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

ISSUE 04-2018

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Friday 26th January 2018

Dear Ron,

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

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

The Bible for everyone

What would life be without Jesus? Thousands of people have never met a Christian or heard the Good News in their mother tongue. In 2018 more people than ever will find out that God is reaching out to them. Wycliffe Bible Translators personnel work tirelessly towards the goal of delivering the message of Jesus in their heart languages, while organisations like MAF travel across continents to deliver God’s Word to new believers. Recently a South Sudanese Christian said, ‘I was jealous of white people being blessed by having the Word of God in their own language. We had no Bible in Baka.’ Then he gave a broad grin: ‘Now I am happy because I have a Baka Bible. God did not forget us.’ Now Christians speaking Baka can share God’s Word with those around them who do not yet know the salvation Christ offers. See the World article ‘Praying for the unreached’, and also here

Praise:

God for translators who give years of their lives to convert the Bible into many languages and for those who deliver these translations to the hard-to-reach places. (Romans 10:17)

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‘God has been with me always’

After nearly three years in exile in Kurdistan, ten-year-old Helda Hindi and her younger brother and parents who fled from IS have returned to their home town in the Nineveh plains. She spoke about the night of 6 August 2014, when IS seized her hometown. ’Alarm bells rang out in our streets – we had to escape the living hell of violence and terrorism. I left, crying, with no hope of ever seeing my town, my school, or my friends again. We lived in torment and tragedy until we got used to it.’ She related her harrowing experiences, but finished, ‘And today, by God’s grace, we have returned to our town and I am back in school among my friends. We had only God and we never stopped believing in His power and praying for His mercy for all those hurting in Iraq and around the world.’

Praise:

God for Helda’s testimony. May the international community give more to support the Christians in Iraq and those who have fled. (Philippians 4:8)

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

Carillion’s collapse

Theresa May attacked executives who risked pension funds, and has set out a plan to defend capitalism from capitalists after the collapse of construction company Carillion plc. Pray for new laws that deal with executives who profit at the expense of workers’ pensions. Pray for an end to the culture that gives big bonuses to individuals who put short-term profit above long-term achievement. Carillion’s failure has prompted a debate about how companies are run, and about how much the Government relies on businesses to provide services. The UK spends £10.3 billion a year servicing public-private contracts of the type awarded to Carillion. Pray for politicians to come out of ‘blame game’ mode and make wise decisions which will move our government contracts and policies away from the Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) that have put millions of pounds into the pockets of venture capitalists.

Pray:

for an end to ‘investment for profit’ in British construction industries, and for the Government to address moral and spiritual problems of greed and ambition. (Amos 5:4,12,14)

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Prince Charles urges western world to pray

The Prince of Wales shared how a Jesuit priest from Syria warned him that unless major action is taken, there will be no Christians left in Iraq in five years. ‘We are struggling to capture the immensity of the ripple effect of such persecution’, Prince Charles said, citing statistics from the UN that show the world’s refugees now number almost 65.3 million people – close to the entire population of the UK. He suggested that, regardless of one’s religion, people should seek to value and respect others, ‘accepting their right to live out their peaceful response to the love of God.’ He said he is ‘heartbroken’ over the pain and suffering inflicted on Christians in the Middle East, and urged prayers for those forced to flee in the face of the most brutal persecution on account of their faith.

Pray:

for Prince Charles and others in positions of authority to be heard when they take the platform and speak out against Christian persecution. (Job 13:6)

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Charity dinner draws widespread condemnation

The Presidents Club charity dinner on 18 January, for men only, was called the most un-PC event of the year. Its official purpose was to raise money for worthy causes and auction items that included lunch with the British foreign secretary and afternoon tea with the Bank of England governor. But the black tie evening was hosted by women told to wear skimpy black outfits with matching underwear and high heels. The hostesses, who had to be ‘tall, thin and pretty’, received the unwanted attention of being groped, vulgarly harassed and sexually propositioned. The adverse publicity over this event has led to the club promising not to organise any such events in future, and Great Ormond Street hospital is to return all money previously donated by it.

