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Government reconsiders transgender plansGovernment reconsiders transgender plans – Germany: migrants and rise in violent crime – European Christianity divided along political lines – European Christianity divided along political lines – Iran: widespread protests – Much More>

ISSUE 01-2018

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Friday 5 January 2018

Dear Ron,

There’s one thing I crave from God, one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with God every moment of my life. I want to live my life so close to Him that He takes pleasure in my every prayer. (Psalm 27:4 – paraphrased)

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 – Editor

Pray 4 Nigeria Website

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


 

 

 Praise Reports

 Europe

Germany: migrants and rise in violent crime 

European Christianity divided along political lines

 Worldwide

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Government reconsiders transgender plans

The Government is reconsidering a proposed new law which would allow adults to choose to change their gender without consulting a doctor. Reports suggest that education secretary and equalities minister Justine Greening now has cold feet on the proposals, which would affect all of the UK other than Scotland. A public consultation will now take place only after civil servants have completed analysis of a separate diversity survey. This is good news with which to start the New Year. Last year the Coalition for Marriage met MPs and worked with several other campaign groups to oppose these proposals. It argued that they would undermine traditional marriage and put women and children at risk.

Praise:

God that these changes are being reconsidered. (Genesis 1:27)

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Ethiopia to release political prisoners

In a surprise move, Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian prime minister, has announced the release of political prisoners and the closure of a notorious detention centre, allegedly used as a torture chamber. He said the move was designed to allow political dialogue. It is still unclear exactly who will be released or when it will happen. Ethiopia is accused by rights groups of using mass arrests to stifle opposition. Amnesty International welcomed Mr Hailemariam’s announcement, saying it could signal ‘the end of an era of bloody repression in Ethiopia’.

Praise:

God for this turnaround. May the closure of Maekelawi detention centre not be used as a whitewash to the ‘horrifying’ events which took place under its roof. (Psalm 107:13)

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

New Year call to prayer

As we come together in prayer meetings, home groups or church services, let us begin this New Year coming before our Father in heaven to ask for his mercy on His Church, on our country, and that His Kingdom will advance across our nations. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. There will be opportunities during the year to look back and look forward. On 6 January 1918, King George V called a national day of prayer in order to ‘bring our cause to God’. In 2018, a hundred years later, we can start a year of prayer for the UK from 6 January. There is a real sense that God is preparing us for a spiritual breakthrough. Romans 12 tells us to stay excited about our faith as we serve the Lord and to be faithful when we pray.

Pray:

for the Church to be full of hope, remembering that nothing is impossible for God. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

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Time 2 Turn gathering,12 to 14 March

The World Prayer Centre National Prayer Conference is as much a call as it is a conference. It is a call to people who want to stand in God’s presence, worship Him with all their hearts and let Him gently minister to them and encourage them. It is a call to dedicate time to pray for God’s Kingdom to come, and listen to His call for themselves and for the nation. All are invited, whether new to prayer, young or old, and from any background. If you have a passion for the purposes of Jesus and hunger to see change in our nations, you are invited. This year’s theme, Time to Turn, is a call that starts with us: people who love prayer. Teacher, prophet, author and Church leader Malcolm Duncan will be the guest speaker. Other details can be found at www.worldprayer.org.uk.

Pray:

for the speakers, musicians and everyone to be anointed with all that God has for them. (Psalm 42:7)

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Brexit and Pacific free trade zone

International trade secretary Liam Fox wants to develop bilateral trade agreements with key partners such as Australia, New Zealand and the USA. This would mean linking into the multi-nation Pacific Free Trade Zone after Brexit. He is currently holding informal talks on joining the eleven members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), according to the Financial Times. Donald Trump withdrew the US from the partnership last year, reversing Barack Obama’s policy. The TPP is currently being re-negotiated under a new title, which will require authorising by all current signatories. Mr Fox, at present visiting China, said he was interested in seeing what the reconstituted TPP would look like. Pray for stronger links with Asia-Pacific markets and for God’s lead as we move into future intercontinental trade.

