USA: religious freedom – victory for Christian business – Religious freedom: Ashers Bakery’s increased profits Election and Thy Kingdom Come – Thy Kingdom Come – ten days of prayerVenezuela: desperate humanitarian disaster – Middle East: prayer request for pastor – Israel: cars attacked, stone-thrower killed – More>

Prayer Alert - Informing and equipping Christians - Online and to Inbox
Informing and equipping Christians – Online and to Inbox

ISSUE 20-2017

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Friday 19th May 2017

Dear Ron,

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. (Psalm 8:4,5)

We are pleased to enclose this week`s edition of Prayer Alert with apologies for the delayed delivery.

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Thank you again for standing with us in prayer over the nations.

David Fletcher – For the Prayer Alert Team

Pray 4 Nigeria Website

Prayer Alert from the Prayer Forum of the British Isles and Ireland


Praise Reports

Europe

Greece: a Muslim refugee and Christianity

EU calls for border controls to be lifted

Albania: one-sided election

Worldwide

Praise Reports - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

USA: religious freedom – victory for Christian business

The owner of a Christian T-shirt designer and printer business recently won an appeal case after he objected to printing a pro-LGBT message on an order of T-shirts. Blaine Adamson, managing owner of Hands On Originals, said he and his staff never refuse to do business with someone based on their personal beliefs, but he felt compelled in 2012 to decline to print a message for a gay pride event because it went against his convictions. The Gay and Lesbian Services Organisation promoting the event then filed a discrimination lawsuit against Adamson and his company. The legal action that followed went on for five years. During that time Adamson and his staff remained committed to trusting that God would honour their decision to stand by their convictions. Adamson’s lawyer said after the victorious court case that the law can’t force people to express a message in conflict with their deepest convictions.

Praise:

God that Americans can have the freedom to express Christian beliefs in business. (Ps.50:15)

More:

Religious freedom: Ashers Bakery’s increased profits

Ashers Baking Company, a Christian bakery in Belfast which was sued by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and found guilty of discrimination by refusing to bake a cake supporting same-sex marriage, has reported record profits. These topped £1.5 million last year, an annual increase of more than £170,000. In 2014, the McArthur family who own and run Ashers turned down the cake order because they said the slogan on the cake conflicted with their Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. The Equality Commission sued them, and the bakery lost the legal fight a year later. According to the Christian Institute, which is backing the company, the McArthur family is in the process of appealing to the UK Supreme Court.

Praise:

God for his provision for those who depend and trust in Him. Ask Him to give the final victory in the Supreme Court to His people who depend and trust in Him for their provision. (Prov. 3:5-6)

More:

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Friday Focus: being an effective witness

We’re constantly witnessing to hundreds of things as important to us (iPhones, Ford cars, Levi’s, etc). How much more, though, do we witness to Jesus as the heart of all we are? The question isn’t ‘Shall we witness?’, but ‘are we going to be good witnesses?’. If Jesus rose from the dead, every part of our lives should be different! (written by Barry Hill, Rector of Market Harborough)

Pray:

Generous God, as we have known Your love, life, salvation, joy, mercy and hope, help us to be generous in sharing Your call effectively with those around us. Help us to live in a way that provokes and intrigues people to seek You. Give us opportunities, courage and joy in showing and sharing Your life this week. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

More:

Thy Kingdom Come – ten days of prayer

From 25 May to 4 June individuals and churches around the nation will join in a global ‘wave of prayer’ for the ten days leading up to Pentecost. There is a rich variety of activities taking place, and it is exciting to see many ways in which we can engage with God in praying for our communities and nations. Below are some of the events for which we can intercede in advance:- Ask God that many will attend city-wide praise/prayer events, and that events being held in public locations will draw many shoppers into the God-filled space. Pray for prayer breakfasts to be filled with spiritual tastes of Kingdom. Pray that the 24/7 prayer chains organised by church communities will have all slots filled, creating a mighty canopy of prayer over their communities. May those setting up prayer rooms be blessed with God-inspired fresh ideas that draw people closer to Him.

