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

ISSUE 22-2017

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Friday 2 June 2017

Dear Ron,

Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice. Proclaim the power of God! (Ps.68:32-34a)

We are pleased to enclose this week`s edition of Prayer Alert.

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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 - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Happy birthday, Church

Pentecost Sunday is when many celebrate both the power of the Spirit and the birthday of the Church. The Spirit’s power and the life of the Church are always intertwined. On the day of the Spirit’s spectacular arrival among the disciples, 120 Jesus-followers became a church of over 3,000 (over 2,500% growth in one day)! It is because Pentecost is the Church’s birthday that many congregations include church-belonging rituals (confirmations, first communions, baptisms and dedications) in their celebrations. When a congregation commits to celebrating Pentecost, they are declaring that ‘the church is God’s plan A for the world – and there’s no plan B.’ Our individual journeys matter, but they are always part of the larger story God is telling through the people gathering in His name. Pentecost is the birthplace of global missions.

Praise:

God for the Church’s birthday, and pray: ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.’ (Matthew 6:10)

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Frederick Forsyth’s answered prayer

‘I had scrounged a lift on the third-from-last plane out of Biafra at the end of the Nigerian civil war. My lift was on a clapped-out old DC-4 flown by an Afrikaner, heading for Libreville, Gabon. The fuselage was overloaded with dying Biafran children and Irish nuns. Somewhere over the Niger delta the port outer engine coughed and gave up. We struggled on three engines and turned east towards Gabon; the starboard outer began to splutter. It was clear the old rust-bucket wouldn’t fly, and we sank towards the sea. Hymn-singing began in Afrikaans. I prayed quietly, convinced it was all over. The moon on the water came closer as we nearly skimmed the ocean. Fortunately, the French had built Libreville airport close to the shore. The dangling wheels almost clipped the sand dunes, then we were over concrete. At that moment the engine stopped and the crippled aircraft dropped onto the tarmac. The Afrikaner stopped singing and began to thank the Almighty. It would have been churlish not to follow suit.’

Praise:

God for His plans, His protection, His provision and His Power for His people. (Job 10:12)

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British Isles and Ireland - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Friday Focus: Come, Holy Spirit

When we pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ we don’t immediately think of Mary! Yet, when we reflect on Luke 1:35 it reminds us that praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’ will bring all sorts of changes and disruption into our lives! It is through Mary’s welcoming of God’s Spirit that transformation on a global, even cosmic scale was enacted. (written by Lynn Green, general secretary, Baptist Union)

Pray:

Come, Holy Spirit! We trust you, and we want to open our lives and be willing to be changed and disrupted in the process. As we pray for your Kingdom to come, we ask that you will give us the humility and courage to receive and release your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Intercessors’ focus

With an election next week and police more visible on our streets, we need to keep steadfastly focussed upon God. When we unwaveringly ‘know’ His presence, we have renewed strength to intercede for our lands with heaven-inspired love, confidence and power. Now is the time for us to call on God with boldness to raise up the wise leaders and political advisors that the nation needs – men and women of common sense who are able to keep pace with the fast-moving changes in public affairs and European negotiations that are to come. Also, more than ever, we need to pray for our police and all those working in the front line to keep us safe. They need reliable astute support from their line managers and those in consultative roles. May God raise up and anoint trustworthy people to step into key leadership positions at the helm of the UK. (written by Linda Digby – Prayer Alert team)

Pray:

for God to be preparing future politicians and strengthening national security. (Isaiah 11:3,4)

A humorous way of highlighting voter apathy

On Tuesday ‘Forever Beta’ created a party election broadcast for the CBA party. The acronym stands for Campaign to Banish Apathy. It’s a fake group representing the 15.9 million people who didn’t vote in the last election. This subversive campaign wants to get the population to the polls next Thursday, and notes that if the number of people who didn’t vote formed one party, it would be the biggest in the UK. The three-minute spot uses humour to highlight the absurdity of this fact. Their website informs the electorate why they should vote and where they can vote. We can pray for voters to be shaken out of apathy, and for Christian voters to put down their own preferences and listen to God’s Holy Spirit for direction.

