Praise Reports - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Iran: an army of hope

World News recently published an article highlighting what Christian broadcasters are doing to contribute to the fastest growing evangelical population on the planet. Iran Alive Ministries broadcast Christian programmes across the region, and Dr Hormoz Shariat, the president and founder, has been called ‘the Billy Graham of Iran’. Millions of Iranians refer to him as ‘my pastor’ as he speaks to them in their living rooms each evening on satellite television. In recent months, protests have broken out all over Iran, with people marching in the streets against their government. Dr Hormoz helped listeners outside and inside Iran to understand what the protests mean. He encouraged Christians in Iran to use the protests as an opportunity to share the gospel; in doing this Iranians saw even more people come to Christ. See also

Praise:

God for Christian broadcasting. May it help more people to gain a better understanding of Iran, and ways that they can pray for believers and Muslims. (Psalm 20:4)

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Praise God for Billy Graham!

Billy Graham died on 21 February, aged 99. No-one will ever be able to calculate the extent of the blessing he has been to hundreds of millions of men and women, from possibly every country in the world, who were put on God’s path for them through his ministry. To listen to a tribute to Billy Graham presented by UCB, click the ‘More’ button.

Praise:

God for Billy Graham’s long and fruitful life and extraordinary influence. (Psalm 35:18)

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

Doctor-assisted suicide

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) recently called for doctor-assisted dying to be legalised, ‘to reflect public support’. They said assisted suicide works well in other countries. However, there are increasing reports of involuntary euthanasia in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, and euthanasia is being extended to minor and non-life-threatening conditions. Consequently the elderly and vulnerable are now fearful of going into hospital. In the UK, doctors are said to be 2:1 against the legalisation of assisted suicide. However a poll on the BMJ website asking whether doctor-assisted dying should be legalised claimed that 59% voted Yes and 41% No. It is possible that this figure was manipulated to produce the desired result; some responders voting No were told their vote was not accepted due to a technical hitch. Activists are calling for doctor-assisted dying to become legal for those with six months to live, even though it is difficult to predict life expectancy.

Pray:

for palliative care to be strengthened, and for doctors never to be forced to take life. (Psalm 86:11b)

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Child sex crimes reach record high

NSPCC reports that child sex crime allegations have reached a record high in the UK, with an average of 177 cases recorded every day in 2016-17 – an increase of 15% on the previous year. Offences included rape, sexual assault and grooming. In almost 14,000 cases, the complainant was aged ten or under, with 2,788 of the alleged offences perpetrated against children aged four or under. In 10% of cases, there was an online element involved. NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said, ‘This dramatic rise is extremely concerning and shows just how extensive child sexual abuse is. These abhorrent crimes can shatter a child’s life and leave them feeling humiliated, depressed or even suicidal. Every single child who has endured abuse needs support so that they can learn to rebuild their lives.’ Online groomers are a major problem.

Pray:

for the police, social, education and healthcare agencies to be equipped to establish a more secure network that discovers and eliminates abuse in all its forms. (Psalm 67:1)

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Declarations prior to Chequers meeting

The Brexit secretary, David Davis, has hit back at negative suggestions that Brexit will lead to an Anglo-Saxon race to the bottom, saying that fears are based on neither history, intention, nor interest. International trade secretary Liam Fox has warned EU leaders that imposing new tariff barriers with the UK would make their economies less competitive, and stressed the benefits of the high UK standards of goods. Meanwhile a letter to Theresa May signed by sixty Tory MPs insisted that the UK should make a clean break with the EU, stating that the UK must be able to negotiate trade deals with other countries as soon as it leaves the EU, and must gain full ‘regulatory autonomy’. Both speeches and the letter set out key Brexit issues ahead of the MPs’ ‘away day’ at Chequers on 22 February. Pray that all decisions made there will lead to a new, fresh positive team of British MPs standing strong behind Theresa May for frictionless change.

Pray:

for future EU negotiations to carry Kingdom purposes forward for the UK and Europe. (Matthew 6:10)

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Children allowed to make life-changing decisions

On 1 January a petition calling for the banning of medical intervention to change gender surgically or medically by hormones for people below the age of 18 was sent to the Department of Health and Social Care. Responding to the petition on 20 February, the department appears not to have changed its policy, stating that a person under 16 is competent to give valid consent to a particular intervention if they have sufficient intelligence to enable them to understand fully what is proposed. There are no such sentiments when it comes to protecting under-18s from making choices they might in the future regret with regard to purchasing tobacco and alcohol; also, sex under the age of 16 remains a criminal offence.

