The Mainland Chinese magazine China Christian Daily ran an article in January 2018 that serves as a very helpful prayer guide for those who are burdened to pray for China in 2018. The author, we were told, is a church worker in Fujian.
The writer asked a question (What will be the hot topics for Chinese Christians in 2018) and then gave his answer.
1. The revised regulations on religious affairs which came into effect on February 1, 2018.
He explained: “A great deal of new content was added in the new rules in contrast to the old version issued in November 2004.” Already we have seen unofficial implementation of these laws in a way that is very threatening to Christians. For example, one pastor shared that under the laws Sunday School was banned, because only the Chinese Communist party has the right to educate, so the church cannot.
2. The sinicization of Christianity.
Two totally different standpoints are held inside the church regarding this important issue. People who back sinicization claim that theological construction, ministries, and organizations in China should adapt to the Chinese context. However, the opponents (most house church pastors) believe that the sinicization will contribute to losing the essence of the gospel.
3. Christian social service.
The writer stressed that “For Christians, social service is the best means to express the beauty of Christ and loving your neighbour as yourself.” So the issue is “how to promote all kinds of social service in 2018, especially targeted poverty alleviation.”
4. The church and the Internet.
“More and more Chinese Christians have gained access to all types of Christian resources through the Internet and found satisfaction in their spiritual needs…. However, the revised religious rules may have a great impact on online gospel ministries since the religious administration on the Internet will be tightened.”
5. The 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up.
“The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC convened in December 1978, marking the beginning of the reform and opening-up. This year will be the 40th anniversary of China's opening-up policy.” Since then “the past four decades have seen tremendous changes in the Chinese church... the rapid increase in the number of Chinese Christians.”
6. A trend of resisting Christmas.
“The resistance to Christmas 2017 produced more rumours… and marches initiated by extremists. The war on Christmas 2018 may ‘rage all over China’".
7. Rampaging heresies, cults, and extreme theologies.
“Different kinds of heresies and cults have run wild inside the Chinese church. What is worse, various categories of extreme theologies have affected a great number of Christians.”
8. Rumours among the Chinese church and Christians.
“In 2017, all kinds of rumours and false testimonies flew among the Chinese church and believers, and disturbed Christians in their life of faith.”
9. The 10th anniversary of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake.
“A deadly earthquake broke out in Wenchuan, Sichuan, and the surrounding areas on May 12, 2008, leaving 69,227 dead.”
10. The 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia from June 14 to July 15, 2018. Chinese Christians, including pastors, will watch the football international tournament with Chinese fans.
Prayer suggestion: Choose one topic each day and pray for that topic, so that each topic will be covered 3 times in the month.