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

ISSUE 28-2017

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Friday 14 July 2017

Dear Ron,

God’s way is perfect, His word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. (2 Samuel 22:31)

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

Christian street preachers cleared of charges

Only a week after Mike Overd and Michael Stockwell’s public order convictions were overturned at Bristol Crown Court, another preacher has been acquitted of a public order offence charge. Andrew Frost had been accused of causing harassment, alarm and distress to two men in a homosexual relationship. In March, he had been preaching on the consequences of sin in Nottingham city centre, quoting Luke 13:1-5 and Matthew 15:19. As he did so, two men holding hands walked by, and shouted abusive comments at Andrew. He continued to preach from Scripture.

Praise:

God for these victories of freedom to share life-giving news of the gospel. (Romans 1:16a)

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More pioneering missionaries

The Church of England has recognised that pioneers are vital for the future of the Church. The Church Mission Society’s pioneer mission leadership training programme provides a designated pathway for ordination as an ordained pioneer minister – alongside the more traditional routes for teachers and pastors. This year there has been a further growth in numbers; an eclectic mix of missionaries will graduate this week after completing their studies in theology, ministry and mission. The pioneers included some being ordained into the Church of England as deacons or admitted to the order of Lay Pioneers. Mission pioneers are giving the Church a glimpse of the future, where mission will not be delivered solely by large para-church organisations, but increasingly through agile, innovative and creative pioneers, witnessing to love in action.

Praise:

God for inspired and imaginative preparation and mobilisation of Christians for mission. (2 Timothy 4:2)

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Friday Focus: loving our communities

We are all very grateful for the loving relationships we experience yet we also need to ask the question: ‘Who is my neighbour?’ When Jesus was asked, he responded with the story of a beaten man, helped by someone who could have been his enemy (Luke 10:25-37). Think about the different communities you belong to locally, through your interests, and even online. (Bishop Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth)

Pray:

Lord, thank you for the communities to which I belong; for their strength and their challenges. Thank you for those who have been a Good Samaritan to me in the struggles and difficulties of life. Help me to see all people through your loving gaze, so that I am prepared to show your mercy to those in need. Amen.

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Intercessor Focus: the media

The media are unquestionably powerful and influential voices in our culture. They are also a battleground between God’s purposes and Satan’s. In any given situation, Christian voices giving God’s perspective are poorly represented in broadcasting and in print. In an open society it is not the journalist’s job to represent Christian points of view; they just report an analysis of what is heard and seen. Christians have no middlemen, therefore believers in positions of authority need God’s empowering to speak up clearly to the media, declaring Kingdom values. Likewise, Christians working in the media need our prayers for boldness and fresh vision in all that they do and report. Pray for God to use His people to bring about change in media reporting and presenting, ending chronically misunderstood Christian values and spirituality, ending misrepresentation of Christianity in documentaries, ending irreligious literacy in plays and reality programmes. Pray for the media workforces to research basic Christian values and then to represent them truthfully. (Linda Digby, Prayer Alert team)

Pray:

for God to provide TV, radio and print media with staff and executives committed to truth, and for the Lord to use all media to accomplish His purposes. (Ephesians 4:29)

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‘Frankenstein’ university fees

Pray for education ministers as they consider reviewing the tuition fees and student loan system, after a damning report revealed that 75% of students will never fully repay the loans (which leave graduates with average debts of over £50,000). Sources close to Jo Johnson, the universities minister, said that the interest rate on loans might be reduced. She indicated that the situation was being looked at, along with a review of higher education funding as promised in the Tory manifesto. Labour education minister Lord Adonis, who originally promoted tuition fees, said that the annual £9,000 charges should be scrapped after becoming a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’. Adonis accused the government of running a ‘Ponzi scheme’ which left graduates with massive debts and the government with a black hole in public sector finances. Other critics said that the government should save money by withdrawing loans for degrees that lead to low salaries.

