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

ISSUE 02-2018

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Friday 12 January 2018

Dear Ron,

He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. (Daniel 2:21)

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 - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Christian films in cinemas and online

The faith-based company Pure Flix Entertainment will release the film Samson in the UK on 2 March. It was filmed in South Africa, and its themes of showcase passion, betrayal, and redemption will inspire audiences to realise that life’s failures need not define their future. As with Netflix, viewers will be offered streaming services with faith- and family-friendly content, like the film ‘God’s Not Dead’ and its sequel ‘God’s Not Dead 2.’ Also, they will be offered the first month of viewing free, giving them the option to see some of their favourite films without paying. To watch ‘God’s not Dead’ online, go to https://www.christianpost.com/sponsored/where-to-watch-gods-not-dead-2-for-free-online.html To view a trailer for ‘Samson’ go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6951892/videoplayer/vi962378009?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_2

Praise:

God for Christian media; may more people view such broadcasting in the coming year and hear God speak to them as a result. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

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Latin America: survivors of trafficking

The International Justice Mission (IJM) writes, ‘Praise God for a successful and restoring 2017! Our Latin America teams walked faithfully alongside seventy boys and girls who are survivors of sexual violence and sex trafficking, through the ups and downs of trauma-focused therapy. In this process, our social workers and psychologists consistently work with each survivor and their family, to address the trauma they have experienced and help create a safe and stable environment that will support their healing process.’ IJM invites us to pray for these boys and girls, their families, and their communities.

Praise:

God for organisations like IJM. May He release even more anointing on those working with survivors of abuse and trafficking so that they may live in freedom and restoration. (Job 3:18,19)

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

Intercessor Focus: Christianity in Westminster

Lunchtime services are held every Tuesday in a chapel at the Houses of Parliament. These are times created to give our politicians an opportunity for Christian reflection in the midst of a challenging and busy parliamentary life. We can pray for a powerful outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit to envelop all who attend these meetings. May the guest speakers deliver timely, inspired encouragement in these days of political change and challenges. The next meeting, on 16 January, will have as its theme, ‘Who is welcome in the Kingdom of God?’ May many who are with or without faith hear this message and perceive God’s personal call on their lives. The theme on 23 January is ‘What is the key to intimacy with God?’ Pray for our parliamentarians to be freed up and enabled to create space to hear God’s whisper designed exclusively for them.

Pray:

for Christian MPs, peers, and staff to grow in the depth of their faith. May they be a positive and gracious influence in Parliament. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

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Pray for the NHS

The following is based on prayers originally written in 2011, as part of a visual prayer resource on the UK National Health Service. It is time to pray for our NHS, particularly concerns over the future of the service due to budget cuts and reforms, reports of insufficient funding, accommodation and care and respect for elderly and increasing hospital admissions resulting from alcohol-related illnesses. Pray for more recognition and support to be given to the huge numbers of health professionals making life-changing decisions for the sick and vulnerable who come into their care daily. Pray for God to give His wisdom to our government, health professionals, and advisers as they seek the right reforms. Ask that our health service managers may prosper our doctors and nurses to care, to excel, and to bring healing. May our nation understand, thank, and honour those who seek to bring us health.

Pray:

for God in His mercy to bring about positive change in the NHS. (Proverbs 4:11)

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Pray for isolated ministers

The Agricultural Christian Fellowship recently noted that we live in days of constant change, and uncertainty is the norm. They discussed reshaping British farming during exceptionally difficult times, and establishing sustainable farming to preserve this green and pleasant land for generations to come. In our cities and towns Railway Mission workers offer friendship and a listening ear to anyone connected with our nation’s railways. Their website states, ‘Hit a rough patch? Need someone to talk to? Railway Mission offers support on the whole of life’s journey, especially during the bumps in the road.’ On the canal systems of the United Kingdom we have the little-known Canal Ministries. These are people living on narrowboats and bringing the Gospel to the UK’s inland waterways. The Waterways Chaplaincy also offers support to the floating community. Pray for many divine appointments in the coming year. See also