Pray:

for the protection of children’s rights to grow up in safety and be protected from making life changing decisions they may regret in the future. (Proverbs 2:11)

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Israeli Apartheid Weeks in universities

The 14th annual Israeli Apartheid Week takes place globally between 19 February and 17 April. People will stage various events to raise awareness of what they say is ‘Israel’s apartheid system over the Palestinian people’. Students in UK universities are urged to choose a week between these dates in which to demonstrate. However, staging such events contravenes the International Definition of Antisemitism (IDA) that the UK signed up to. IDA states that describing the existence of the State of Israel as ‘a racist and illegitimate endeavour’ is anti-Semitic. Many fear such events in our universities will not only be anti-Semitic but will impact the next generation’s understanding of Israel. Our nation’s future political leaders, doctors, journalists, teachers, business people, and professionals are being encouraged to demonise the Jewish State. See also

Pray:

for Jewish students on campuses to be protected, and for the Government to stop anti-Semitism in the UK. (Proverbs 2:8)

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‘Brexit must not undermine peace process’

Simon Coveney, Tánaiste (Irish deputy leader), has said that through the Brexit negotiations Ireland wished to see the creation of the closest possible future connection between the EU and the UK. He said, ‘A key strategic objective is to ensure that the outcome of Brexit does not undermine the hard-won gains of the peace process, as exemplified by the Good Friday Agreement. Despite the efforts of both governments in recent months, and especially in recent weeks, it is deeply regrettable that there is at present no power-sharing executive in place. However, we will not give up – we cannot give up. We urgently need to see the restoration of the Northern Ireland executive and assembly, to harness greater and broader input into how to make the best of Brexit.’

Pray:

for the re-establishment of power-sharing in Northern Ireland. (Psalm 133:1)

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Many cities face grave flood danger

New research from Newcastle University published in the academic journal Environmental Research Letters reveals that nearly sixty UK cities will battle flooding by 2051, with Glasgow and Aberdeen among the worst-hit. The changes in flooding, droughts and heatwaves for European cities are blamed on climate change and the effect of greenhouse gases on global temperature. Experts are now calling for improved flood defences in order to prevent severe damage in future. The most optimistic scenario showed that 85% of UK cities with a river would face increased flooding. Some areas in the UK and Ireland could see the amount of water per flood as much as double.

Pray:

for essential planning to be done now to prevent future disastrous developments. (Proverbs 1:5)

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Europe - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

Christianity – Europe’s ‘last hope’

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán has called Christianity the ‘last hope’ for Europe, as the continent struggles to integrate millions of Muslim migrants who have fled their countries of origin. Orbán also accuses some Western European governments of facilitating the ‘decline of Christian culture’, and paving the way for Islam’s advance. In his annual state of the nation speech he warned these nations that they will be overwhelmed with Muslim migrants and their culture will drastically change for the worse. He said that if millions of young Muslims move north, large European cities will have a Muslim majority. The prime minister is expected to win a third term when Hungarians go to the polls in April. Pray for an end to the fear of declining Christian culture, and for Muslim refugees to have divine appointments with Christians in European cities and encounter Christ.

Pray:

for this movement of people to inspire a tide of Christian evangelism across Europe. (Romans 10:14)

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Montenegro: Serb attacks US embassy

At midnight on 21 February Serbian Dalibor Jaukovic, formerly of the Yugoslav People’s Army, threw a grenade into the US embassy compound and then blew himself up. According to Facebook publications he was against Montenegro’s accession to NATO. Montenegro, the youngest member of NATO, has for a long time been politically torn between her historic friend Russia and the USA. Historically, on the eve of the 2016 election, long-serving prime minister Dusko Markovic stepped down after suggesting that Russia had a role in an election plot. He said that there was a ‘strong connection of a foreign factor’ in a conspiracy to take over the Montenegrin parliament on election day. Those arrested by the police for planning this coup included more Russians and Serbians than Montenegrins. See also

Pray:

for politicians in Montenegro to work for the benefit of their citizens and not their own political circles when they make alliances. (Proverbs 19:1)

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Worldwide - CLICK to return to Top of Bulletin

A week’s prayer for South Pacific mission

Monday: at a missions course in Papua New Guinea, participants came face-to-face with previously unknown realities. Pray for hearts challenged to missions. Tuesday: ‘Bloom where you are planted.’ Pray for Christians to reflect the love of God to all with whom they come in contact, wherever God places them. Wednesday: more than just language learning. ‘God uses my language learning experience to help me understand my walk with Him better.’ Pray for missionaries’ spiritual walk with God. Thursday: the first Amdu Literacy Class graduation. ‘Praise the Lord! A milestone happening here in Amdu! Pray for the team to move forward with exact translation, leading to the future clear sharing of God’s truth.’ Friday: death brings new life. At a funeral people who had never heard the gospel realised they were missing something and expressed an interest in Biblical truths. Pray for these new inquirers.

