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In 2008 the Chinese language officially gained 359 new phrases. The most popular ones were bandits, a Chinese copycat version of melamine, the toxic contaminant in milk and landslide blocked lake which means anything that causes a blockage of flow. Many new phrases are coined online. The most commonly used Chinese Bible is the Union version which is nearly one hundred years old but is loved dearly by believers. We pray that the eternal word of God can be better understood by today's youth. We also remember those who are involved in the contemporary translation of the Chinese Bible.
A "mistake" of the church in China is that of focusing much effort and resources on evangelism which cares for new believers and trains co-workers. In doing this, they spend much less time giving spiritual help to those pastors, Sunday school teachers, and co-workers who are who are already serving and have both personal and family needs. The devil attacks the shepherd and the workers and weakens their marriages and their spiritual roles in their homes. Husbands and wives put on a fake front in church but at home, they are bitterly angry with each other. Lord, we pray especially for those who minister in church but are having rocky marriages, poor family relationships, and are even bound by sexual sins.
As a whole, the churches in China have not been affected by the current economic downturn although churches that have people who came to work in factories in them have seen a drop in finances, particularly in the Shanghai (Yangtze River) and Guangdong (Pearl River) delta regions. Frankly speaking, churches in China have not been helping each other for various reasons but this attitude is improving and we praise God! Let us pray that these churches will be willing to openly talk about how they can cross all kinds of boundaries and be willing to accept and support each other and their ministries.
Behind the facade of new city apartment buildings, there are many homeless people. Millions of rural people enter cities to look for work. Many of them end up destitute, without jobs, with no family support and are unable to return home. These people are literally on the edge of the society, overlooked and considered, by the neighbors, a "nuisance" and are "unwanted". It is true that every nation has homeless and poor people. But, we pray that Chinese believers would extend their compassion to those we regard as "lazy," "who will not look for opportunities to better themselves." May the Lord help us to see that we are so blessed and He is gracious to us.
The mentality of many Chinese emperors, leaders, and even church leaders has been, "Those who are for me get promoted and those who are against me perish." The inability to accept a differing opinion or even a dissenting view is a common phenomenon in Chinese churches. The attitude of "I am the only one who is Biblical and everyone else is wrong" often plagues the leadership teams in the churches. Let us pray sincerely for humility and the willingness to accept others, and as the Bible says seeing others as better than we are. May the Lord grant us true obedience and not merely paying lip service to being God's servant or a ruler over other believers.
Guangdong Province as a port of entry to China claims up to a third of all the foreigners who enter the country. There are more than a million aliens living there whether short term or long term. However, Guangdong also has the most foreigners who have illegally entered, overstayed their visas, or are working illegally in the country. Many of these are people from the continent of Africa. Guangdong has many unique social phenomena and also provides many unusual ministry challenges and opportunities. Let us pray for the many churches that are reaching out to factory workers and training them to share the gospel in the work place and even sending them home as church workers. We also remember the many people who enter China through this area to help train pastors and church workers.
Why do Chinese believers so easily fall prey to the occult? The teachings of these cults and extremists are ludicrous but many people are willing to follow and it seems that a place like China is just the perfect fertile ground for them. There are many believers whose faith is shallow and who will follow any teaching blindly. Certain occult teachers target churches and intentionally attack leaders through cheating, kidnapping, and seduction. Once the leaders become victims they hijack the entire church. Lord, we pray for protection for all the weak churches, especially those without strong leaders. We pray, too, for deliverance for all who have fallen into the trap of the cults.