Friday, April 20, 2012

Prayer for China, Hong Kong: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 20 (Day 111)

Today we begin 4 days of praying for the "special administrative regions" of China - areas that function independently in many ways, yet depend upon China in other ways. These three "city-states" can be seen both as stepping stones to reaching China and as countries to be reached in their own right. Today, we begin with Hong Kong. Please read pages 252-255.

Hong Kong is such a diverse and international area. An unbelievable number of peoples pass through there, including many of the unreached peoples of the world. In fact, a serious effort is underway to reach the unreachd through ministry to refugees and asylum-seekers in Hong Kong. As we pray for the people of Hong Kong, let's also pray for the people of the world who pass through her borders.

We are privileged to have insight for our prayer time today from a friend of mine who lived there for seven years. Please read her words and pray as the Lord leads you. Some photos follow that will help bring faces to the concepts she mentions.

Our family of five lived in Hong Kong for 7 years as missionaries. During our time there, we developed many deep friendships with people from all walks of life in Hong Kong. We saw God move in many ways, and saw some things that were hindrances to His Kingdom there. Here are a few things we see as important prayer points for Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong is geographically a small area, but has a population of a little over 7 million people. It's nickname is "Asia's world city", and for good reason. It is said that a plane lands and takes off in Hong Kong every minute. When you step off the plane in Hong Kong and head towards the airport train, there is a big sign that encapsulates the spirit of Hong Kong - "Don't worry, the train comes every 3 minutes." There needs to be this reminder because people would almost run each other over trying to get on the train. It is a fast-paced, "take it for myself" kind of place. 

1. Hong Kong is a very materialistic city. There is a lot of opportunity to make money, and everyone is trying to make the most they can. There are many international businesses and banks. When you step into any busy shopping area of Hong Kong (and they are everywhere), you can almost tangibly feel the pull to buy things. Everyone wants to have the newest gadget out there. It becomes a vicious cycle of working to make money in order to buy more things. Because of this, many people in Hong Kong work long hours and have little to no free time. The common answer to "how are you?" is "very very busy". When people are always busy, that leaves them with less time to think about life and how they need a Savior. Jesus can be pushed out of their minds, or never even heard of. Please pray that the people of Hong Kong will feel the true emptiness of the things of this world and search for the Only One who can fill their empty hearts - Jesus. 

2. Another prayer point is for the families of Hong Kong. Usually both parents will work long hours, and there will be a live-in maid who takes care of the children for them. Families rarely spend any quality time together. While in Hong Kong, we worked in a ministry to families, and heard first hand that families literally did not know how to talk to each other if they were in a room together for any length of time. They had to learn how to connect! Because there was a lack of time spent together, they did not know each other. This obviously means that parents cannot fulfill the mandate God has given them to teach their children God's ways. The children often feel very burdened to score well on the many exams they face in school in order to "succeed", and there is a high incidence of suicide among young people. Please pray for reconnection of families in Hong Kong, and that Christian families would be an example of unity and love in Christ. Pray that the Christian families would spark curiosity in non-believers through the witness of their family lives. May God be first in Hong Kong families!

3. Despite being a very modern city, Hong Kong is still very steeped in traditions from the past. This means Buddhism, Taoism, and ancestor worship. Our family lived in a very old and traditional village in Hong Kong, and it was very hard to speak to people there about Jesus, because they could not imagine breaking away from their ancient Chinese traditions. They worship false gods, and celebrate many festivals to them. They also worship and pray to their ancestors, believing they will help them to have better lives and more money. Please pray that the people of Hong Kong will see the reality and power of the true God, and they will turn away from false gods and idols. May they see that the only true God is Jesus, and nothing else can give them true life. May they see that they can still be Chinese and follow Jesus, because He is not a "foreign" God, but He is also their Creator and Savior. 

4. Being an international city means that Hong Kong is filled not only with millions of Chinese people, but also people from many other countries of the world. There are many people living in Hong Kong because of business from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, America, and many other places. There are thousands of women who have come to Hong Kong to work as maids from the Philippines and Indonesia. Many of these women work for little money and are treated badly. There are refugees from many countries including Africa (many countries), Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and more. My husband and I have personally ministered to and discipled people from these walks of life, and their stories are sometimes heart breaking. The amazing thing is that God works wonders in their hurting hearts and gives them hope and joy when they find Him. Sometimes I wonder if God brought them to Hong Kong just so they could meet someone who would tell them about Jesus. Later on these transformed people leave Hong Kong to live in another part of the world, and bring the message of hope in Jesus with them. Please pray for the many migrant people living in Hong Kong, from all over the world. Pray that God would draw their hearts to Him, and send someone to tell them about Jesus. Pray that they would become strong in their love and faith in Christ, and be missionaries for Him! We have seen it happen in many lives, but there are many more in Hong Kong that don't know Him. 

Thank you so much for your prayers. We will never realize the full spiritual impact of our prayers until we reach heaven, but I'm sure that it is much more than we can imagine! God is listening!

My prayer for today: Lord, You are so good to put places like Hong Kong in the world, with an impact beyond its size. We pray for the church in Hong Kong to be unified and intentional about the task. Thank You for the efforts of March for Jesus and Global Day of Prayer to unify the church. We ask You Lord for Hong Kong to play a key role for the kingdom - in reaching China and the world. We pray for the Christians who are serving so many of the schools and hospitals and social organizations. Grace them to be salt and light and have a transformational influence in society. We come against the porn and trafficking industries and ask You to bring what's done in darkness to the light and free the captives. Lord, reach Hong Kong for You in every way. In Jesus' name, amen.

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