In a delicately orchestrated political maneuver, Dali Lama will visit Taiwan, to pray and bless the recent typhoon's victims. In Taiwan, it is very common for political leaders to pay visit to prominent temples or secure "blessing" of Buddhist leaders. Such gestures are political necessities, and failure to do so means alienating the Buddhist-majority constituency. There are at least three thousand churches in Taiwan, but believers are less than 3-4 % of the island population. The impact of the Christian churches on the island and society is difficult to measure. Let us pray for Taiwan believers and for their effort to make an impact on their neighbors, showing the love of God.
From 1968 to 1980 Mao sent 17 million students to the countryside to be reformed and only a small fraction of this "Lost Generation" was able to get a college education later. Without higher education, many of them are now in their late fifties and are unemployed and bitter about their lost opportunities. People in this age group were disappointed with communism but still not able to accept Jesus because Christianity was a foreign religion that they once denounced. Let us pray specifically for the salvation of this age group of Chinese.
For Chinese Muslims, going to Mecca can be difficult and financially expensive since the government-sponsored trip has very limited space and costs 4100 Euro which is beyond what common people can afford. The government doesn't allow any private Hajj trips because they fear the people will have contact with extremist groups. There are more than twenty million Muslims in China and Christian work among them is considered to be very difficult or nearly impossible. It is much easier to share the good news of Jesus with younger Muslim students who are away from home. Let us remember them in our prayers.
In the Chinese world, relationship (guanxi) is the key to getting anything done and it also requires a lot of dining and drinking. All official business and even private meals include drinking as a mater of "face" which means one is properly respected and an integral part of the interpersonal relationship. A recent article about ten secrets of building guanxi includes three that involve drinking. Let us pray for Christians as they face the dilemma of whether to drink or not in social settings. May the Lord give them wisdom to treat their bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit but still gain the favor of men.
According to a French professor, "Chinese do not really separate business and private affairs. It is why having a meal and drinking a lot is a big deal". Westerners share a meal as friends, but not Chinese. For them, having a meal is a must, a tool in getting business done and building a relationship as part of the process. Having good food together and fellowship is also part of Chinese church life but many times we can sit down and eat and still bear grudges and refuse to forgive our brothers and sisters. We pray for a spirit of unity and harmony for all Chinese churches, not just merely having a good time.
Female consumers in China are changing their pattern of purchasing things and becoming more bold and impulsive. They have an equal say with men in buying a house or a television and a great majority of Chinese men will get the approval of their spouses when they buy expensive items. Couples often fight over family finances so let us pray especially for Christian couples as they decide how much to give to God. Many believers have unbelieving spouses who "forbid" them to give to the church. Let us pray for those who must struggle with the way they use money since their spouses do not share their faith and commitment.
Women under 35 years old are doing most of the buying in China. Chinese women decide on not only their own household purchases but also on how their parents who live near them spend their money. While women in China today earn nearly as much money as their counterparts, in the 1950's they earned only twenty percent of the household income. Women make up seventy-five percent of the membership of the churches in China and they also are the ones who give the offerings. Let us pray for them since many of them not only serve in their churches but also contribute financially to the ministry. May the Lord bless these cheerful givers.