Pray:

for intercessors to come nearer to Jesus in fresh new Spirit-led times. (Matthew 6:10)

More:

Election and Thy Kingdom Come

There are three weeks to go to the election: campaigning, slogans, soundbites, personal attacks, and sensational headlines rather than policies and manifesto commitments. However, Hebrews 12:1b-2a says, ‘Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.’ We need to persevere in prayer for our communities, for our nations, for those who seek election as MPs, and for the new UK Government – especially at this crucial time in our history. When the dates for ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ 2017 were announced, nobody knew there would be an election a few days after Pentecost. Many churches will be praying in a more focussed way just before the election. This would not have happened if this call to prayer had not been issued.

Pray:

for the Church to call out for a fresh move of the Holy Spirit throughout the land and a transformation in the political atmosphere. (Psalm 33:10-11)

More:

Bringing the good news of Jesus to the election

There are certain critical issues that quickly reveal whether a society recognises or rejects the reality that we are made in God’s image and pursue God’s values. It is vital that Christians speak out on them, even if others want to bury them. Politicians may want to tell us that the big issue in this election is the economy, the NHS, or immigration. They are not unimportant but none is the most fundamental. In fact, some of the challenges we face in those areas are simply symptoms of a deeper problem. The biggest issue isn’t Brexit. It’s a moral, relational and spiritual challenge; freedom, family, life and Christianity. Pray for the result of this election to cause our nations to turn and walk the ancient paths of our Christian heritage. Pray for a new confidence in the value and relevance of Christianity in our culture.

Pray:

for Parliament to end political and social compromising of faith issues. Pray that leaders will speak out with a Christian voice, establishing Christian values in the UK. (Psalm 37:30)

More:

How did your MP vote?

engaGE17 has launched a database of MP voting records on key concerns. People just need to type in their postcode to find out how their MP voted on crucial issues relating to life, family and justice in the last parliament. It’s a really quick and easy way for Christians to engage in the General Election on 8th June. The issues featuring in this database are highly likely to be debated again in the next parliament; many are matters of conscience and subject to a free vote. engaGE17 is also encouraging people to use this data to ask questions of their candidates at upcoming hustings and to those out canvassing in the community. They have developed a ‘Questions for Candidates’ booklet and key policy briefings to help people discover where their candidates stand, plus a range of other resources. See also

Pray:

for many to use engaGE17, and vote for those God has called to leadership. (John 1:5)

More:

Speak out for persecuted Christians at local hustings

The General Election is an excellent opportunity to put the cause of persecuted Christians on the agenda of your election candidates – and ultimately your future MP. You can do this by asking a question about freedom of religion or belief at your local hustings (events where election candidates debate policies and answer questions from potential voters). Hustings are organised by a range of community groups, including many churches. The following are a few suggested questions to use: If you become an MP, how will you engage with issues of international freedom of religion or belief? If your party forms the next government, in which ways will it stand up for freedom of religion or belief around the world? What are your party’s plans for protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief in the government’s foreign policy and aid strategy? You can download and print these and other questions here

Pray:

for many to speak out for our persecuted brothers and sisters at local hustings. (Prov. 31:8,9)

More:

The truth of the resurrection

Rev Gavin Ashenden (featured in a Prayer Alert article on 5 May about a controversy over the Qu’ran being read in church) responded to a survey showing that one in four British adults who consider themselves Christians do not believe that the resurrection of Jesus really happened. He said that such people ‘made the mistake of confusing British culture with Christianity,’ according to The Daily Telegraph, which ran the story. ‘Those people who neither believe in the resurrection nor go anywhere near a church cannot be Christians,’ he said. ‘As with so many things, the key is in the definition of terms. Discovering the evidence for the resurrection having taken place to be wholly compelling is one of the things that makes you a Christian.’

Pray:

for more clergy to speak out clearly in the media regarding the Christian faith and beliefs, and for the debate of religious literacy and religion to be aired openly more often. (1 Corinthians 15:17)

More:

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Europe - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Greece: a Muslim refugee and Christianity

Mahmoud believed that all Christians lied and killed Muslims, but he embraced Christianity after experiencing the love and compassion of believers firsthand. He was forced to flee Iraq after IS invaded the country; the terrorists tortured him because he refused to support their ‘caliphate’. While travelling by dinghy to Greece his boat sank, plunging him into the sea, but Greek coastal authorities rescued him. Mahmoud was terrified: ’I knew they would kill me because I am a Muslim – this is what I had been told.’ But they pulled him from the water and gave him dry clothes and food. Eventually, Mahmoud was connected with a Christian ministry and they told him about Jesus. ‘For 40 years my people have lied to me’, he said with tears in his eyes. ‘I need to know the truth. I need to know about Jesus.’ He accepted Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