Pray:

for God to bring fresh anointing into the lives of all living and working in diverse communities as they respond to the evangelism call God has placed on their hearts. (Psalm 9:1)

More:

Alpha targets Underground users

It is hoped that 1.2 million Underground passengers will notice new posters inviting them to find out more about Jesus by taking an Alpha course. The banners will appear for two weeks on staircases, escalators, and platforms at 400 different locations. Alpha’s marketing and communications officer said that the beginning of January is a ‘natural’ time of year to highlight the evangelistic programme.

Pray:

for the millions of people for whom Christians have been praying to see and respond to this ‘underground mission’, and for Christians on the underground to be inspired to invite friends. (Romans 10:14)

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‘Cleaner greener Britain’ campaign

Theresa May has pledged to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042. But green groups say the proposals will have no legal force. For new proposals to work, they need to be put into law. Under the government’s plan, supermarkets will be urged to introduce plastic-free aisles while taxes and charges on single-use items such as takeaway containers will be considered. The amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill the Royal Albert Hall a thousand times. Environmentalists agree that the government’s plan to restore nature – not just safeguard nature – is genuinely radical. It covers managing land sustainably, reducing pollution and waste, and protecting and improving the global environment. See also the next article, on fracking.

Pray:

for the environment department to carry out its plans without eliminating much-needed house building, and to consider wisely developments which threaten fields and woodlands. (Psalm 2:10a)

More:

Scotland: battle over fracking

Petrochemicals giant Ineos is taking SNP ministers to court, to overturn their ‘unlawful’ fracking ban. The SNP faces a protracted legal fight, potentially spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, to keep Scotland free of fracking. In England, there are currently ten more fracking applications. Global fracking is driven by the depletion of fossil fuels, leading to the exploitation of increasingly harder-to-extract resources that can have a damaging effect on communities. Evidence (increasingly hard to ignore) from the USA, Canada, and Australia, where tens of thousands of wells have already been drilled, is that fracking destroys water supplies, air quality, and people’s health. Beyond these issues lurk local and regional impacts like ‘orphaned wells’ (abandoned wells sending toxic pollutants into the environment). It is believed that financially successful UK fracking would require tens of thousands of wells to be drilled. See also the previous article, on Cleaner greener Britain, and http://frack-off.org.uk/locations/

Pray:

for God to inspire Holyrood and Westminster to protect local water, land and air, and keep to our carbon emissions targets. (Psalm 24:1)

More:

Many Christians ‘spiritually abused’

An online survey by Bournemouth University received 1,591 responses from Christians of all denominations. 1,002 said they had experienced spiritual abuse. Caution has been expressed about these figures, not least because existing work on spiritual abuse is in its infancy, even though it is a commonly-used term. Being spiritually abused was not a prerequisite for participation in the survey, but some may have taken the opportunity to share their story anonymously, possibly for the first time. 72% of those who responded to the survey said they knew what it meant, with key characteristics identified as coercion, manipulation, pressuring and control through the misuse of religious texts and scripture. Many respondents said that clearer policies were needed in churches and Christian organisations.

Pray:

An online survey by Bournemouth University received 1,591 responses from Christians of all denominations. 1,002 said they had experienced spiritual abuse. Caution has been expressed about these figures, not least because existing work on spiritual abuse is in its infancy, even though it is a commonly-used term. Being spiritually abused was not a prerequisite for participation in the survey, but some may have taken the opportunity to share their story anonymously, possibly for the first time. 72% of those who responded to the survey said they knew what it meant, with key characteristics identified as coercion, manipulation, pressuring and control through the misuse of religious texts and scripture. Many respondents said that clearer policies were needed in churches and Christian organisations.