Pray:

for continued Christian growth through Bible translation, preaching salvation, and discipling believers into thriving churches. (Mark 1:15)

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Syria: hundreds waiting to die

Rebels are not going to win Syria’s war, but neither will they quit while Assad’s forces continue to target suburbs of Eastern Ghouta. Warplanes back his bombardment. Starving people in the besieged regions are ‘awaiting their turn to die’ as the most ferocious attacks in Syria’s history continue. Eastern Ghouta was among the first Syrian regions to shake off government rule after demonstrations against President Assad’s regime swept through the country and led to civil war. The UN has now described the situation there as ‘beyond imagination’. Amnesty International said ‘flagrant war crimes’ are being committed as civilians die. The UN secretary general is supporting a resolution that calls for a 30-day Syrian ceasefire to allow the wounded to leave and supplies to enter. Meanwhile, Assad’s forces were sent to the northern Afrin region, where they came under fire from Turkish forces attacking the Kurdish-controlled area. See also

Pray:

for a ceasefire wherever there is resistance to Assad’s control. (Job 19:25)

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Bolivia: praying for change

During an altar of public worship last year about 1,200 Bolivians interceded for spiritual change in the nation. On 21 February a local Christian wrote, ‘Across our beloved Bolivia women, men and children took to the streets today, defending our faith and democracy. A majority of the population voted NO to the re-election of Evo Morales who is attempting to become president indefinitely by bribery, propaganda, brute force and using the resources of Bolivia to do so. The church and people of Bolivia continue to say NO to his leftist regime. We say YES to Jesus! Bolivia will NOT be Venezuela, or follow the path of Cuba. Please pray that all violence, revenge, lies, deaths, injustices in every political and social sphere, covenants to the occult, and pacts with nations that misuse our resources to their benefit, but to our economic detriment, are all uncovered.’

Pray:

for Bolivian Christians’ prayers to prepare the way for the changes that only God can bring. (Job 34:28)

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Forbidden stories

Transparency International reports, ‘Countries with the least protection for press and activists also have the worst rates of corruption. Every week at least one journalist is killed in a country that is corrupt. There are journalists who wish to continue and publish their work, but they have been threatened, imprisoned or killed for attempting to speak out the truth.’ Journalists who feel threatened can now use encrypted communication to protect sensitive information and put their ongoing investigations in a safe place online. Their stories are then secured and will never be published without their agreement. If something happens to them, ‘Forbidden Stories’ will be able to finish the stories in accordance with the author’s instructions and to circulate them widely, thanks to a collaborative network of media committed to defending the freedom to inform. For insights into the worst countries, click the ‘More’ button.

Pray:

for truthful news to survive beyond borders, despite government censorship. (Psalm 34:17)

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USA: gun control – no easy answers

Students have taken to the streets to protest on the gun control issue. Senator Bill Galvano said, ‘Enough is enough: something must change.’ President Trump – who was elected with the support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) – has so far offered a ban on a bump stock gun accessory linked to the Florida shooting, and the implementation of a law to enforce background checks already on the books but not fully operative. The NRA are willing to regulate bump stocks, but gun rights activists have already rallied to protect the devices. Trump’s latest words on the subject suggested arming teachers and school staff. Meanwhile, the ‘Fix Nics Act’ that Trump supports does not change the categories of who are barred from buying a gun, or the requirement for gun buyers to pass a background check before purchasing a firearm.

Pray:

for a straightforward political gun control debate without outside influences. (Psalm 34:14)

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Iraq: corruption and elections

Vice-president Nouri al-Maliki wants to regain the premiership he lost in 2014, and many believe he is leveraging his influence over the judicial process to marginalise political rivals ahead of the elections on 12 May. Iraq’s savvy and powerful politicians are using judicial, legislative, and procedural means to disqualify their opponents or break up opposing coalitions, especially after candidate lists were filed on 10 February. Such disqualifications undermine the legitimacy of the Iraqi government in ways that accelerate insurgency and negate the military gains the US has made against IS in Iraq. Meanwhile Islamic leaders slander Christians in mosques, leading to further persecution. Government officials, both national and local, have threatened Christians, ‘encouraging’ them to leave the country. Political parties who hinder pluralism also contribute to the persecution of Christians in the public space. See also

Pray:

for the next regime to end persecution and allow Christians to keep their inheritance. (Psalm 4:1)

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Two US destroyers sent into Black Sea

Two American destroyers have sailed into the Black Sea, the first time since 2014 that more than one US warship has operated in this tense region other than in an exercise. ‘Our decision to have two ships operate simultaneously in the Black Sea is proactive, not reactive’, said vice admiral Christopher Grady. ‘We operate at the tempo and timing of our choosing in this strategically important region.’ Russia has viewed US ships transiting these international waters as provocative, ever since it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. ‘The US is sending a message that it will defend its allies, uphold maritime laws and protect its offshore interests in Europe and Asia’, said a Naval War College professor of strategy. ‘We’re putting Russia on notice in the Black Sea and China on notice in the South China Sea that we will not be deterred from going into those waters, and doing so in force.’

Pray:

for this to be seen as a peacekeeping exercise – not a provocation in the region. (Nahum 1:15a)

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

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Prayer Alert is produced in partnership with The World Prayer Centre, Cornerstone House, 5 Ethel Street, Birmingham, B2 4BG, England.
The views expressed in Prayer Alert and on our website are those of the authors, organisations and websites named, and are not necessarily those of the Prayer Alert Editorial Team, the Prayer Alert Steering Group or the World Prayer Centre or any of its employees or trustees. While we try to ensure that the information we provide is correct, mistakes do occur and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of our material. If you do notice any mistakes then please let us know.

 

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