Pray:

for Amber Rudd (minister for women and equalities) and Baroness Williams (minister for equalities) to introduce laws to prevent women being harassed in the workplace. (Isaiah 41:11)

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Health of our nation

The following is based on a Passion for the Nation post: ‘God desires this nation to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. We can pray for a new season of health to come upon this land and for lifestyles to be changed and negative patterns broken, irrespective of background or wealth. May a fresh wisdom and desire for healthy living rest upon individuals, families and communities, supported and encouraged by all related industries in production and marketing. We pray that in this season Government, NHS trusts, managers and medical staff will work together, co-operating and stewarding resources well; that new medical and financial strategies will be found, facilitating God’s purpose and priority. In the Name of Jesus, we come in agreement with Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body”. We pray for a new thankfulness for the NHS to be released within our nation.’

Pray:

for encouragement, strength, job satisfaction and honour for all physicians, consultants and care staff in hospitals and NHS community networks, and for peace to invade negative atmospheres. (Proverbs 14:22)

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Protests outside abortion clinics

Ealing Council may install buffer zones outside a Marie Stopes abortion clinic to ban the presence of pro-life protesters within 150 metres. It would prohibit silent praying, singing hymns, displaying foetus images and distributing leaflets. Only after twenty years of activity outside the clinic has the council considered them a threat. Pro-lifers have never altered their tactics or adopted any aggressive policies. They organise the prayer vigils and provide counselling for pregnant women in crisis. They repeatedly asked Ealing councillors to meet and listen to women who have been helped by their pavement counsellors; their offers were ignored. Video footage of ‘intimidating protesters’ simply shows three people at prayer opposite the clinic. Meanwhile on 24 January Manchester council voted to ‘take all necessary actions within its powers’ to stop what it said was protesters’ harassment of women using their abortion clinics. See also

Pray:

for Ealing and Manchester councils to realise there has been no harassment of those seeking abortions. Pray for these moves against peaceful Christian protest to end. (Psalm 43:1a)

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Accelerating rise in crime

Police figures show offences up 14% in a year, with knife and gun crime rising even more steeply. Statistics also show the number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by 930 in the same period, to the lowest since records began. Offences such as domestic burglary and car crime are also increasing: however, there has been a 15% fall in fraud and online computer misuse. Nevertheless the increasing levels of gun and knife offences, stalking, harassment, and robbery will set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street. God’s plans are for good and not for evil. Let us pray for our nations to experience peace, stability and justice, pushing back every plan and purpose of Satan for confusion, criminality or deception.

Pray:

for divine wisdom for the Government and police forces to follow God’s plans and strategies that will make the United Kingdom a place of hope, safety, and honesty. (Jeremiah 29:11)

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Brexit: Britain – bespoke EU trade deal?

Ireland’s Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said Britain should be offered a bespoke trade deal with the EU after Brexit, rather than an ‘off-the-shelf’ agreement. He added that Ireland would like Britain to ‘stay closer in the EU’s orbit’ than non-member states, and mentioned the example of Norway, which currently implements EU single market rules with free movement within the bloc. He also suggested that although Theresa May had pledged to leave the EU customs union and single market, ‘perhaps we can negotiate something that isn’t very different from that’. Brussels wants the UK’s future relationship with the EU to be either Norwegian-style implementation of all EU rules, or a Canadian style free-trade agreement that would not cover large areas of the economy, including services. British negotiators have been given until March to decide what they want the future relationship with the EU to look like.