More:

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Europe - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

France: refugees still sleeping rough

President Macron said he wanted refugees ‘off the streets’ by 2018, but there are still a thousand of them sleeping rough on Paris streets. Solidarithé provide them with coffee, blankets, and information. A Solidarithé volunteer said that Macron wanted to make the problem invisible, but refugees are just hiding in smaller groups throughout north Paris and Calais. The police order them to move on, and even spray them with tear gas. Refugees’ tents are slashed and sleeping bags and blankets are stolen – anything to stop people sleeping on the streets. It is winter, and health problems are getting worse. Macron has said France is a terre d’accueil (land of welcome), but refugees have no toilets or blankets. If they sleep on the pavement they have to do so standing up. Also 700 migrants are living rough in Calais. See also

Pray:

for God to soften Macron’s heart and prompt him to give refugees somewhere to stay while officials process their refugee status claims. (Psalm 86:15)

More:

Europe: freedom of press being eroded

In general, Europe respects democratic standards and human rights, and has generally continued to do so in recent years despite serious economic turmoil. Nevertheless, many countries are developing problems related to their treatment of immigrants and minorities, and press freedom faces threats in a number of countries. Some governments are working to take control of the flow of information. Recently in Moldova an accredited journalist was prevented from attending a series of public events, despite court rulings affirming the right of access to public information. Such an action, alongside favouring other journalists, raises serious concerns about Moldova president Dodon’s commitment to government transparency and freedom of expression as core democratic values.

Pray:

for governments to allow access to information according to international standards. (Psalm 94:2)

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Worldwide - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Worsening violence in CAR

Violent flare-ups in Central African Republic (CAR) have sent thousands fleeing for their lives. The UN said that over 5,000 refugees have arrived in southern Chad since 27 December, fleeing from north-western CAR. Over 75,000 people were already in camps before the recent influx; many walked long distances to escape violence. Although the border is officially closed, as a humanitarian gesture authorities are allowing refugees to cross. Widespread human rights abuses are being reported, and UNHCR said that over 1.1 million people have been displaced, both within the country and as refugees. Because of the fighting, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has had to suspend its work in the seven health centres in outlying districts of Paoua. An estimated 30,000 who fled dangerous outlying areas are now taking refuge in Paoua. See also

Pray:

for all those who have fled their homes since war broke out. May they find safety, food, protection and any medical assistance that is needed. (Psalm 91:4)

More:

Venezuela: unprecedented economic and political crisis

Six months ago, 93% of Venezuelans said their income was not sufficient to buy the food they need. 75% reported suffering weight loss, averaging 9 kg. The price of food is fifteen times the minimum wage, and prices continue to rise. The director of a Caracas-based health and nutrition charity said, ‘Malnutrition in Venezuela is a problem of corruption, not a lack of money’. Government price controls and other policies have crippled domestic production, and after the oil price drop caused imports to decrease dramatically, insufficient food is available for the over 30m Venezuelans. Meanwhile President Maduro’s efforts to consolidate power amid a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis have drawn widespread international condemnation. There are severe food and medicine shortages, soaring crime rates, and an increasingly authoritarian executive. 70% of the population is Roman Catholic and 29% percent Protestant. See also

Pray:

for God in His mercy to raise up Christians in politics and commerce. May He use His people to end the man-made humanitarian crisis. (Psalm 37:29)

More:

East China Sea: environmental disaster

An oil tanker from Iran has erupted in flames after colliding with an American freighter in the East China Sea. Thirty Iranians and two Bangladeshis were on board, but there were no survivors. Rescuers were prevented from searching because of toxic fumes from condensate, the cargo, which is a byproduct of natural gas production. Russia and the Middle East are the main producers, but output in the USA is increasing due to shale oil exploration. Condensate makes jet fuel, petrol, diesel and heating fuel once it is stabilised, but is more flammable and explosive than normal crude oil. Oil spills are extremely poisonous and difficult to contain and manage. Officials say that the burning tanker could spill three times as much oil as the Exxon Valdez did in 1989, and worry that the ship might explode and sink, releasing 1 million barrels of oil into the water. See also