Pray:

for God to give ministers creative ideas, wisdom and solutions that will resolve this problem of tuition fees. (Luke 6:38)

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It’s time to back Israel

The UK Government is being tested on the issue of whether or not to stand with Israel. With terror threats on every side, the Jewish state is potentially in as great a peril now as its people were under the Nazis. An estimated 120,000 missiles are aimed at Israeli cities by Iran-sponsored, Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah, while their supporters have been allowed to march through London streets waving flags featuring an assault rifle and calling for Israel’s destruction. To date 11,177 people have signed a petition calling on the UK Government to ban Hezbollah. Last month, in the House of Commons, Amber Rudd said she would look into banning the annual demonstration and proscribing Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. Conservative MP John Howell believes that no lasting peace is possible if Palestinians continue to be indoctrinated to hate Jews, while Scottish MP Ross Thomson called for a full ban on Hezbollah, adding Israel was a beacon of democracy in a troubled region. See also

Pray:

for an end to the misunderstanding of Israel being the ‘occupying power’ when the terms of the 1920 international treaty signed at San Remo states they are entitled to the land. (Lev. 26:42)

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UK, Brexit and EU changes

Europe will tackle the deep problems that drove Britons to vote Leave. The European Commission’s chief strategists said they now realise that they must change fundamentally to remain relevant to people’s lives. Jean-Claude Juncker’s top officials argue that the EU is becoming more open and democratic, and that the future ‘must not be fudged or decided behind closed doors’. They directed their message to the British people, after some member states signalled that the door is still open if the UK wishes to be a part of the new future. Steve Baker, UK’s minister negotiating Brexit, said he wants the EU torn down, adding, ‘They realise that disintegration, illiberal democracy and populism are profoundly dangerous to our democratic traditions – the freedom and tolerance painstakingly built over decades, which has at times been taken for granted.’ The Archbishop of Canterbury called for a cross-party Brexit commission, saying that working together could draw much of the poison from Brexit debates.

Pray:

for political unity on Brexit, aligning the decisions made over the next two years with God’s purposes for the UK’s future and His way forward for European generations to come. (Jeremiah 29:11)

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Government criticised over ‘suppressed’ extremist report

For ‘security reasons’, the Government has refused to publish a full report on the funding of UK Islamist extremist groups. Instead, the home secretary has issued a two-page summary which states that most such groups are funded via small, anonymous British-based donations. Opposition parties claimed that the internal review was suppressed to protect Saudi Arabia from being accused of funding extremism in the UK. The Home Office has been under pressure for months to publish its investigation into the nature, scale and origin of the funding, but because of sensitive information it cannot be made public. Some MPs will view it in private but not be allowed to reveal its contents. In future, charities will have to declare any overseas funding to the Charity Commission. Overseas support for institutions that teach deeply conservative forms of Islam and provide conservative literature and preachers will also be banned.

Pray:

for this report and insights from similar investigations into extremist organisations to be successful in averting attacks and drying up subsidy streams from home and abroad. (Romans 12:21)

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Grenfell Tower: still burning with anger

It is over two weeks since the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, and people are still very angry. Many believe that people need not have died that night. Successive governments presided over a progressive weakening of regulation and inspection systems that would one day lead to tragedy. They had been warned again and again, by fire officers, buildings inspectors, MPs, insurers – everyone who knew anything at all about fire safety. In Scotland, after a man died in a 1999 tower block fire, the rules on permissible building materials were changed and the inspection regime tightened. The same was not done in England. In 2013, after six people died in a London tower block fire, a coroner recommended a review of fire safety regulations ‘with particular regard to the spread of fire over the external envelope of a building’. The review was never carried out. May health and safety rules never again be mocked.

Pray:

for all health and safety concerns to be thoroughly investigated and for immediate change, regardless of personal or financial cost, where sloppy procedures and criminal negligence are found. (Exodus 23:6)

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Europe - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Turkey: march for justice

The march from Ankara to Istanbul, from 15 June to 9 July, is a response to spreading injustice and judicial system abuse by President Erdogan’s ruling party (AKP) after last year’s coup. The 450km march and rally by the opposition party CHP offered another way of engaging in politics, not filled with divisive and hate-filled rhetoric (the default mode of AKP). Not once did Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the CHP leader, and his supporters respond negatively to pro-government followers targeting them along the route. Instead, they responded with applause. Mr Kilicdaroglu said they had gathered to break down the ‘walls of fear’ erected by the ruling party.

