Tuesday As Chinese New Year approaches a survey revealed that 90% of those surveyed said they would be getting a year-end bonus. About 80% of the government enterprises and 60% of the private companies are handing out bonuses. Half of the people are getting 5000 yuan or less, one-fourth are getting 5000-10,000 yuan and the rest are getting more than 10,000 yuan. We pray that believers will not forget to give an offering from their bonus. Many do not see it as their regular income so "God is not entitled to it". We pray for a heart of thanksgiving among all believers and that all of us will be good stewards of what God has given us, not merely money, but also our time, talents, and spiritual gifts. Wednesday Only thirty percent of the people are happy about the year-end bonus they have received this year. One reason is that they feel they deserved more and the other reason is that the cost of living has shot up greatly this past year and their bonus has not increased accordingly. Contentment and giving thanks for all things are difficult lessons for all of us. May all Chinese believers be thankful for not only the material things they have received this past year but may they also be able to see how God has blessed their lives and families. Thursday When waves of people anxiously begin their journey back home for the Chinese Lunar New Year, many migrant workers have to spend more money getting home than in the past. This year as the high-speed trains are put into service, the number of ordinary trains in service is reduced and those cheaper tickets are much harder to get. Tickets for the high-speed trains easily cost three times more than those for the ordinary trains. Many churches are having special meetings, evangelistic in nature during the Spring Festival. We pray for a great harvest. May this coming month be a time of revival for those who have been away from home and have also been away from churches. Friday Although the actual interpretation and details are very sketchy, according to Chinese law, all lands are state-owned and the maximum lease is seventy years. Thus, behind the red hot phenomenon of the Chinese real estate market lurks the ultimate question, "What will happen when this building I live in reaches the seventieth year?" As people return to their home churches during this Spring Festival, the question of whether to remodel or rebuild the church building will undoubtedly surface. Even the law governing churches and church property is very vague. We pray for wisdom，faith and vision as churches come together to plan how they can be more effective in their communities. Saturday 57.39 million Chinese tourists visited abroad in 2010, a 20.4 percent rise from the previous year. Overseas tourists entering China hit 134 million last year, up 5.8 percent from 2009. China is Asia's largest source of outbound tourists and she ranks fourth in the number of incoming tourists, just behind France, Spain, and the United States. Many Chinese have visited abroad and perhaps have been exposed to Christianity. We pray for those who were baptized or even worshipped abroad. May the Lord use them mightily to share their experience with those who do not know Him. We also remember those who share the gospel with Chinese tourists abroad. Sunday Young Chinese feel very awkward when they "return home without something to make their parents proud" such as a good job or a degree. They know their parents will be much happier if they bring home a future mate and they dread having their parents trying to match them with someone. Many young people lose their faith in God once they leave home. We pray along with their parents that the Lord will give them mercy. We pray, too, for the Lord to re-kindle the relationships between parents and children during this New Year's holiday. Monday Many Chinese young people have a fear of going home for Chinese New Year. Because of the huge expenses involved, the family reunion causes a lot of anxiety for them. There are the traffic jams on the way and then the fear of their parents nagging them to get married as well as a fear of owing people favors because they invited them out to eat. Parents simply want to enjoy seeing their child. Let us pray that Christian parents will make good use of this time of reunion to reafirm their love and God's love to their child, particularly those young peole who have not walked closesly with the Lord during the year.
