In China households with sons accumulate assets, especially houses in order to compete in the marriage market and thus cause the housing market to fluctuate greatly. This provides a constant demand and bids up the prices which in turn causes people to have to save more. Let us pray specifically for believing families who have sons, not only for Biblical parenting but also for a desire to see their (only) son walk closely with the Lord and even willingly encourage or allow him to serve Him.
If they were asked the question, "After sixty years why do Chinese people still hate the Japanese so much?" most Chinese would answer, "The reason is that the Japanese military did so much damage and hurt us so much. They are still unrepentant and building up their military forces." While the Chinese like to use Japanese electronic products, they do not have a love for the people of Japan. Likewise churches cannot really love the the unsaved or the Muslims if we fail to stop our deep hatred for the country and people who live next door to us. Let us pray for true forgiveness in our churches starting with our own hearts because God has first forgiven us. We need to care about the biggest mission field, not that one far away, but the one next door, Japan.
In a recent publication the head of China's Bureau of Religious Affairs defended the government's religious policy as "based on separation of state and religion and seeking a harmonious relation between the government and faith." He rejected the claim that China oppresses religion and allows no religious freedom. The decision to stay unregistered as a church is a tough one for all house churches. We pray for wisdom and God's guidance for them. We pray especially those who are facing the difficulty of finding places to hold worship because they cannot obtain the approval from authority.
Kentucky Fried Chicken opened its very first restaurant in Beijing in 1987 and it is now the largest restaurant franchise in China, far ahead of even McDonald's. KFC has stores in more than six hundred cities and in four hundred of them, it faces no Western competition. China is indeed a huge country but in terms of churches and training centers for Christian workers, only about twenty to thirty cities get most of the attention and resources. Let us pray for the churches and believers in those cities in which there is a KFC but the church has never appeared on our prayer "radar". May the Lord strengthen their work for Him and their faith.
According to a government estimate there are still fourteen million Chinese in the villages who are considered to be in absolute poverty, having nothing. The government has attempted to close the ever-widening disparity between the "haves" and "have-nots" but still schools in poor areas are horribly inadequate in both the quality of their teachers and their facilities. The gap between the rich and poor is very evident within church and between churches. We pray for humility and a heart of thanksgiving for those who are wealthy and a desire to trust God for those who are unemployed or poor. Once again we uplift all the churches in the poor regions and remember our brothers and sisters who have little but are rich in God.
China has launched an ambitious "1000-scholars project" to jump-start her place in the world of science. She is offering salaries that are ten times regular salaries to lure the most talented Chinese researchers who live abroad to return home. However, this effort has alienated those professors who have not studied abroad. There has also been a huge gap in compensation between rural and urban pastors. Giving in the rural churches tends to be low which forces the pastors to take on a side job to support their families. Let us remember these leaders that they will have strength to do their ministry, wisdom as they shepherd the flock, and a close walk with Jesus themselves.
A FIFA soccer agent said, "Asian players generally lack confidence. Chinese players are the worst. European players are tougher, more resilient and they have the advantage in bigger size." Asian players get hurt more easily and are not accustomed to playing in bitter cold weather. Many Chinese believers feel inadequate in sharing the gospel because they are new believers and still weak. They fear they will bring shame to God's name or are not qualified to share. We pray for divine confidence and the enabling of the Holy Spirit that will give us all the willingness to be able to share our testimonies for Jesus Christ.