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

ISSUE 29-2017

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Friday 21 July 2017

Dear Ron,

I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from his holy mountain. (Psalm 3:4)

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

Prime Minister backs faith schools

Christian education leaders have new hope after Prime Minister Theresa May promised that she would be an advocate for the establishment of new faith schools. During the last Prime Minister’s Question Time before the summer recess, Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh asked if her Government will be honouring its manifesto pledge to remove the faith-based cap for free schools. He said, ‘Catholic dioceses up and down the country are anxious to open free schools, and some have even purchased sites.’ Theresa May responded, ‘The reason we put that in our manifesto, and the reason it was in the schools Green Paper that we published before the election, is that we do believe it is important to enable more faith schools to be set up and more faith schools to expand.’

Praise:

God for this pledge, and pray that new free schools will indered be opened up in the coming years. (1 Peter 4:11a)

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New ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ film

Christian filmmakers King Street Pictures have begun production of a ground-breaking faith-based fantasy adventure film, based on the 1678 novel ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ by John Bunyan. Regarded as the first novel written in English, it has been translated into over 200 languages and has never been out of print. It is second only to the Bible itself in global sales, and was begun by Bunyan when he was in prison for conducting religious services without permission. Now, the beloved Christian allegory will be put to film in ‘Heavenquest – A Pilgrim’s Progress.’ The film will bring together an international cast of well-known actors from South Korea, Mexico, Australia, and North America. See also

Praise:

God for Christians in the media and faith-based films. (John 14:6)

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

Friday Focus: young people following Jesus

The latest research commissioned by HOPE Revolution shows that 13% of 11- to 18-year-olds are actively following Jesus, praying regularly and attending church at least once a month. We long for these young people to take the lead in sharing the hope they have with their friends and family. (Phil Timson, HOPE)

Pray:

Heavenly Father, thank You for every young person who is seeking to follow Jesus. Pour out Your Holy Spirit on them, equipping them to put their faith into words and actions. Raise up leaders among them to lead your church and reach the lost. (1 Tim. 4:12)

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Intercessor Focus: children’s holiday clubs

Schools are shutting for the summer vacation, and hundreds of children’s holiday clubs and schemes will be starting – most of them run by local churches. Pray for God to give energy, wisdom and strength to the army of volunteers who will be giving up their time to share God’s amazing love. Bible stories will be recreated in drama, storytelling, singing, and dance and reinforced through craft and games. Most of these clubs choose not to charge children to attend, believing that no child should miss out for financial reasons. Thank God for the round-the-year fundraising events that are held to meet the costs of these schemes, and pray that voluntary donations given by families during the holiday weeks will fill any financial gaps. May God protect every child from accident and sickness. (Linda Digby, Prayer Alert team)

Pray:

for a powerful spirit of evangelism to blow through every event, bringing thousands upon thousands of children and their families into God’s Kingdom this summer. (Acts 1:8)

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Brexit and UK foreign policy

The Brexit teams meet this week after a delayed negotiation start. Pray for both Davis and Barnier as they compare their respective positions; may they make good progress, identifying differences and recognising similarities that can be reinforced. The Centre for European Policy Studies believes the delay is indicative of UK politicians’ division and infighting. Pray for a healing of rifts during the summer break between chancellor Philip Hammond and his colleagues, and for harmony when parliament resumes in September. Also many believe that, whether through arrogance or incompetence, the reputation of the Foreign Office has been undermined under Boris Johnson. His comment that ‘the EU could go whistle for its money in the Brexit negotiations’ opened a potential no-deal scenario which could dismantle the economy. Pray that Mr Johnson, a man of high intelligence, may reveal the more serious and credible side of his personality.

Pray:

for better cooperation between the UK and the EU, and for fragmented politics to be replaced with serious discussions secure from leaks to the media. (1 Cor. 1:10)

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Debt – a never-ending battle

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the proportion of UK residents’ disposable income that goes into savings has fallen to a record low. The general secretary of the TUC said, ‘The figures make grim reading. People raiding piggy banks is bad news for working people and the economy.’ With falling wages as living costs rise, many families are running down their savings or relying on credit cards, loans and even foodbanks to get through the month as working households struggle to make ends meet. Vince Cable said, ‘Families are increasingly unable to live within their means or save for the future. Our economy’s reliance on consumer spending, propped up by debt, is not sustainable.’ Recently, Moneyfacts said that savers have had a ‘never-ending battle’ to get a decent return on their cash over the past few years, and savings rates are failing to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

Pray:

for God to rule over and through government and banking as they take a fresh look at interest rates. Pray for God to open His storehouse to bring change and prove His rule over mammon. (Deuteronomy 28:12)

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The Bible’s authority: the General Synod

The Church of England’s General Synod took place two weeks ago. On 7 July, the Archbishop of York John Sentamu rejected the authority of the Bible in response to an amendment proposed by Andrea Williams, to insert the words ‘as revealed in the Bible and taught by the Church’ to a motion calling for politicians to ‘prioritise the common good of all people.’ Andrea spoke on the need for the Bible to inform our understanding of the common good. The archbishop said, ‘If you’re going to serve the whole community please don’t limit our language. The Word became flesh and sadly we are now making it Word, Word and Word again. Resist the amendments.’ On 8 July the Synod passed a private member’s motion by an LGBT activist to ban therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction. Sentamu spoke in favour of the motion. Also rejected were the protection of life, the promotion of marriage and family, and the maintaining of Christian freedoms.