Tuesday Chinese New Year is a time to give gifts or red packets (often crudely disguised as a bribe). As the government clamps down on corruption, the “gift recycling” business is thriving because recipients can exchange their gifts (cigarettes and liquors) for cash. For many churches, Chinese New Year is the time when much of the church giving is done. People who work in the city return to their home church. We pray that this will be a great time for all of us to count our blessings and be thankful for what the Lord has done. Wednesday Most of the “gift-recycling” stores are near the government offices or communities where officials live. It is no secret that gifts (expensive cigarettes and alcohol) are meant as bribes. In order to secure favor or get a promotion, it is necessary to buy gifts for superiors in China. Many Chinese believers have the mentality of: “I’ll give if God will bless me.” Believers should always give thanks (Ephesians 5:20). We pray that all of us will give cheerfully to the Lord, not because we want to curry God’s favor. Thursday Historians have long debated when the slogan of "Long lives Chairman Mao!" really started being used. It was May Day (Labor Day) 1950 when the senior members of the party approved the slogan. This is in contrast to the belief that Mao himself demanded the "worship". Many older Chinese believers still remember those days of shouting the slogan. We praise God for their faithful devotion to Him all these years. May the Lord use them and their stories of trusting God in times of great persecution to inspire many young and new believers. Friday There is a huge disparity between the number of female and male believers ( 2 to 1 ratio) in the China churches today, often it could be 3-5 sisters to one brother. The ladies shoulder heavy responsibilities at home and at church as well. We know God has a beautiful plan and will accomplish great things for China churches. Therefore, we pray for spiritual revival among the female believers in China, may their husbands, their children be holy, please God because of their love for the Lord. Saturday Believers in China like to "show off their spirituality" by bragging about how they attend church every Sunday. Church attendance often mistakenly becomes an external measurement of their inward spirituality. For Chinese believers, spirituality must be measurable and they often use the wrong kind of measurement. May the Lord have mercy on all of us and help us to know that our own righteousness is totally insufficient and that the Holy Spirit convicts us all of mere external religiosity. Sunday Chinese believers love to study the Bible and they are very very good in reciting Scripture. Churches and fellowships also greatly encourage people to memorize the Bible. However, this often becomes a spiritual pitfall for many because they have the knowledge but are unable to follow the true meaning of the Word, especially when they face the challenges of life. May the Lord give each of us a craving for His Word which is sweet as honey and may we be like the deer that pants for the water. May we also have the determination to obey His commandments without excuses. Monday Chinese believers like to tell others that they have peace in spite of difficulties. It would be a "loss of face" if they admitted they were deeply troubled inside. To claim they have peace and pretend they are not shaken is considered to be a spiritual person. To pretend to be spiritual or be afraid to show one's vulnerability is really a weakness of the "Chinese brand" of spirituality. May the Spirit show us all that we are weak and fragile and it is only as He lives in us that we can boldly claim to be spiritual.
Tuesday Frugality is a Chinese virtue and a legacy of the past generations of poor Chinese. However, the 350 million Chinese between 18 to 35 years of age, who have not-so-frugal spending habits, are considered to be critical in the recovery of the world economy and one day pushing China ahead of America as the biggest consumer market. Young Chinese believers also feel very differently about how money is used in church. There is often tension between the young and old believers regarding monetary issues. We pray for unity and humility for all believers, especially regarding offerings and church spending. Wednesday China’s change from a state-planned economy to a market economy has spurred the recent consumerism. In the world’s second largest economy, buying discounted merchandise and using coupons are quickly becoming a way of life for young Chinese people. Young Chinese believers have many reasons to not give to their church. We pray that older believers can be a powerful model for them, in their generosity, hospitality and trust in God. Thursday The divorce rate in China has doubled in the past ten years, and one in five Chinese marriages doesn’t last. The generation of spoiled singletons, known in China as the post-1980s (1980's) generation is struggling with issues in marriage, i.e. forgiveness, understanding, tolerance and compromise. We pray for all of the young married believers in the churches in China where marital counseling is sparse. We pray for those who are doing such counseling as well as those who are struggling with their marriages. Friday Every year, tens of thousands of officials and professors in China are sent abroad to learn new management skills. However, once they, they often forget what they learned or their influence is minimized by the status quo. The call to change the way churches are "managed" invariably meets that same fate. Many feel that it is very hard to change the way things are done in the churches in China. Let us pray that younger leaders in the churches will be promoted and given an opportunity to lead and that the older pastors will imitate the humility of Jesus Christ. Saturday The gender imbalance in the rural churches of China is far worse than that in urban churches because so many of the young men have left for work in the cities. This is the overall picture through the countryside in China with about 90% of households not having young men at home. Without the comfort and help from above, serving in rural churches in China can be very discouraging but every one of those churches is a testimony of God's miracles. The Lord has raised up some sisters who work faithfully. We pray for them to have God's gifts so they may serve with unity and give glory to God without complaining. Sunday Churches in China tend to be feministic because there are more female than male members. This shows up in the praise, worship, testimonies, and even rituals. The atmosphere tends to be emotional, relational, soft, and tender. Being feministic is not a bad thing but the key is whether the gospel is preached or not. We pray that Chinese brothers will be revived with holy passion, will be more spiritual and less carnal, and will be able to stand firm being on fire for God. Monday Since the churches in China have very few men, it creates a conundrum for the sisters because there are no eligible Christian men. It is nearly impossible for Chinese women to marry someone who is less accomplished than she is and Chinese men feel awkward to marry someone "more capable" than they are. Many sisters feel parental pressure to marry "any available men" before they are too old. They struggle with whether to marry unbelievers and face discrimination by other married sisters. Let us remember them and pray for their spiritual life, friendship, well-being, and all of their needs.
