“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14-15)
Pray for the Zhuang Minority People in China
The Zhuang are the largest minority people group in China with a population of 20 million. They are known as one of the largest unreached people groups in the world as fewer than 1% are Christians. They live in southwest China, mainly in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Their primary religions are animism and shamanism, including ancestral worship. They value harmony in any relationship. They tend to assimilate with the mainstream Han Chinese cultures around them. For this reason, they are considered a gateway to people through whom God’s love can flow to other groups.
SUNDAYS • The 16 dialect groups
Linguistically speaking, the 20-million Zhuang people consist of 16 major dialect groups. Only about 10-20% of their language is understandable across the groups. This means there is a tremendous challenge of advancing the Gospel of Christ. Acknowledging the importance of using their own tongues means that the translation work should be done separately for every dialect group. Half of these dialect groups have never been engaged by people who love Jesus. Please pray that the Lord of the harvest will send many compassionate believers to bless the Zhuang. We pray that all 16 groups would be able to hear the good news either in the national language or their dialects.
MONDAYS • The spiritual climate
Most Zhuang make little distinction among their present family, the gods, and the spirits of their ancestors. They believe all of these personalities are capable of watching over them and intervening in different ways in their daily lives. They worship their ancestors, believe in ghosts, have totems, practice divination, rely on Taoist priests, believe in witches, employ shamans, and have a large number of rituals and festivals. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in power to manifest himself among the Zhuang. Pray for the protection of the hearts and minds of the Zhuang believers who are surrounded by those without Christ. Pray that believers would have clear spiritual discernment to hold to the Truth and reject idolatry and cults. Pray that the Holy Spirit would move in power to show himself mightily, leading people to faith in Christ.
TUESDAYS • Overcoming opposition
The Zhuang are generally receptive to the good news. There has been significant development of church planting. The Zhuang believers face major obstacles. One is social and familial pressure. All members of the community are expected to carry out the spiritual traditions and rituals which are deeply rooted in their cultural identity. Believers live with the challenge of embracing the Truth without alienating themselves from family. Please continue to pray for revival, restoration, and renewal in churches in China.
WEDNESDAYS • Literacy ministry
Various literacy programs have been offered for about the past 30 years. The aim was to help locals read and write so that they would be able to feed on God’s Word and to conduct regular worship services in a language they clearly understood. These programs have slowly and yet surely developed over this time. In recent years, almost all expat believers have left the country. It is time for local believers and trained translators to take ownership of work that they can share among their own people group. Please pray that the Zhuang believers will hunger and thirst after God’s Word and that this will encourage and motivate them to commit to the literacy programs. Pray too that God will give them special revelations about himself as they go deeper into Scripture.
THURSDAYS • Younger adults
Although most Zhuang are farmers, in recent years many young people have migrated to the neighboring cities and provinces to find work in factories. Materialism undoubtedly contributes to this social phenomenon; they believe that more money will lead to a better life. Instead of realizing their dreams, they become part of a never-ending cycle where they are dissatisfied and their life is consumed by work and the pursuit of things. Please pray that young Zhuang will become disillusioned with this way of life and begin to seek the true meaning and purpose of why they were created. Pray that as they seek answers they will find satisfaction and fulfillment in Jesus.
FRIDAYS • University students and teachers
There are approximately 10,000 students from different cities in the Zhuang Autonomous Region and most of them have never heard the name of Jesus. Atheism underpins all levels of education in the national school system. However, more and more people in the university setting, including teachers and professors, are receptive to the Good News. Pray that students and teachers at the university will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel. Pray that students who already believe will grow in Christ and not be afraid to share their faith with those at university and in homes.
SATURDAYS • Vision for unity
Unity among believers is not easy to build or maintain. This is certainly true for the Zhuang believers. Please pray for unity among the local believers, pray for humble hearts, that they would be quick to forgive and that they would put on love. Please pray that the Zhuang believers will continue to have the heart to witness and evangelize beyond their regions to other dialect groups, to other provinces, to other countries, and even to the ends of the earth (Matt 28:18). Please ask that God would show them ways to work together to see his kingdom furthered among the Zhuang.