformed China from a poor farming country into the world’s second-largest economy. It is true that the cradle-to-grave system of socialized medicine has contributed to the improved life expectancy and maternal mortality rates there. We praise God for the prosperity China has enjoyed and we pray for continuing growth of His body there, whether it is in good or bad time, knowing His hands are always with those who love Him.
Wealthy Chinese have access to the best care in top hospitals with foreign doctors, but the rest of people are relegated to hospitals that are overcrowded. In the countryside, people must rely on village clinics or travel hundreds of kilometers to find an adequate hospital. Seeing a doctor in China requires money, time and also guanxi (connection). We pray for believers who are ill, that the Lord provides the treatment and care they need, adding faith and bringing about healing to them.
China does not have a functioning primary care system which is the first line of defense for illness and injury. There is only one general practitioner for every 6,666 Chinese. (The World Health Organization suggests an international standard of one for every 1,500 to 2,000 people) China has a shortage of pastors, especially those who can serve full-time and care effectively for the spiritual health of their believers. We pray that God will raise up more who are retired and spiritually mature, to provide guidance, advice and marital counseling, especially for the younger believers.
In China, people will rush to a big hospital and demand to be seen by a specialist, instead of going to a clinic or a doctor, even for a minor illness like a fever or a headache. Last winter, flu-stricken patients packed and camped out overnight in the corridors of several Beijing hospitals. Chinese believers also believe that famous oversea preachers are not only more spiritual but also better speakers than their own. We pray that all believers will stop comparing their shepherds with others, but rather will start to appreciate and honor their own pastors.
In China, hospitals are always understaffed and inundated with patients. Medical specialists are overworked and often see two hundred patients daily. Often, frustrated patients resort to violence and assault the medical personnel, which is infamously called: “yi nao,” or “medical disturbance.” Younger Chinese pastors often feel insecure or inferior because they lack the spiritual depth and the sacrifice of their predecessors. They see themselves as less gifted than the famous preachers abroad. May the Lord comfort all who serve Him faithfully, grant them a deep sense of accomplishment, and the knowledge that God is pleased with them.
The shortage of doctors is an urgent problem for the Chinese government as it grapples with the mounting health problems of its vast population. Heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and chronic lung disease account for eighty percent of deaths in China. We lift up all believers with chronic illnesses, that the Lord gives them faith and joy as they face difficulties daily, grants them the strength and health they need, and even more, that they will become prayer warriors for churches under persecution.