Pray:

for Liam Fox to succeed in negotiating fair UK trading outside the EU. (Leviticus 19:13a)

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Hospitals’ winter pressures

The Prime Minister has apologised for the postponement of thousands of routine operations at hospitals due to winter pressures. The services are being placed under significant strain as they enter the New Year. As challenges escalate, hospitals are on the cusp of being as bad as 2017 when the Red Cross called it a humanitarian crisis. This year hospitals are prioritising the increased numbers of emergency patients over non-urgent planned services. Pray for God to comfort those whose operations have had to be postponed. Additional services and beds are coming available, funded by the winter budget cash released by the Government. Pray for wise distribution of resources. The BMA said, ‘A&Es are symptomatic of pressures across the system. Hospitals are at capacity, GP surgeries are full, and because of shortages of social and community care, patients who no longer need to be in hospital cannot be discharged – there’s nowhere for them to go.’ See also

Pray:

for God to help NHS managers to plan and implement patient provision and safety as they face seasonal respiratory illnesses, fractures and flu outbreaks. May all their plans succeed. (Psalm 20:4)

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Post-Brexit farming changes

To grow and prosper, UK agriculture needs to question its approach and thinking. With this in mind, the 2018 farming conference, which ran from 3 to 5 January, was on ‘Embracing Change’. The opportunities for our farming sector are huge, but farmers need to realise what changes must be made – at personal, family and business levels – for the sector to progress. The speakers came from around the world. They shared their approaches to tackling personal and professional adversity under headings of ‘behavioural changes needed within family businesses’ and ‘digital disruption taking British farming into a new realm of possibilities.’ Michael Gove, secretary of state for the environment, spoke of potential post-Brexit farm payments and systems. Farmers can expect change, with a capital C.

Pray:

for God to give farmers’ unions and farmers’ clubs enthusiasm and enterprise. (Genesis 1:24)

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Children, social media and cybersex

Lamentations 2:19 says, ‘Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children.’ A report into social media use among 8- to 12-year-olds has stated, ‘Schools should play a bigger role in preparing children for social media’s emotional demands as they move from primary to secondary school; and parents should prepare children emotionally for the significant risks of social media as they move schools and meet new classmates.’ Meanwhile, an IJM report said, ‘Cybersex trafficking is the live-streamed sexual abuse of children viewed over the internet. It’s brutal, growing at an alarming rate, and fuelled by the behaviour of Westerners, including people from the UK.’ See also

Pray:

for digital literacy and online resilience lessons in schools to become a reality, and for parents to help children navigate social media features. (1 Samuel 12:23)

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Growing concern about Franklin Graham’s visit

A number of MPs have added their voice to the growing concern over an upcoming visit to the UK by US evangelist Franklin Graham. Over 5,000 people have signed a petition stating he should not be allowed into the country. They claim he has homophobic and islamophobic views and is ‘likely to promote prejudice and hatred’. The preacher, who is the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, is due to speak at Blackpool’s Festival of Hope in September. But after recent endorsements of Donald Trump and what has been seen as inflammatory statements about Islam, many are unhappy about the visit. Labour MP Gordon Marsden is calling on the home secretary to refuse him entry into the UK saying, ‘some of his comments are incompatible with what Jesus said in the Bible’. His visit is being supported by many local church leaders.

Pray:

for Franklin Graham to release the message of hope that is found in Christ, rather than promoting prejudice and hatred by his views. (Psalm 25:3)

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Europe - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Germany: migrants and rise in violent crime

Research commissioned by the government suggests that migrants may be responsible for most of Germany’s rise in violent crime. Researchers say the findings are not surprising because many migrants are single males aged 14-30. This group is most likely to commit crime, irrespective of nationality. Migrants are twice as likely to be reported to police for alleged violent crimes as German nationals, and a third of all victims of violent crimes by migrants are other migrants. The report comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU/CSU, after its poor showing in the recent election, prepares for coalition talks with the centre-left SPD. Over a million migrants and refugees, fleeing war and abuses, have entered Germany through the open-door policy, which has led to tensions at home.

