In Shanghai, the first question people ask about a suitor often is, "How many square meters are in his apartment?" In a country where young men outnumber young women by a large majority, a bachelor needs to have a car and an apartment before a woman will even look at him. We can see why church workers, whether male or female have difficulty finding mates to serve with them. Often even then their families do not approve of the marriage. We pray for all unmarried believers that the Lord will give them the conviction that God's choice and timing is the best.
One reason Chinese people are able to save money so well is that they have to pay for things such as education and health care which the government provides in other countries. Parents must save for their children' education and medical expenses as well as their own retirement. Perhaps it is fair to say that Chinese believers have a very hard time trusting God to provide for their needs. Let us pray for real faith in God's provision and His faithfulness in taking care of us. The more we give, the more God will bless us.
Quite a number of church workers in China have had to take up a secular job on the side in order to make ends meet and support their families. Many have even left the ministry because their churches did not give them sufficient money to live on and some suspect there is a loss of pastors every year because of this. We want to pray for the issue of finances for believers in China. We pray for faith in God to provide them everything they need and for the churches to be generous to their shepherds. Above all we ask that their hearts will be guarded against greed.
One reason why the churches in China are considered poor is that believers are reluctant to give and this reflects their spiritual immaturity as well as their ignorance of the truth that "giving is the key to receiving God's blessing." Many feel that one doesn't need to tithe and tithing is not commonly taught in the churches. With the economy on the downturn, many believers have held off in giving to churches. We pray for spiritual maturity and great faith in the lives of all believers in China to believe the great things God can do for them and their churches as they obey Him.
There are always leaders who claim that they have apocalyptic vision or know when Jesus will return. Their followers will abandon their normal lifestyle and gather to worship daily. Such groups often receive pressure from the local police which they interpret as persecution. This then reinforces their belief that these are the last days. Churches in China are seeing more than their share of these kinds of false prophets. Many people are badly hurt and even stop attending church services. Let us pray for the churches that are in this kind of spiritual turmoil and pray, too, that the Lord will help the sheep who have strayed away to return to the fold.
Corruption is rampant and the government is trying hard to discipline members of the Communist Party who have been caught in bribery and graft. Corruption happens not only among prominent people but also in those who have power or regulate functions at mid-or lower-level positions. All people are sinners and unfortunately even churches are not exempt from financial misconduct since there is little financial accountability or transparency. Money can corrupt even the best of us. Let us pray for the integrity of all believers including those who handle money for the churches.
China has one of the highest rates of saving money in the world. But this then reduces consumer spending which in turn gives banks too much money which they have to invest and also raises the specter of high inflation in the country. Believers also worry about their finances, their savings, their investments, and whether or not to buy another house as an investment or for their child. It is easy to be overwhelmed by all of these worries and lose one's faith in God. Let us pray for both good stewardship and a simple faith that God will provide for our every need and that churches will preach about this more often.