Pray:

for God to protect Theresa May and her ministers from unwise decisions and needless power struggles, and to position their thinking and decisions on His purposes for the nations. (Isaiah 42:16)

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Europe - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Ireland: combat the tide of evil

A leading Irish expert has called Church leaders to appoint a team of exorcists to cope with what he sees as a rising tide of evil in the country. While many believe exorcisms only happen in Hollywood blockbusters, exorcist Fr Pat Collins said he is besieged by desperate people seeking help to deal with what they believe to be demonic possession and evil activity. He is ‘baffled’ that Irish bishops are not taking more action to appoint priests to deal with everything from ghostly encounters, being pulled from their beds, and full-blown possession. ‘What I’m finding is people who in their own minds believe – rightly or wrongly – that they’re afflicted by evil spirits. In many cases it is wrongly, but when they turn to the Church we don’t know what to do, and often they are not helped.’ He also said there was growing apostasy within the Church. ‘As this has happened, there is increasing evidence of the malicious activity of the evil one.’

Pray:

for the Church to have more priests and Christian counsellors trained to recognise the difference between demonic activity and mental illness. (Luke 10:19)

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Switzerland: Davos economic forum

Theresa May’s speech at Davos spoke of the UK as a centre of Artificial Intelligence, stating that in the past few years a new AI startup has been created in the UK every week, and technologies like the internet were developed with a philosophy that connecting us together would improve people’s lives. She said that the UK is developing a digital charter, at the heart of which is a set of principles that the same rights people have offline should be protected online; the internet should remain free, open and accessible; people should understand the rules that apply to them when they are online; personal data should be respected and used appropriately; and protections should be in place to help keep people safe online, especially children.

Pray:

for social and economic benefits from technologies to be shared freely and fairly. (Amos 5:14)

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Worldwide - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Syria: the forgotten people

Last week we prayed for more international intervention to end the unspeakable conditions in Ghouta, near Damascus. Please continue to pray for the beleaguered 400,000 inhabitants still living in the area, who have been under siege for five years. Throughout January they have been pounded with 350+ airstrikes, killing approximately 200 civilians, including many women and children. Recently the Syrian American Medical Society announced that the regime had allowed only 29 out of the approved list of 500 critically ill patients to be evacuated for hospitalisation. Incessant mortar fire by rebel fighters is wounding and killing people in a predominantly Christian district of Damascus. The most recent report, on 22 January, stated that another 21 people had been wounded in the area. Armed opposition forbids food, medicine or aid into a zone established by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Click the ‘More’ button for a Voice of America report. See also

Pray:

for God to turn this situation around so that food, fuel and medicines come into the area; for His peace to embrace all who live in fear and His healing for all with emotional pain. (1 Kings 8:28)

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Hamas races to use tunnels before they are destroyed

In 2017 Hamas said its smuggling and terror tunnel network was twice as large as the Viet Cong’s was at the height of the Vietnam War. In 2018 Israeli technology has proved successful in locating and blocking many Hamas tunnels. Many believe the terror group, fearful of losing a major strategic weapon, could take desperate measures. Pray that this will not happen, particularly after the destruction of a massive Hamas tunnel on 20 January. It ran under the Gaza border, near where Egypt, Israel and Gaza meet, not only entering Israel, but also entering Egyptian territory – violating both Israeli and Egyptian sovereignty. Ironically, Hamas was targeting Palestinians’ economic lifeline, a passage where thousands of trucks carrying Israel’s merchandise cross the border bringing supplies to the residents of Gaza, the economic oxygen of the Gaza Strip. According to security forces, Hamas planned to blow up the entire complex.

Pray:

for the technology that finds tunnels, and the physical barrier being constructed, to put the Hamas tunnel enterprise out of business for ever. (Psalm 28:8,9)

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Thailand: slavery in the seafood industry

Thailand is the third largest seafood exporter in the world. The industry relies heavily on trafficked and forced labour on unlicensed vessels. Many victims are from Cambodia, Laos and Burma. Beatings and starvation are commonplace. The Thai government claims it is regulating the fishing industry more tightly, yet slavery persists. The International Justice Mission (IJM) works with other bodies to rescue victims trafficked into Thailand’s fishing industry, and creates individualised care plans to meet survivors’ physical, psychological and emotional needs so that they can thrive in freedom. IJM requests prayer for favour and wisdom as the team builds relationships with police and prosecutors in both Thailand and Cambodia (where many of the traffickers target victims).