Pray:

for more help with language courses, apprenticeships, and other opportunities of integration support for people who have experienced life-changing trauma. (Micah 6:8)

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European Christianity divided along political lines

The Eurosceptic German right claims that the Alternative for Germany party is the only really Christian political group in Germany, as the ruling CDU has failed to defend the nation’s religious and cultural heritage. In England Malcolm Pearson of UKIP has denounced the political establishment for giving in to politically correct definitions of equality and hate speech, saying he fears it could soon become illegal to assert Jesus’ divinity. Italy’s Northern League are objecting to a prime location in the Florence region being made available for the construction of a mosque. Across Europe, parties on the political right and far-right are talking the language of Christian heritage. In many cases their strongest adversaries include the clergy and bishops of Europe’s Christian churches, with political pronouncements on welfare and migration.

Pray:

for agendas incompatible with Christianity to decrease and God’s favour to increase across Europe’s churches, politics, business values, and education. (Daniel 12:3)

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Worldwide - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

INSIGHT: elections to watch and pray for in 2018

For some countries this year will see post-war transitions to peace talks, elections after military coups, ballot boxes being used for the first time after many years, or voting for the renovation of a failing nation. A number of rules judge whether an election is unfair, such as staged elections, campaign financing favouring a particular interest group, media bias, and human rights violations that compromise the rights of a candidate to participate in a free and fair election. Corruption and potential violations of international standards have been stressed in this INSIGHT article, to enable informed intercession. To read about these elections and all related issues, click the ‘More’ button.

Pray:

for God to usher in His changes through leaders chosen in the 2018 elections. (Philippians 4:6)

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Intercessor Focus: praying for God’s master plans

Jesus said that nations will war against each other and there will be national disasters. He also told us not to panic or give in to our fears, for these things are destined to happen. In the midst of the shaking, and in the knowledge that God has strategies for every nation, let us pray this year especially for the following: a) the Holy Land will enter into constructive interactions that lead to God’s perfect policies; b) Asians made homeless last year will meet Christians who will introduce them to Jesus; c) corrupt or inept African leaders will be replaced with men and women of integrity, able to initiate peaceful prosperity; d) Europe, and the UK’s connection with it, will progress positively during significant meetings; e) North American political posturing will be replaced by Godly wisdom; and f) the South American and Caribbean nations which experienced violence, political instability and natural disasters last year will know God’s oasis of hope and peace.

Pray:

for God in His mercy to break apart corrupt world systems while drawing His people closer to His purposes. (Revelation 19:11)

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Global: attacks, bombings, and beheadings

2017 saw a dramatic rise of terror attacks by nomadic Fulani Islamic herdsmen in Nigeria, who are targeting Christians and trying to drive them out of the territory they claim. Pray for God to help Nigerian political leaders to bring religious hatred to an end, and for His protection and strengthening of Bishop Joseph Bagobiri. IS has been increasingly turning its focus toward Egypt, issuing a chilling warning that ‘a river of blood’ for Christians is coming. Pray that the Christians will be strengthened as they refuse to abandon their faith in Jesus Christ, and that the government will do more to protect them. Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terror group, has been attacking Christians and security forces in neighbouring Kenya for years. They are now routinely beheading anyone suspected of being Christian. After IS attacked a church in Pakistan on 17 December, the country is on heightened alert.