Pray:

for the country to get out and vote according to God’s purposes. (Romans 12:11)

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School struggling to balance the books

It is half-term, but Tanbridge House School (in West Sussex) is open and teachers have come in to hold revision classes for pupils who will soon take their GCSEs. Another group is on a trip to Berlin, and last week pupils were taken to the West End to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This state secondary school, specialising in science, maths, and computing, is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, and its results place it in the top 5% of schools across the country. However, the head teacher warns that it may have to go down to a four-day week because he can no longer afford to employ enough teachers, due to funding cuts. They have had to lay off three teachers and five support staff, and increase class sizes.

Pray:

for the right person to be appointed as the next Secretary of State for Education. (Luke 14:28)

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Government needs to stand up for Christians

The UK will hold a general election next week, which will put in place a new government. Barnabas Fund is calling on all political parties to make specific commitments to help persecuted Christians. It has launched a manifesto, endorsed by church leaders and peers from across the political spectrum, which calls on the next government to take specific actions to address the genocide of Christians in the Middle East. We are called to pray and ask that the Lord – who is God of kings and governments (Daniel 2:47) – to establish in authority those who will act justly. Pray that the Government will give priority to responding to the persecution of Christians, instead of focusing on ‘equality’ issues which see anti-Christian discrimination sidelined.

Pray:

for politicians to understand and value the UK’s heritage of religious freedom. Pray for them to awake to the challenges of the spread of shari’a enforcement around the world. (1 Peter 3:12)

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Attitudes to abortion

Figures about public attitudes to abortion, particularly women’s attitudes, suggest a lot of unease with the current abortion law. Some suggest that this unease is to do with advances in prenatal screening. It is hard to compare a six-month cut-off limit for abortions with ubiquitous images of foetuses at twelve weeks looking embarrassingly, palpably, human. They may not be capable of surviving outside the womb – but they’re human all right. On the most important issue, the period during which abortion is legal, a large majority of women (7 out of 10) are in favour of reducing the time-limit, with nearly six in ten in favour of a limit of 16 weeks or fewer. There is also a large majority wanting parents to be informed when their underage daughter has an abortion, and a very large majority in favour of a ban on sex-selective abortions.

Pray:

for health practitioners, parliamentarians and pundits to hear the overwhelming objections to the current approach to abortions and implement a change in abortion laws. (Psalm 139:16)

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Power to ban jihadists used just once

Home secretary Amber Rudd has said that a key power intended to control British jihadists has only been used once, despite the return of about 350 fighters from IS. Under Temporary Exclusion Orders (TEOs), British citizens suspected of fighting abroad can be banned from returning to the UK for up to two years. Their travel documents can be cancelled, and they can be refused re-entry unless they agree to restrictions such as enrolling on a deradicalisation programme or reporting to police on a regular basis. The sole subject of a TEO is believed to be a male who fought for IS. More TEOs are under consideration, but ‘no more than four or five’, according to sources. To date dozens of suspects have had passports confiscated for national security reasons, and seven suspects living in the UK are subjected to TPIMs (Terrorism and Prevention and Investigation Measures), which restrict their movements and activities.

Pray:

for Britain to utilise its access to key security database material that is available, including information from outside the United Kingdom. (Daniel 2:21b)

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Europe - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Germany: more births, but fewer midwives

Since 2012 the German birth rate has been increasing. In 2014 the Huffington Post reported petitions circulating to warn the public about the threat to the midwifery profession. They called on expectant families to put pressure on the German government’s health minister to come up with a solution to the massive increases in insurance rates on midwives, especially those who assist in birth. The July 2017 German Intercessors newsletter requests prayer for midwives’ working conditions. ‘Anyone looking for a midwife before childbirth must expect many refusals. More and more freelance midwives are leaving the profession. They cannot afford the unbelievably high contributions for personal liability insurance, even though subsidies are now provided by the state.’ The midwife association is asking for a fund to cover liabilities for self-employed midwives. Full-time salaried midwives have another problem; their working conditions allow them no time to rest.