Tuesday Recent statistics tell us that the average college graduate in China makes only 300 yuan ($44 US) more monthly than the average Chinese migrant worker. In recent years wages of college graduates have remained steady at about 1,500 yuan a month. The wages of migrant workers, however, have risen to 1,200 yuan and it is estimated that in five years the difference will be negligible. Many young people in China come to know Jesus in college but after they graduate many of them also stop going to church. We pray for everyone who has professed faith but is no longer a part of a local church. May the Holy Spirit continue to stir their hearts and bring them back to His fold. Wednesday China has begun to limit the export of rare earth. China mines ninety-seven percent of the global supply of this product which is essential for the making of modern electronics but which also causes severe pollution. Terrible environmental pollution is the price China has paid for her rapid growth in the past forty years. We want to pray against spiritual pollution in churches in many provinces, too. Many rural churches are ravaged by cults and many urban churches are robbed of their love for the truth because of secularism and extremism. Thursday People in China rush to buy houses and the mentality behind this behavior is simply that they do not know how much higher the price of the house will be tomorrow. The story of someone who makes "a half a million yuan buying a small apartment" further fuels this case. It is hard to inspire believers to consider the needs of the church when they are in the mood to buy houses. We pray for those who are in ministry and do not own a house， like Paul; “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.” (2Co 12:15) May the Lord give them reassurance that their dedication to His work is not in vain and has great rewards. Friday Given the current annual 15% increase in the average wage, government expects in the "Twelfth Five-Year Plan", by 2015 the average wage of a Chinese laborer will double. Despite this rosy projection, the generally low wages of workers and the huge discrepancy regionally, the gap between rich and poor in China continues to widen. The vast majority of churches in rural area are in a survival mode, not able to collect enough offering to support any workers. The work of God is not done with money but it is our prayer that more of the rural churches will become more financially self-sustaining, celebrate their presence in the community, and be able to broaden their scope of ministry. Saturday There is a twenty-fold difference in the income of homes in the top 10% and those in the bottom 10% of households in China. Income in urban areas is about 3.3 times that of income in rural areas. Those the profession getting the highest income get about 15 times more than those in the lowest. Uneven distribution of income is a source of potential unrest. The difference between income in wealthy and poor churches in China is also about twenty fold. Many poor churches go to bigger churches looking for support in finance and manpower. We pray that wealthy urban churches will not stop thinking about those churches that have less income than they do. Sunday High school students in China play a tug-of-war for their own interests and influence. Having a "good family background" means money and power for the students. Those who lack this must build their own guanxi (connections). Churches in China find it difficult to retain high school students because there is a lack of programs for them, there are not many young people, and those who do come have a heavy academic schedule. We pray for the spirituality of those who are still in the churches. May their faith be strong and may they be nurtured in their faith by their church. Monday In a study conducted among women in China who have had higher education, two-thirds of them considered themselves very ambitious and more than seventy-five percent wanted to be executives--a far higher percentage than women in the United States. We lift up all the sisters in Christ in China. They preach, lead services, do visitation, serve as ushers, sing in the choir, collect the offering, clean the church, teach Sunday school, prepare communion, and much more.