Pray:

for God to help the bereaved and the survivors to rebuild their lives in the coming year. (Matthew 5:4)

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Iran: widespread protests

In a few days protests spread across Iran, with demonstrations different in size, leadership and objectives from those in 2009. The protests started in Mashhad, when religious hardliners voiced legitimate economic grievances to score points against the Rouhani government. They lost control of events when corruption and falling living standards prompted political slogans against the Islamic Republic. Next, there were demonstrations praising Rouhani, but the core demonstrators chanted uncompromisingly anti-regime slogans. Many believe these protests are powered by people who tend not to vote, believing the system cannot be reformed. A spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards said that anti-government protests were over, but offered no evidence of how they had been defeated beyond arrests. His comments appeared to be a warning against more rallies. The BBC and Al Jazeera say that protests are still happening.

Pray:

for God to protect people from brutality and human rights violations by a regime trying to protect its political/religious power. May Iran change as a result of this shaking. (Leviticus 19:18)

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Israel: prediction of war with Iranian proxies

An Israeli thinktank has warned of several security threats this year. These could include war with Hezbollah or with Syria, supported by other Iranian proxies, or a war with both, with full-blown Iranian involvement. Iran continues to arm and finance proxies near Israel’s borders, and Tehran’s steps to build a military force in Syria may lead to an escalation on the northern front, given the Israeli government’s resolute stance. Noting the presence of Russian forces in Syria, the report said Moscow could be expected to maintain neutrality, but could impose limitations on Israel’s freedom of action. Another potential for a flare-up is in Gaza, where Hamas continues to build its strength. IS presence on Israel’s borders was the third challenge noted.

Pray:

for anointed watchmen to intercede for Israel and the region to avoid full-blown conflicts. (Isaiah 62:6)

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Morocco: hundreds of protesters still in prison

Activists in a Casablanca prison keep having their court cases postponed. They are affiliated to Hirak, a protest movement that emerged in October 2016 after a fish vendor was crushed to death by a truck as he tried to retrieve fish that authorities had confiscated. See http://www.prayer-alert.net/worldwide-pa-site/item/8799-morocco-injustice Since that article, however, the government has acknowledged Hirak’s grievances – better infrastructure, jobs and health-care – but hundreds of protesters remain behind bars, 54 of them accused of threatening the internal security of the state. Authorities are also trying seven reporters who covered the protests and commented on religion and religious freedom. The official response to Hirak’s demands was to propose building roads, hospitals, and a cancer treatment centre (Moroccans have a high incidence of the disease). When the national human rights council reported human rights violations and torture, the justice minister announced an investigation, but no follow-up has been made public.

Pray:

for religious freedom in Morocco, and justice and honesty in the legal system. (Psalm 13:1)

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Global: a lost childhood in conflict zones

UNICEF has stated, ‘Children are under attack on a shocking scale in conflicts around the world. No safe places are left for children as they are targeted in their homes, schools and playgrounds.’ Last year many children came under attack in conflict zones, with blatant disregard of international laws designed to protect the most vulnerable. They were frontline targets, used as human shields, killed, maimed, and recruited to fight. Rape, forced marriage, abduction, and enslavement were standard tactics. Sometimes children abducted by extremist groups experience abuse yet again upon release when they are detained by security forces. Millions more children are suffering malnutrition, disease and trauma as access to food, water, sanitation and health are denied, damaged or destroyed in the fighting.

Pray:

for child cruelty to end in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, DRC, Nigeria, Cameroon, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Ukraine. (Mark 9:37)

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North Korea: Christian survival

Every aspect of North Korean life is controlled by the state, which believes that there is no higher authority than Kim Jong-un. Christianity threatens this belief and must be crushed. Tens of thousands of Christians are imprisoned in labour camps, yet the church is growing. There are 300,000 courageous believers, many not even telling their children, who live under constant surveillance by authorities looking for anything that might threaten the regime. There are even rewards of a new home or better job for anyone who helps discover Christians. Every citizen must report to a ‘neighbourhood watch’ system any absence from home, or a neighbour neglecting to clean the portrait of Kim which everyone must have on their walls.

Pray:

for God’s continued protection of North Korean believers and those who smuggle Christian literature, medicines and necessities to help fellow believers survive. (Proverbs 14:21b)

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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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