Pray:

for a fundamental improvement in working conditions for midwives, and for help with personal liability insurance. (1 Timothy 5:18)

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Belgium: EU summit 1-2 June

Disillusioned with protectionism and the US government’s rejection of low-carbon economic models, the European Union hopes that China will stick with the climate change agreements made during the summit in in Brussels. China has a very big air-pollution problem, especially in Beijing. Also the policy for China’s domestic economic development is very clearly a green economy policy. Preventing dangerous climate change is a key priority for the EU. Europe is working hard to cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially, while encouraging other nations and regions to do likewise. Key EU targets for 2020 are a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 1990; 20% of total energy consumption from renewable energy; and 20% increase in energy efficiency.

Pray:

for EU climate change targets to be reached, and for more countries to catch the vision of a greener environment. (Genesis 2:15)

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Worldwide - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Extreme weather: Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

The worst monsoon since 2003 hit Sri Lanka after two months of drought. 194 people died, and the toll is expected to rise. 99 people are missing, and 112 injured. Over half a million people are affected. Red Cross, police, foreign aid workers, and military are giving first aid, organising search and rescue missions, and distributing food and water. Homes are uninhabitable. Barnabas Fund reported that 200 churches and 5,000 Christian families are affected. However, Christians have not sought shelter in relief camps, fearing persecution, especially those in Buddhist temples. On 30 May Cyclone Mora’s winds of 85 mph lashed Bangladesh forcing the evacuation of 2.5 million people, killing at least six, destroying 20,000 houses and felling hundreds of trees. Meanwhile President Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, according to two senior US officials familiar with his plans – a major reversal of the previous administration’s efforts on climate change. See also

Pray:

for police, troops, and aid agencies bringing relief; for Christians experiencing persecution in camps; for the bereaved, homeless, frail and vulnerable. Pray also for infrastructure repairs. (Psalm 31:2)

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Afghanistan: Kabul bombing

Ninety died and 400 were injured when a truck bomb shook Kabul’s diplomatic quarter, in one of the worst terror incidents to hit Kabul. People struggled to deal with the number of casualties. The damage was enormous. The majority of the dead were civilian men, women and children. In recent years jihadist groups have called for attacks on civilians during Ramadan, which began on 27 May. The explosion raises questions about security procedures. However, yesterday the president told the BBC Today programme that thirty attacks are foiled for every one that gets through. Three years after David Cameron declared ‘mission accomplished’ and Barack Obama said the American war in Afghanistan was over, this carnage demonstrates the opposite. The West does not want another escalating war, while generals on the ground call for more troops. In 1989 foreign powers turned their backs on Afghanistan, which enabled the Taliban to burgeon. Now, the country cannot be allowed to disintegrate again in the face of IS, with the internet accelerating the dissemination of both ideology and violence. See also

Pray:

for the bereaved and injured; also for President Ashraf Ghani and NATO to make the right decisions as they tackle the terrorists’ recent ‘spring offensive’ which targets foreigners. (Psalm 55:18)

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Israel: ‘third intifada’

A recent wave of terror has brought fear to people in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Many are fearful of exposing their families to danger. Tourism is in decline as many people cancel holidays, causing negative effects on the Israeli economy. This damages small businesses and the families they support. The attacks, which many have called the ‘third intifada,’ have worsened a major ongoing problem. Recent reports show that almost one third of Israeli families live below the poverty line. Thousands of babies frequently miss meals or have their feed portions diluted, causing an increased likelihood of experiencing significant problems in their physical and mental growth. If this continues, one-third of Israel’s population will enter adulthood under these circumstances. Pray for underprivileged families to receive enough support from government programmes and NGOs to enable them to manage their basic living expenses. May the children and babies receive the food, clothing and education they need.