Pray:

for Turkey’s politics to become a first-class democracy, allowing all to voice their thoughts. (Proverbs 24:19-21a)

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Germany: staying alert

Last summer saw terrorist attacks. Do we still pray during holiday periods? We need recreation, but the enemy doesn’t take holidays – let’s stay alert, continuing to intercede during holidays. Recent events show how quickly alliances between nations can become uncertain. Nations often enter into alliances for economic reasons. Every agreement and negotiation with another nation comes with spiritual consequences. Much wisdom is required for alliances with Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and Africa. Israel must be continually ‘watched over’ in prayer. Pray for Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel as he settles into his new office.

Pray:

for alliances that are pleasing to God; for Germany to bless other nations. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

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The migratory crisis of Europe

The EU has taken legal action against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for not complying with the order to accept migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The infringement procedure authorises the EU to sue members breaching their obligations with economic sanctions. Across the EU only 20,000 migrants have been relocated to date. Of the 28 EU members, only Malta has accepted its full quota. However, many so-called asylum-seekers have refused to relocate in central and eastern Europe, where economic benefits are less than in France, Germany or Scandinavia. Also hundreds who were relocated to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have fled to richer countries.

Pray:

for countries and refugees not respecting rules to bear full political consequences. (Proverbs 16:2)

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Worldwide - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

The West: subtle attacks on Christianity

Tim Farron’s resignation from UK politics indicates that it is increasingly difficult for a practising Christian to remain leader of a political party. But even more sadly, the church in the west is falling victim to the same anti-Christian pressures. Instead of being salt and light in a fallen world, boldly proclaiming scripture truths, the Church is increasingly drawing upon the beliefs and ways of the world for moral direction on issues like abortion, marriage and multi-faith services. As the world becomes more corrupt, we can pray for Christian leaders to remain faithful to God’s Word. Pray also for all Christians in the limelight. May the example of American Christian athlete Jaelene Hinkle, who jeopardised her career by choosing not to play in games when her team supported ‘LGBT Pride’, encourage those facing modern-day pressures to compromise their faith in the workplace. May God empower all Christians facing subtle attacks on lifestyles and value systems.

Pray:

for the Holy Spirit to keep us faithful to our calling in testing times. (2 Peter 3:3)

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Syria / Iraq: children impacted by war

Children who have experienced the unspeakable horrors of war need long-term help coping with their experiences. Lives have been torn apart after years of IS rule and terrorist invasion. Since mid-2014, the people of Iraq have been caught up in a resurgence of violence that has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation stemming from Syria’s five-year civil conflict. 240,000 Syrian refugees are in the Kurdish region of Iraq, creating additional strain among host communities with limited resources of clean water, sanitation, food, shelter, essential items to help face winter, healthcare, education and emotional support. Pray for children now living in camps, struggling to express themselves, and in some cases too terrified to speak. Ask God to release more workers into this field of suffering to relieve physical and mental health resulting from brutal occupation. Many children have fled with only the clothes they wore – no toys, no comfort.

Pray:

for all such children – out of school, vulnerable to violence, coping with physical and mental health issues, and in unstable and unhygienic living conditions exposing them to diarrhoea and cholera. (Psalm 12:5)

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Israel / USA: strange proceedings at UN

Nikki Haley, the new US ambassador to the UN, has described her first Security Council meeting, which was discussing the Middle East, as ‘very strange’. She expected to be addressing maintenance of international peace and security. However, the debate was not about Hezbollah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon, or about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists, or how to defeat IS. It was not about holding President Assad accountable for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians. Instead it focused on criticising Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. She said, ‘ I am new around here, but I understand that that’s how the council has operated month after month for decades. I am here to say that the US will not turn a blind eye to Israel’s needs any more.’

