Central China: Henan, Hubei, Hunan, 1 Municipality (Chongqing) Pray for the 250 million people of Central China. Around 10% are Christians. Henan is the powerhouse of church growth in China! Some refer to Fangcheng county as the “Jesus Nest”. The state declared Henan an “Atheistic Zone” in the 1960s. Revival began during the Cultural Revolution with mass conversions, miracles, and vision for evangelizing China. Henan now has the largest TSPM and house-church populations. Outreach from Henan is one of the great stories of the expansion of Christianity! Church-planting teams (often young women) went out from Henan, followed by Bible teachers. Praise God for this massive, nation-changing growth.
- Chongqing is the industrial and trade hub for west and southwest China on the Yangtze River. Billions of yuan have flowed up the river to develop the city and municipality at a breathtaking pace and on a staggering scale. The population has likewise increased; Chongqing was the planet's fastest-growing urban area for the first decade of the 21st Century. Corruption and gangsterism inevitably followed. Pray for this incredible development to be managed with political fairness, financial transparency, environmental responsibility and for the long-term benefit of the tens of millions in the region.
- Church growth in Chongqing is steady, solid and significantly faster than even the rapid population growth of this booming region. In the last 10 years, it has enjoyed a notable boost in the Christian population, from conversions and migration. Pray for continued increases of Christian outreach and presence in this strategic but spiritually needy city; leaders and stable, mature believers will be desperately needed for a city in flux and for a fast-multiplying Church.
- Henan province has endured much suffering. Frequent floods blight the landscape. Mao's misguided policies disastrously allowed eight million Henanese to die of famine. Up to 70% of the population are peasant farmers eking out a living. Widespread poverty caused tens of thousands to contract HIV; unscrupulous dealers offered cash for bought blood, extracted using infected needles. Additionally, selective abortion, abandonment and infanticide have yielded a massive gender imbalance — 140 male children under 5 for every 100 females. Pray for policies that will allow Henan to develop. Pray that the especially vulnerable groups — female babies and the unborn, HIV victims and poor farmers — might be protected, supported and sustained.
- Persecution continues to be prevalent and often severe. Pray for perseverance and endurance, especially for house church leaders who are especially targeted.
- Pseudo-Christian cults are many and active in Henan, more so than in any other province. Cults such as Eastern Lightning use false teachings, kidnapping, brainwashing and the structures and methods of criminal societies to prey upon members of house church networks. These occur more easily here due to limited biblical knowledge among believers, lack of solid teaching and prevalent poverty and human need.
- House churches have grown significantly in many parts of the province - much of this the result of compassionate ministry to flood victims. But growth has come at a cost; persecution is often high, and many (if not most) leaders have been arrested and imprisoned. A disproportionate number of church members are women. Pray for the churches to continue to grow, to disciple well their rapidly increasing numbers and to see more men come into faith.
- The ethnic minorities of the province are largely unreached. Among the polytheistic, animist and ancestor-worshipping Tujia, Enshi Miao and Northern Dong, as among the Muslim Hui, Christians make up less than 1% and usually closer to 0.1% of their populations. Pray for their evangelization.
- Hunan province is traditionally closed, conservative and isolated, usually by choice. Hunan, Mao's birthplace, is historically hostile to foreigners and was one of the provinces that eagerly adopted the Cultural Revolution. Hunan possibly has China's most spiritually hard Han Chinese populations. Pray for spiritual breakthrough in this resistant province.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.