Macau is the first Christian territory in Asia to become non-Christian since the Muslim conquest in West Asia over 600 years ago. 95% of the population were Catholic in 1600, but only 5% called themselves Christian by 2010. Protestant missions to China started in Macau. Here, missionaries baptized the first Chinese convert, translated the first Chinese Bible, and buried the first Protestant missionary to the Chinese. Many now follow Buddhism, Daoism, or traditional Chinese religions. The gambling industry, fear of the local god “A-Ma”, and high turnover of leaders in churches, all hinder the spread of the gospel. Pray for believers to win back this territory for the Saviour.
Macau's reputation as a "City of Sin" is well founded; gambling revenues here surpass even those of Las Vegas and are still growing. The government regulates the industry, and local owners control a majority share with large foreign investors also present; the historic association with Triad influence is much less than in the past. Pray about the following:
- Materialism and greed are the harvests reaped from this seed. Such an environment strangles spirituality as testified to by tiny churches but burgeoning casinos, the cathedrals of mammon.
- Gambling is a religion that takes much and gives little. Addiction and desperation are epidemics taking on a massive scale. The Church has largely failed to minister to gambling addicts, but groups such as the Macau Evangelical Church, Industrial Evangelical Fellowship and Horizon Christian Fellowship are beginning to address this.
- Prostitution and substance abuse are natural parasites of the gambling industry. Most sex workers are trafficked in, often against their will, from the mainland or other Southeast Asian countries. Rahab Ministries reaches out to mainland women involved in prostitution in Macau. Pray for this ministry and for more such groups to reach out to these at-risk people.
- Lucrative salaries in casinos encourage young people and Christians to seek employment there at the expense of university education or involvement in church or the community. Pray for viable work alternatives to the gambling industry.
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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.