Pray:

for the indigenous workers in Greece, who speak Arabic and minister to refugees. (Luke.19:10)

More:

EU calls for border controls to be lifted

On 2 May, the European Commissioner for migration asked Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Sweden (some of the richest and most preferred European destinations for migrants) to implement a gradual withdrawal, over the next six months, of the temporary controls applied in 2015 at their Schengen borders. Critics believe this could trigger another immigration crisis, and allow jihadists to cross Europe without being detected. Many Christians believe God is using this situation to bring the unsaved out of closed countries and into opportunities to hear the gospel (see the previous article).

Pray:

for borders to protect us from Islamic militancy while allowing persecuted refugees entry. (Zeph. 3:9)

More:

Albania: one-sided election

Albania’s main religion is Islam. In the 1990s the country ended 46 years of communism and established a multiparty democracy. Successive governments have coped with high unemployment, corruption, organised crime networks, and shady political opponents and progressed with political and economic reforms, taking the first steps towards joining the EU. Albania is still one of the poorest countries in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and inadequate energy and transportation infrastructures. The elections yesterday were held without any centre-right opposition. On 5 May Macedonia’s parliament speaker asked President Tomislav Nikolić to recognise a majority of Social Democrats and ethnic Albanian members of parliament so they could form a new government, but he refused. Germany and the USA will recognise the election outcome even without the opposition’s participation. See here

Pray:

for the president to act according to the constitution, and for fair free elections. (Prov. 28:2)

More:

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Worldwide - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Venezuela: desperate humanitarian disaster

Thousands scavenge on the streets for scraps of food. Masses wait in long queues for basic necessities that are largely unaffordable and unavailable. Venezuela’s economic crisis is now a humanitarian disaster. 82% live in poverty. There are massive food shortages. Three-quarters eat less than two meals per day. There has been a sharp rise in infant mortality, maternal deaths, malaria, and diphtheria. 85% of medicine is in short supply. There have been demonstrations against the government which have become increasingly violent. President Maduro has prosecuted political rivals under terrorism laws, and on 14 May the Supreme Court tried to dissolve the national legislature, which is led by the political opposition. Beneath all this is a spiritual battle. Venezuela is the least church-going country in Latin America. Many, even within the Church, dabble in Spiritism. New Age spirituality is on the rise, and Satanists actively seek to destroy the Church.

Pray:

for people, regardless of social status, to know Christ’s love. (John 14:14)

More:

Iran: what people think of today’s election

Iran’s presidential election today is seen as a referendum on Hassan Rouhani’s outreach to Western nations and his nuclear deal with world powers. The following are comments by some Tehran residents: ‘- I decided not to vote; candidates do not consider the future of our youth. – People have difficulty making a living. – I will not vote, I do not know any of these candidates and I do not trust any of them. – Voting or not voting will not make any difference. – I vote because of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the enemies around my country. – The biggest challenge of Iran is the mismanagement. If the president stops the reckless use of people’s assets by officials, it is possible to improve the situation. – 80% of the young people I know are jobless even though they hold master’s degrees. – Voting is a way of showing our protest to the heads of the ruling system.’

Pray:

for God to work through whoever leads Iran to bring the nation into a peaceful, economically stable country with religious freedom. (Ezra 6:14b)

More:

USA: growing sense of crisis

Escalating events: -President Putin claims to have records of the meeting between Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and President Trump. -Reports that Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation into the former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s links to Russia. -The White House denies there was ever a Trump/Comey meeting. -Israel emerges as supplying sensitive security intelligence to Trump. -Trump shared the material with Russia. -Trump fired Comey, who was leading investigative links between the Trump campaign and Russia. -The New York Times cited a memo Comey wrote about his meeting with Trump in February. Did the US president try to influence an FBI investigation? Now former prosecutor and FBI director Robert Mueller will oversee an independent inquiry into ‘Russia,/Trump true/fake news’. Democrats and Republicans agree that Mueller ‘has a history of standing up to the White House’. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Trump growing increasingly angry with staff; some have turned to impeachment gallows humour, some are contacting consultants and circulating their CVs . See here