Pray:

for an end to feelings of fear that so many are experiencing, and for economic stability. (Isaiah 41:10)

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Egypt: Christians on pilgrimage killed

Just hours before the beginning of Ramadan, masked gunmen riding three SUVs killed 29 and wounded 22 Coptic Christians on pilgrimage to a monastery in Upper Egypt. Most were children. This was the fourth attack on Christians since December. The bus was travelling in the desert towards a remote monastery 140 miles south of Cairo, where Christians account for more than 35% of the population, the highest ratio in any province. Security and medical officials fear the death toll could rise. Following the attack, acknowledging the lapses of security, Major-General Faisal Dewidar was transferred from his post in charge of security, as part of a wider reshuffle that included thirteen other Interior Ministry officials being removed from their posts and appointed elsewhere. Egypt then launched a series of airstrikes that targeted what it said were militant bases in eastern Libya in which the assailants were trained (see the next article).

Pray:

for the protection of Egyptian Christians, especially through the month of Ramadan. (Psalm 82:3,4)

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Libya: violence and persecution

Recent fighting between rival militias in Tripoli shattered a period of calm. Egyptian planes are now striking east Libya in response to an attack against Egyptian Christians on 29 May (see the previous article). There are three rival governments vying for control. Ongoing Christian persecution is fuelled by the anarchy and violent conflicts by Islamic militias. Both Libyan converts to Christianity from Islam and expatriate Christians are experiencing extreme pressure and high levels of violence, due to the freedom that the perpetrators have. Libya has enormous problems, but we have an even more enormous God. We can pray for the development of a unified government that will end the rising threat of IS. We can pray for the ports to function again, so that exporting oil and importing goods can resume and economic stability return. And we can pray for religious freedom to be established, and for many to listen to religious broadcasting (see the next article).

Pray:

for the end of lawlessness, and the rebuilding of Libya’s economy. (Psalm 18:29)

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Morocco: SAT-7, the cry of a generation

With an average age of 29, Morocco has a young population. But, as in neighbouring North African countries, their horizons are limited. Some 22% of young men and 38% of young women are unemployed (as at June 2013). Most of those who do work are engaged in the informal sector without the security of a contract, guaranteed work or income. In an environment which can fuel frustration and depression, a new series of SAT-7 podcasts has a clear message that God accepts us, offers change and sets us free. ‘WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD’ targets Moroccan and North African youth with messages of hope and wisdom, using a mixture of proverbs, comedy, rhymes and biblical values. Its presenter-producer, Hamid, says the short five-minute episodes aim to ‘change young people’s view of themselves and uncover deceptive views and ideas absorbed from culture and folk religion in a humorous way’.

Pray:

for the success of these broadcasts in Arabic on YouTube, and for SAT-7 to continue to grow. (John 6:47)

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Escalating violence in the Philippines

The Maute group, an Islamic extremist group linked to IS, captured nine Christians, tied their hands together and shot them dead in Marawi city, according to the Mail Online. Images circulated online show the Christians lying dead face-down in the grass. Reports say villagers are too afraid to move the bodies because terrorists are still in the area. News of the murders comes just days after the same group captured a Catholic priest, Father Teresito Suganob, the church’s secretary, two working students, and a number of parishioners. The militants are holding their hostages at an undisclosed location. They also set fire to the cathedral in Marawi. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines urged the government to make the safety of the hostages top priority.

Pray:

for Islamic religious leaders to use their influence to persuade the militants to release the hostages unharmed, and for God to comfort all victims of these two incidents. (Psalm 23:4)

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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.

Prayer Alert – World Prayer Centre, Cornerstone House, 5 Ethel street, Birmingham, B2 4BG United Kingdom

 

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