Pray:

for comfort for the crew’s families, for the fire to be brought under control, and for nations to be more responsible, avoiding further pollution of land and water. (Genesis 1:10)

More:

Nigeria: environmental threat to families

Caught in a Niger Delta downpour, a woman runs for shelter. The plastic bottles of homemade petrol she was selling are beaten off their wooden perch by the heavy rain. The smell of petrol rises from the ground and hangs in the air before being washed down a lane past small concrete houses. There is little research into human health issues from exposure to oil spills on land. Oil seeps into the soil, the air and the water table, releasing harmful chemicals like benzene and toluene. Benzene is a poison, while toluene can cause kidney and liver damage. ‘Our farming area is always deep with oil, when you go there you can recognise the odour,’ says Chief Bira Saturday. He has suffered from asthma since a spill. ‘The doctor said it was the odour of this oil that we are breathing that damaged the baby in my womb’, his wife added.

Pray:

for more money to be released by governments and oil giants into research to eliminate the hundreds of oil spills in Nigeria every year and their devastating effects. (Psalm 37:27)

More:

Iran: protests continue, protesters die in custody

The Iranian ministry of intelligence and security photographs demonstrations, so that the police can later arrest leaders who exhibit banners criticising the government. The regime will try to weather this latest round of protests while arresting the main agitators, and then torturing them. At least three demonstrators are believed to have been killed in custody at Evin prison, and human rights activists have raised concerns (one death was reported as a suicide, with no credible evidence to back this up). Many believe executions will come next. By 11 January over a thousand people, including nearly a hundred students, had been arrested. Windows International reports protests growing; but Iran has no press freedom, and is attempting to restrict social media which inform Iranians and the world of developments. Pray for basic human rights to be the outcome of this struggle, and for the exposure of corruption in every aspect of the Iranian government. See also

Pray:

for human rights pressure and international outcry to cause the police to release detainees and bring real reforms and opportunities for the people of Iran. (Luke 6:37,38a)

More:

Global anti-corruption conference

Many the articles in this week’s Prayer Alert have depicted an aspect of corruption in different countries. The International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) is the world’s premier global forum for bringing together heads of state, civil society and the private sector to tackle the increasingly sophisticated challenges posed by corruption. Established in 1983, the IACC takes place every two years in a different region of the world, and hosts between 800 and 2,000 participants from over 135 countries. It advances the anti-corruption agenda by raising awareness and stimulating debate, and fosters networking, cross-fertilisation, and the global exchange of experience that is indispensable for effective advocacy and action, on global and national levels. The 18th IACC will take place in October 2018; we can begin to pray now for the delegates that God intends to participate, that He will prepare each one of them spiritually and physically for the event.

Pray:

for more and better international cooperation among government, civil society, the private sector, and citizens to recognise and prevent corruption. (Hosea 9:9)

More:

Hezbollah, Fatah, Hamas, Iran to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem

Speaking on TV, Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, said he recently discussed the ‘liberation’ of Jerusalem with Fatah leaders and other Palestinian factions. He added that Iran is directly providing financial aid and weapons to Palestinian groups independent of Hezbollah. He explained how these groups are prepared to put aside differences for a new ‘intifada’; they will unite in the event of a large-scale war to liberate Jerusalem, not just Galilee. When asked whether cooperation meant demonstrations, Nasrallah replied, ‘Within occupied Palestine it is about direct confrontation. We all know what intifada means.’ Hezbollah is a Lebanese-based terrorist organisation banned by many countries, including the Arab League, United States, France, and Israel – but not by the UK. It calls for Islamist revolution around the world, and its members have caused terror attacks for thirty years.

Pray:

for God’s rule and reign to persist over all the land. (Psalm 125:3a)

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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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