Pray:

for God to place this whole situation under His wings. Pray for an end to uninstructed, uninformed decisions and spontaneous actions, and that everything hidden will be revealed. (Prov. 19:20)

More:

Middle East: prayer request for pastor

On 5 May Prayer Alert readers were invited to praise God for many baptisms of former Muslims. At the time Pastor Paul mentioned that he had been stoned and injured by radical militants after one of these baptism services. It was thought not be a serious injury: however, now he is in urgent need of prayer. He had been recovering from his injuries first at a secret location and then at his home after skull surgery, but last Sunday he was rushed back to hospital for more surgery. Doctors discovered infection within the injured areas of his head. A colleague said that last week, he had been back to evangelical activities, visiting several homes and preaching in a meeting. More threats on him and his family ensued, and after that he had pain and breathing problems.

Pray:

for protection and complete healing for Pastor Paul, and for God to shield and protect him and his wife as they go about God’s work. (Psalm 30:2)

More:

Libya: slavery threatens refugees

Desperate West African migrants, fleeing joblessness and violence and hoping for a better life in Europe, sometimes pay exorbitant fees to smugglers to get to Libya (a launchpad for Italy). Few are aware of Libya’s current lawless condition. Libya could be the end of their journey and their lives. Slavery is openly practised. The UN International Organisation for Migration reported the situation being dire. ‘Betrayed by ruthless smugglers, kidnapped off of the streets, sub-Saharan migrants are ruthlessly exploited by money-hungry Arabs. Some are sold; others are imprisoned. Escapees describe squalid conditions in prison, little food, and always forced labour. Captors regularly call home demanding a ransom. Men whose ransoms are not quickly paid are executed. With meagre food and unsanitary conditions, the death rate is rampant.’ Aid agencies have repatriated 1,500 people so far this year. Aware of this, criminals now pose as fraudulent aid groups.

Pray:

for agencies and governments to resolve the situation and protect the vulnerable. (Hab. 1:4,5a)

More:

Israel: cars attacked, stone-thrower killed

Arabs are blocking a main road leading to Israeli communities and stoning cars as they pass through. Cars are sustaining heavy damage. One motorist, fearing for his life when attacked with cinder blocks, opened fire at the rioters through his broken windscreen and killed a rioter. The head of Samaria Regional Council said he fully supported the resident who shot back while protecting himself and those around him, adding, ‘We must act with zero tolerance towards terrorists who want to stop our daily routines and to literally harm our residents.’ He said they mustn’t handle terrorists with kid gloves, saying it is unacceptable that a mother taking her son to the doctor should be attacked in broad daylight.. Stoning incidents have happened three times this week, but the IDF has not confronted the perpetrators.

Pray:

for tempers to cool, and peace to prevail in the area. (Proverbs 15:18)

More:

Yemen: cultural capital of conflict

The city of Taiz has 2.4 million people, living in tragedy resulting from the two-year war. The city is important geographically, as it lies between the southern provinces, controlled by Hadi’s forces, and the northern provinces which are controlled by former President Saleh’s forces and the Houthis. Also, its southwestern coast overlooks the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait, which sees one-third of the oil trade every day. Taiz has become central to the Yemen conflict, and militants are increasingly interested in controlling it. It has become a city ravaged by war and the Houthi blockade. Disease and malnutrition threaten people’s lives. Public employees’ salaries are cut, it is difficult to get relief aid to the displaced and afflicted, and living conditions are going downhill. People have fled to temporary settlements or camps, without access to sanitation or basic needs.

Pray:

for an end to blockades so that relief can get through to the city. Pray for the homeless, the children and the elderly, and that all armed factions will leave. (Habakkuk 1:13b)

More:

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Prayer Alert is produced in partnership with The World Prayer Centre, Cornerstone House, 5 Ethel Street, Birmingham, B2 4BG, England.
The views expressed in Prayer Alert and on our website are those of the authors, organisations and websites named, and are not necessarily those of the Prayer Alert Editorial Team, the Prayer Alert Steering Group or the World Prayer Centre or any of its employees or trustees. While we try to ensure that the information we provide is correct, mistakes do occur and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of our material. If you do notice any mistakes then please let us know.

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