As many people celebrate the Chinese New Year, please pray for the year ahead and the furthering of God's Kingdom amongst Chinese students in China and around in the world.
In China alone, there are 5.7 million college and university places. Many students study abroad for some or all of their time at university. These students have great opportunities, but face incredible pressure to succeed, with many families feeling their whole future is dependent on their child's achievement.
Despite the Communist Party's official atheism, there is a yearning for meaning among the country's young, educated professionals. The church in China is growing and friends there report that never before have they seen such a positive response to the gospel among students, faculty and post-graduates. Give thanks for this work of God's Spirit.
Sixty-one years ago, the student movement in China stood shoulder to shoulder with nine other movements from around the world to begin the work of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. A few years after that meeting in 1947, the government closed down the group in China, but God has answered the prayers of many and the Holy Spirit had continued to work among students on almost all major campuses in this huge country. It is a joy to see students from different backgrounds coming to know Christ and standing for him.
Persecution is still a feature of Christian ministry in China and Christians face tough restrictions on their freedom. At the same time, increasing prosperity is bringing its own temptations and the draw of materialism threatens to turn believers away from God.
Give thanks that God is raising up men and women of God to serve him in these difficult contexts. Pray for Christian students and graduates to be salt and light in their spheres of influence. Pray that they would not be moulded by society's values, but would be transformed by God's word and the Holy Spirit.