Pray for Our World: China

“By 2030, China will almost certainly have more Christians than any other country”, according to Fenggang Yang, director of the center on religion and Chinese society at Purdue University.  While we do not know the exact number of Christians in China and many keep silent about it, I think we would be surprised to know just how much God is working behind the scenes in China.  Christianity did not appear in China until the 7th century during the Tang dynasty.  Because they were so closed off from the rest of the world, they did not hear about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus until 700 years later.

China is an ancient and complex nation.  It is the third largest state in the world with over 1 billion people, 500 indigenous ethnic groups and 55 nationalities (not including Hong Kong and Taiwan which will be listed separately).  There is strict government control of religious groups, five of which are officially recognized: Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Protestant, and Catholic.  There has been some easing of persecution in recent years.  The state recently recognized that there are over 300 million religious believers and over 50 million Christians in unregistered church networks.  The traditional beliefs of the Chinese are a blend of folk religion, Daoism and Buddhism. About 50% of Chinese are considered non-religious, and the official status of China is atheist.

God has protected and grown the church in China on a scale unforeseen in recent times.  Persecution designed to destroy the church has instead inspired fervent prayer and evangelism.  Since the 1980’s there have been vast networks and communities of believers meeting in house churches.  God has a big plan for China.  In God’s timing, the life and purpose of Jesus’ life will be made known to all in China.  When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking and praying for those in China, ones who were not even known to much of the rest of the world at that time.

Pray for Our World: Central African Republic

Located directly in central Africa, the country is composed of 80 different ethnic groups. The official languages are French and Sango, which is a trade language used by most of the population.  They have 48% literacy.  Rich in natural resources and minerals, diamonds account for 55% of the exports, though most of the working population are farmers.

76% are Christian and 14% Muslim, with tribal ethnoreligion making up the rest.  The national church seems to be emerging as a witness and service to the people.  National missionaries and agencies are on the increase, indigenous-led ministries are springing up, and Bible translation in mother tongues and literacy in the churches are also progressing.  Half of the population is under the age of 15, so ministry to young people and to women are vital.  Women are just now making inroads into ministry through Christian Women’s Union and Women’s Aglow.  Even Muslim converts to Jesus are considered very influential within their communities.

Pray that the mission efforts and the churches will continue to be a strong beacon of hope for the people of Central Africa, and that they will have a positive impact in the communities.  God is moving in this remote, central part of Africa.

Pray for Our World: Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are the most affluent of the Caribbean islands.  Christianity is strong there.  There are more than 90 churches and many of them evangelical.  There is one church for every 500 people.  Christian faith and values have a significant influence on the society.  The nation’s flag bears part of Psalm 24, “He hath founded it upon the seas”, and the new constitution includes recognition of their Christian heritage.  Pray that God’s influence and blessings will continue for the over one million tourists who visit the islands each year.

Pray for Our World: Brunei

Brunei is a small country enclave within the area of Malaysia.  It has some interesting facts.  It is one of the riches states in Asia due to their oil and gas reserves, and has free education and health care, no income tax for most, and heavily subsidized housing, fuel and food.  The Sultan rules as an absolute monarch and maintains the traditions of a Muslim monarchy that dates back to the 15th century.  The Christian church does exist there, but under difficult conditions.  Evangelism is illegal, no foreign Christian workers are permitted, and importing Bibles or Christian literature is illegal.  Religious instruction in all schools, including Christian schools, is only Islam.

Brunei gained their independence from Britain in 1983.  In 2014, it became the first East Asian country to adopt Islamic sharia law, despite widespread international condemnation.  They have free resources – education, health care and food, but not freedom in thought and action.

Pray for Our World: Bolivia

Bolivia is only one of two landlocked countries in the Americas.  It is on the southwest side of Brazil.  Once it was South America’s richest area, but corrupt governments and the fall of silver prices have made it one of the poorest.  They gained their independence from Spain in 1825 but have had 200 coups and revolutions since then.  Most of the economy is agriculture but about 70% illegally grow the coca plant used in cocaine.

The church and the people are in crisis here.  Most are baptized Catholic but are practicing Christo-pagans or animists.  Christo-pagans combine Christian and witchcraft together.  Animism is the religious belief that all objects, places and creatures possess a distinct spiritual soul or essence.  The young people are rarely ministered to, even though over two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30.  Up to 75% of Bolivia’s children are raised in poverty and malnutrition.  Many are homeless, many of the boys use drugs and many of the girls have been sexually abused.

Please pray for these children and for the missionaries who minister here.  More missionaries and resources are needed.  The people are responsive to it, as the number of evangelicals and church growth has been increasing.  People want hope, they just need to be shown the way.