Pray:

for Christian leaders to hear God and move according to His call on their lives, releasing Kingdom values to questions regarding government priorities and policies. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

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Is Christianity in crisis?

93% of the 12,000 Christians who took part in a State of Faith survey feel that their faith is being marginalised by society. Tim Dieppe of Christian Concern – which offers legal support to Christians who say they have been unfairly treated – said the results resonate ‘very much’ with experiences over the years. He believes that this research is the tip of the iceberg, and that there is now a very strong groundswell of people experiencing prejudice or marginalisation. The survey also revealed that a) half of respondents have personally experienced prejudice against their faith; b) 67% think it is considered unacceptable for Christians to share their faith; and c) another 67% feel unable to be open about their faith at work or equivalent setting. The full results of the survey can be found at www.ordinarychristian.org.uk

Pray:

for God to watch over and encourage His children facing opposition in society, and for a change in that society so that people of faith work and live in freedom. (Proverbs 2:8)

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Autism / MMR vaccine debate continues

The father of an autistic child, who is also a GP administering MMR vaccine to babies, reports that outbreaks of measles in France and Italy have prompted the authorities to make childhood immunisation compulsory. Now a newspaper editorial demands similar UK measures, insisting that ‘parental refusal of immunisation should not be tolerated’. A notorious 1998 study in The Lancet suggested a link between MMR and autism. The paper presented no evidence for this link, which caused undue alarm among parents of children with autism and parents of children due for vaccinations. Since then a voluntary approach to childhood immunisation has successfully ensured high levels of protection for British children. An anti-vax cause has been politically endorsed by Donald Trump and Italy’s Beppe Grillo, in spite of accurate and ethical grounds for opposing compulsion. A voluntary approach to childhood immunisation has consistently protected British children despite scares and ill-informed campaigns.

Pray:

for the independence of individuals making decisions about the welfare of their families; pray for a morally and physically healthy society. (Zechariah 7:9)

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Europe - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Widespread wildfires

Wildfires are raging in central and southern Europe, with firefighters tackling blazes in five countries. Twelve fires broke out in Croatia’s second largest city of Split. 4,500 hectares of land were destroyed, including homes. Fires are active in several municipalities in Montenegro; forest fires forced the evacuation of more than 100 campers on the Lustica peninsula and spread further inland. Two firefighting planes from NATO helped contain the blaze. Fires are also burning 300 acres of forest near Nice, and hundreds of firefighters are battling another fire in the south of France. In Corsica, fire swept through 200 hectares of scrubland near Bonifacio. Flames driven by strong winds raced towards homes which had to be evacuated. Houses were also evacuated due to a fire near Rome, and other fires continue to burn near Naples. 1,400 firefighters supported by water-bombing planes and helicopters have fought three blazes in northern Portugal since last Sunday. See also item 4 in the ‘World’ section.

Pray:

for temperatures to drop so that no more fires combust, for the authorities and firefighters managing the crises, and for the families and farmers who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihood. (Isaiah 41:13)

More:

Europe wants Brexit clarifications

European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday 20 July that a ‘fundamental divergence’ with Britain remained on how to protect expats’ rights after Brexit, and insisted that the European Court of Justice should be the guarantor of the rights of citizens living abroad. Also, in a joint news conference with British Brexit secretary David Davis, he said Britain needed to provide clarification on the Brexit bill and on the Irish border at the next round of talks in late August. Expats’ rights, the financial settlement, and the Irish border are the three key issues to be solved before the EU is willing to begin talks on a future trade deal with Britain.

Pray:

for the UK Brexit team to adopt a pioneering attitude driven by Godly principles as they seek to comply with the request to clarify these three key issues in the coming weeks. (Ephesians 4:2,3)

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Worldwide - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Ghana: reaching the unreached

Indigenous people are being reached in northern Ghana. The Komba people have demonstrated an exceptional openness to the gospel; many villages have openly invited Christian missionaries into their communities. Seventeen 17 national and international ministries are partnering to see Christianity reach this generation of unreached people. With a focus on local leadership training and evangelism, they are seeing a movement to Christ begin: 368 Komba leaders have been trained in disciple-making and church-planting, resulting in 63+ new churches. Missionaries are working side-by-side with local leaders, equipping them to do what God has called them to do. However, nominalism and self-absorption are rampant in this area, and 18 other people groups have not yet even heard of Jesus, while Muslims are launching an aggressive outreach, making significant inroads. There is a spiritual divide.

