The weight on the shoulders of a national leader in our generation is huge. The issues that they have to deal with, the responsibilities they face, are heavy indeed. 1 Tim 2:1-4 commands us to pray for them: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made ... for kings and all who are in authority… For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
At the time of writing, the responsibilities on the shoulders of the Chinese leadership are almost impossibly heavy. Consider the following:
- The pork crisis in China. “China faces a huge shortage of pork – by far the country’s favourite meat – after losing about half of its pigs to African swine fever over the past 15 months. China’s pork production has plummeted an estimated 45%, while the price of pork soared 101% in October 2019.” The implications of that on China’s wider economic situation and on the sentiments of its people are obvious.
- Bubonic plague is back in the news after China reported three cases of the infectious disease in November 2019.
- The situation in Hong Kong. “In November 2019, nearly 3 million of Hong Kong's 4 million registered voters expressed their disapproval of the city’s current government in a decisive local election that gave the opposition and the protest movement a mandate to push against Beijing’s control.”
- The Xinjiang situation. 400 pages of secret internal party documents were leaked to reporters outside of China (almost certainly by a dissenter near to the Chinese leadership). They reveal the mass repression taking place against the Uighur people with irrefutable evidence of the imprisonment and the cruel mistreatment of up to 1 million Uighur people.
- Two simultaneous incidents in Australia. “Media reports in numerous outlets in late November claimed that a man who acted as a spy for China has offered intelligence information to Australia (about his activities in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia) and wants political asylum. Meanwhile, it was reported that a Melbourne-based car dealer had been offered a bribe by China to run as a parliamentary candidate, before he was found dead in March” (Bloomberg). His death is currently regarded as unexplained.
- The complexities of the trade war with the United States. Some experts say that neither side is currently willing to back down in any significant way.
- The proposed banning of Huawei Technologies Co. from helping build the new 5G telecommunications network on national security grounds – and other IT and technology related issues.
- All of that does not touch on the almost superhuman skills required to run a country as large and as complex as China.
For those of us who are Christians, it would seem almost incomprehensible that anyone would be able to carry the complexities of these responsibilities without a close prayer walk with the Lord Jesus. But that is a problem in most countries today, whether in the West or the East. If our leaders (including China's leaders) are not people who depend on the Lord, then surely we have the responsibility to stand in the gap for them, to pray that the Lord would lead them and direct them. As Christians, we surely have the privilege of seeking His face for China and for other nations, of taking the place of leaders, East and West, who have never understood that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Ezekiel 22:30 sums up our role: “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land…”
Pray for the leaders in China, that the Lord would guide them especially at this time of complex and difficult problems.
Pray for God-fearing people to be near the seat of power in our nations, including China - and that leaders would listen to them.
Pray specifically for the seven items listed above, or for new ones that have sprung up since these words were written!