The Olympics begin in China in 7 days. All eyes will be on the China we can see on t.v. and it's the China, China wants us to see. But there's more than meets the eye.
Recently, the Lord began turning my heart towards praying for the people who make my clothes. Now almost every time I put on something or buy something I check to see where it's made and I'd say at least 90 % of the time it's made in China. It's made me realize that there are human hands, and human hearts, with a need for forgiveness and salvation, love and mercy, behind the comforts I take for granted everyday. It's turned my heart towards China even more. I mean somewhere in China is a woman or man, maybe even a child, using skill, craft and labor to make something I use to cover my body. This is the China we don't see on t.v. There are no ceremonies or games for sewing.
When there has been a brief light shed on the Chinese men and women who labor for our supply, it's shameful. In light of human rights we would look upon the working conditions of some of these places and say, "That's not fair!" Maybe it's not, but that's not the perspective I'm taking here. Mine is one that skips right past the middle-man of world-governing powers, over issues such as labor laws, and goes straight to the Creator, Lover and Redeemer of souls. What I want to remember and speak out for is prayer and thanksgiving, intercession and evangelism.
Prayer. I want to pray that if there be any Christians who labor to make my clothes and things I use everyday, and they are treated harshly or not cared for rightly, that the message of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 would be revealed to these dear brothers and sisters, " Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brothers,in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God." (ESV). I pray that they would know they are not slaves of men, but they serve the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray they would be lights in the dark places they labor to those who truly are slaves in their souls. I pray that the message of the gospel would spread and create a workforce of worshipers of Jesus who are truly free.
Thanksgiving. I give thanks for what I wear. I don't know how to sew, and I certainly couldn't afford to make my own clothes even if I did. But I can afford to buy something at a store which was made by hands in China. I thank God for these who serve me in such a way.
Intercession. I pray to the God who establishes leaders and governments, who stirs the hearts of bosses and people in authority. Father, I lift up the souls who made the garments I wear. You know who they are. Send out your ministering angels and your workers in the field to them. Reveal Jesus to them. Show them the One who truly makes them free.
Evangelism. Lord of the harvest, send Your workers into the fields of those who labor behind the scenes in China. Send men and women out from house churches and neighborhoods to the hands who made my clothes. Encourage the hearts of those who spread Your Gospel in China. May they see right past the attempts of government to stop the spread of Your word as You have said, "The gates of hell will not prevail against..." them.
I encourage you to go to the China Aid website or the Voice of the Martyrs website and get a Pray for China bracelet and educate yourself about what's really going on in China. Please remember, as the Spirit urges us to:
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. - Hebrews 13:3
Of note: Read about President Bush's meeting with Chinese human and religious rights leaders and pray for Mr. Bush's trip to China and his conversations with Chinese leaders.
Father, I pray for boldness. I pray that You would stir the hearts of Chinese leaders to favor Your people in China.