Pray:

for more believers’ eyes to be opened to their nation’s spiritual need, and for a massive mission movement of Christian Ghanaians reaching their own people with the gospel. (Luke 10:19)

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Sudan: healing the wounds

Health care for our brothers and sisters in South Kordofan, Sudan, faces a crisis. Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) reports that after hospitals were bombed and aid organisations chased from the country, only two doctors are treating 1.1 million people. Even if people weren’t being maimed in government bombings, medical aid would be desperately lacking for everyday needs such as delivering babies, treating malaria, and helping people injured in accidents. Last year, VOM delivered 44.5 tons of medicine to the South Kordofan region, and it is supporting the few medical workers still in the region by helping to build a clinic and providing badly needed mosquito nets for its patients. See also article 7 in this section.

Pray:

for God’s empowering for all who are bringing help and care to the sick and wounded in Sudan. Pray for the release of more medicine, medical care, Bibles, and frontline gospel workers. (Job 4:3)

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Charities say G20 plans for Africa are flawed

This year’s G20 launched ‘Africa Partnership’, but charities are wary because it focuses on increasing private investment in the continent. Participating countries were invited to develop their own plans, to reduce the risk for private investors. At the summit, Britain set out proposals to build a partnership with a view to creating ‘more opportunities for London to become the finance hub for Africa’. Christian Aid described the G20 plan as badly flawed as it didn’t mention climate change. Oxfam said that it is important to recognise that growing economies will not automatically provide people with enough food to eat or life-saving medicines – especially as Africa is home to some of the most unequal countries on earth. Global Justice Now described it as ‘more like a partnership to exploit Africa – foisting the demands of international finance onto Africa in return for a bit of aid.’

Pray:

for partnerships to remove hunger in a world that already has enough food to feed everyone but which bows to agribusiness, regulated finance, and inflated prices. (Leviticus 19:36a)

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North America: thousands flee wildfires

Wildfires barrelled across the baking landscape of the western US and Canada, destroying homes, forcing thousands to flee and demolishing forests and farms. A combination of high temperatures and parched land has added to the difficulties of firefighters in California. On Wednesday, in California, just one of the many fires that are currently forcing thousands to flee their homes doubled in size (48,000 acres, compared to 23,000 the day before). Over 2,000 firefighters have contained only 7% of the ‘Detwiler Fire’ which is approaching the town of Mariposa and communities in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. These blazes are part of 37 active large fires spread across 12 western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Centre. Meanwhile in Canada firefighters are contending with over 200 fires burning in British Columbia. See also

Pray:

for God to comfort those who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in these fires. (1 Peter 5:7)

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Iraq: harsh treatment of IS families

Nessrine Hamad, aged six, is covered with a painful rash and has tears in her eyes. ‘She has been like that for three days,’ her mother said. ‘It is because of the dirty water. Most of the children here have sores on their skin.’ Dozens of families accused of having relatives in IS have been forcibly displaced to Shahama camp by the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), under the control of the Iraqi army. The camp, located north of Tikrit, has been described by Human Rights Watch as ‘akin to an open-air prison’. They are prevented from coming and going freely, only allowed to leave via ambulance for medical emergencies, and even then some are rejected by the main hospital in Tikrit when staff discover they are from Shahama. Dirty water, food and medical shortages have made living conditions in the camp unbearable. People in the camp are also barred from having mobile phones.

Pray:

for human rights campaigners and aid agencies to bring relief to these families. (Psalm 72:2)

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Canada: marijuana and faith

The government plans to legalise recreational marijuana by 1 July 2018. Pray for Canadians to use critical thinking skills as they decide what to do with their vote that could change many God-given lives. There is no shortage of easily accessible information on the topic of marijuana. In fact, there are enough facts to effectively argue two opposing perspectives on the recreational use of marijuana. Where does one go from here? Pray that the Canadian Church will research the long-term and short-term effects of marijuana use, then stand up and speak out on the subject of addiction and where it leads. What would Jesus do? Where would recreational drug use lead me?

Pray:

for people to grasp what overindulgence in drugs and alcohol can do to lives. (Proverbs 23:35)

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East Africa: food crisis

A missionary helping the 24 million people in East Africa dying of starvation has criticised the media for being so ‘distracted’ by Donald Trump that they’re failing to notice the worst humanitarian crisis to hit the region since World War 2. Aid worker Paul Healy says that in his twenty years working with Trócaire, a charity set up by the Irish Catholic Church, he’s never seen such devastation. ‘The scale of the crisis is enormous. There are 24 million people facing starvation over the coming months,’ he said. The UN has already declared a fully-fledged famine in parts of South Sudan, adding: ‘This means 20% of households face extreme food shortages, 30% of the population face acute malnourishment and there are 2 hunger-related deaths per 10,000 people per day.’. Also Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia will suffer mass death from food and water shortages if ‘prompt and sustained humanitarian intervention’ doesn’t happen soon.

Pray:

for more attention to be given to this crisis by media, governments, UN, and agencies. (Psalm 140:12,13)

More:

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