Pray:

for traffickers, recruiters and boat owners to be discovered and prosecuted. May God release more workers into freeing modern-day slaves. (Deuteronomy 27:19)

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Central Asia: praying for the unreached

There are 50 million Pashtuns in Central Asia; they are the largest group of unreached people in the region. There are only about 500 Pashtun believers scattered through Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. The number is a best guess, as they live in remote locations under unbelievable challenges to their walk of faith. The worst thing a Pashtun could ever do is to turn from Islam and become a Christian. One believer taught his children a hymn, ‘Jesus shed his blood for us’, only to find one of them singing it in the street to strangers. Can you imagine your dilemma if your child sang a hymn in public that posed a threat to your life? Or can you imagine meeting with a new believer for discipleship for the first time, but being unsure whether that person was a true believer or a spy who would betray you to the government? Please take some time to pray for persecuted believers to persevere in their heavenward journey. See also the Praise article ‘The Bible for everyone’.

Pray:

for believers to have wisdom and patience as they train up their children to know and serve the Lord in a difficult environment. (Proverbs 6:23)

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Iraq: Islamists dump religion for upcoming elections

Islamist parties in Iraq are shedding their religious platforms to focus on reform in the campaign for upcoming elections in May, and are also allying with secular parties. Out of 200+ Islamist parties registered with the independent electoral commission, only ten have names explicitly invoking Islam. This development clearly shows the overall decline in Islamic movements, both Shiite and Sunni, compared with previous elections in which Islamist parties accounted for more than half of the registered groups. Many Iraqis blame political Islam for the tragedies and corruption plaguing their country, as Islamists have held the reins of power since 2005. At present Shiite political power influences state institutions and there is ongoing support from Iran, so we need to pray for God’s intervention in the elections.

Pray:

that this new secular approach to governing will initiate an authentic democracy in Iraq. (Exodus 33:19b)

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USA: Trump’s attitude to dictators

Donald Trump has enthusiastically expressed personal admiration for notorious authoritarian leaders. Recently he sent a message to Philippines president Duterte: ‘I want to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem.’ Duterte’s crackdown on the drug trade has included extrajudicial killings of 7,000+ people. On President al-Sisi of Egypt, Trump said, ‘He has been very close to me from the first time I met him. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation’. Al-Sisi has a stranglehold on Egypt’s political system, and is actively crushing any civic groups or media outlets that criticise his rule. Trump also described the president of China as ‘a good person who wants to do right, representing his people’. China’s one-party state aggressively censors the internet, persecutes ethnic and religious minorities, bans all political opposition, and recently cracked down on human rights lawyers attempting to defend the victims of such abuses.

Pray:

for God to inspire President Trump to think through his opinions wisely and re-assess his words on foreign policy, democracy and human rights in his conversations and tweets. (Proverbs 1:5)

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Eruptions and earthquakes

Volcanoes are erupting and ground is shaking in Indonesia, Japan, Alaska, the Philippines and eastern Russia. On 23 January, 56,000+ residents in the Philippines were evacuating their homes in anticipation of a major eruption by Mount Mayon volcano. On the same day a volcano north-west of Tokyo also erupted, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake occurred southwest of Jakarta, and another hit Alaska, 173 miles from Kodiak. On 25 January there was a magnitude 6.2 earthquake off Russia’s east coast. Indonesia’s Mount Agung continues to spew ash. Pray for all who are currently evacuated or in the process of cleaning up after these events. See also

Pray:

for scientists to research and understand better how to sense seismic activity and predict underground movements, so that precautions can be taken before and not after an event. (Proverbs 11:30)

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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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