Pray:

for Nikki Haley as she stands up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias. (Psalm 31:24)

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Iraq: will Christians be welcomed back?

The Government has allocated $100 billion for post-IS reconstruction in Iraq following the recapture of Mosul and other devastated towns in the Nineveh plains. The worst-destroyed areas are in the historic heartland of Iraqi Christianity, but will Christians be welcomed back? Many who fled the region in 2014 remain deeply sceptical that they will ever be able to return safely, recounting how their Muslim neighbours helped evict them and destroyed or commandeered their homes while IS militants deliberately destroyed churches. A member of the Nineveh Council told journalists that any plans for the future must be to eliminate ‘ideological extremism from the culture of the people of Mosul, who have been living for three years with IS inflammatory rhetoric, and to prevent the emergence of a new generation inspired by the culture of hate’.

Pray:

for future coexistence between the different spectrums and ethnicities of Iraq. (Psalm 80:3)

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Qatar: spiritual poverty

Qatar is accused by her Gulf neighbours of destabilising the region, and some nations have cut diplomatic ties (see Prayer Alert article). The ramifications of escalating tensions are yet to be fully determined. Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries in the region but suffers from devastating spiritual poverty; it is almost entirely Muslim, and proselytising is forbidden. The church mainly consists of foreigners. At this time of unrest we can intercede for the 90% of Qataris who have not yet heard the good news. May this pivotal moment in Qatar’s history become a spiritual turning point for a nation that has been long closed to the Gospel. Pray for the south and southeast Asians, Egyptians, Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Iranians, who comprise most of Qatar’s workforce.

Pray:

for God to open their hearts and remove all spiritual blindness. Pray for signs and wonders, pray for Christian evangelists to enter the workforce of Qatar. (John 14:4)

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India: high stakes in Monday’s election

India’s politics are complicated by caste, racial and religious prejudices, and cultural identity. The constitution outlawed the caste system, but it is very much alive. It also guarantees religious freedom, but increasing persecution threatens that liberty. On Monday Indians will elect a new president. The leading candidates, Mr Ram Nath Kovind and Mrs Meira Kumar, are Dalits (formerly known as ‘untouchables’). Mr Kovind is anti-Christian and anti-Muslim. Mrs Meira is said to ‘represent the values that bind India as a nation.’ Prime minister Modi wants a Hindu nation. There is a very real danger that Christians could be marginalised by the outcome of this election. An Indian Christian pastor is urging Christians reading this prayer alert to pray, ‘binding demonic spirits that are forcing through anti-conversion laws and trying to wipe out the Christian presence in India. Bind the spirit of confusion and pray for truth to reign, for God’s perfect plan for India to prevail.’

Pray:

for our Sovereign God, who appoints and deposes, to choose a person of integrity, honour, and justice as president of India – someone who loves and is concerned about all people in India. (Proverbs 21:1)

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Egypt: living as a terrorist target

An Egyptian blogger writes: ‘Lack of parking spots used to be one of the few concerns on Cairo streets, but there’s a different perspective now. Families used to go to church together to celebrate; now they separate, attending mass in twos and threes in different churches. It’s a precaution so that at least part of the family will survive in the event of a bomb attack. Now that most places of worship have closed their doors to visitors for “safety” reasons, people have lost the opportunities to make their usual summer spiritual visits to places of peace and prayer. Churches have cancelled all children’s summer camps and trips. I make fewer trips to church, and have become very selective where I go. With many warnings on social media against going to malls and public places, I am wary about my errands. Security checks and metal detectors all around me add to my fear instead of making me feel secure.’

Pray:

for God to protect the vulnerable in Egypt and elsewhere being targeted for their faith, bringing them consolation and encouragement. (Psalm 80:7)

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Prayer Alert is produced in partnership with The World Prayer Centre, Cornerstone House, 5 Ethel Street, Birmingham, B2 4BG, England.
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Prayer Alert – World Prayer Centre, Cornerstone House, 5 Ethel street, Birmingham, B2 4BG United Kingdom

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