Praise Reports


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Praise Reports

Christians in sport share their faith

Stoke City F C’s new manager, Nathan Jones, has been praised by the Bishop of Stafford: ‘It’s so impressive that Nathan is able to talk openly and honestly about his faith, and it’s particularly great that he has found strength from this during times of adversity’. Jones, who regularly attends church and has Christian-themed tattoos, has described how God keeps him ‘grounded’ and helps him persevere against temptation: ‘Through hard times I’ve always had the stability of the Lord in my life.’ Billy Vunipola, regarded as one of England’s best rugby players, has spoken about how his faith is helping him get back to fitness after suffering three broken arms in just over a year. For his interview with the Daily Telegraph, see

Praise: God for the Christian witness of these two sportsmen. May more Christians in the media spotlight have opportunities to share their faith publicly. (Romans 1:16)

Remarkable answers to prayer

Recent weeks have seen answered prayer and God’s protection over His people. Pakistan’s police foiled an attack on Christmas worship in Karachi. A police officer tragically lost his life when the bomb he was defusing detonated outside a Cairo church, but his brave intervention thwarted Islamist plans to take many more lives a few days before Orthodox Christians’ Christmas Day. Iraq’s government made a landmark announcement declaring Christmas Day a national holiday for all Iraqis, wishing its Christian citizens a ‘happy Christmas’. Meanwhile, an anti-Christian tirade by the Grand Mufti fell flat when the country’s Sunni authority condemned it as irrational and offensive, pointing out that Christians don’t try to prevent Muslim celebrations. In Egypt, the Ministry of Justice produced a remarkable animated public information video cautioning Muslims not to ‘fall prey to the extremists’, and encouraged them to extend greetings to their Christian neighbours during the Christmas holidays.

Praise: God for His protection over the persecuted Church. Ask Him to continue to soften hearts of regimes, governments and individuals in the Muslim world towards Christians. (Deuteronomy 23:14a)

Praise Reports

Meaningful Brexit vote

As the Parliamentary vote on 15 January draws near, here are some facts to help generate informed intercession. The ‘meaningful vote’ will be on the draft Withdrawal Agreement. If MPs pass it, the deal will have less of a problem passing through the House of Lords. However, the Government appears likely to lose any vote on the current deal. Brussels will not reopen the agreement, fearing demands from member states over such matters as fishing issues and Gibraltar. It may offer small tweaks to a non-binding political declaration and/or a statement from EU lawyers on the backstop not being permanent. Meanwhile there need to be clarifications and reassurances over an invisible border in Ireland. We can pray for the boundaries, borders and sovereignty of this nation to be established and concluded according to God’s plans and timing, as God’s Spirit blows powerfully through Parliament.

Pray: for God’s Kingdom plans to be birthed in the hearts and minds of our politicians. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Praying for Britain

Our country is in crisis. Our whole future is in question. Britain – once a Godly nation – has now turned away from God. Brexit and the authority of the Bible have divided church and state. You are invited to a Day of Prayer on 26 January at the SSE Arena, Wembley. We can change Britain through the power of united prayer. Intercessions will be led by David Hathaway, Clifford Hill, Rev Betty King, Andrea Williams, Lou Engle, Bishop John Francis, Pastor Nims Obunge, Rachel Hickson, Rev Yemi Adedeji, Pastor Tobi Adeboyega, James Aladiran, Apostle Elijah Chanak, and others. For information and tickets click the ‘More’ button. For other upcoming events, including prayer and fasting from 14 to 16 January for the Brexit vote in Parliament on the 15th, go to

Pray: for God in His mercy to use the prayers and praise of His people to bring change. (Psalm 133:1)

Operation World: a new resource

Most of us in the UK recognise that we live in a big, complex world with lots going on in the global church that we are not aware of or we do not quite understand. We also know that God desires His people to pray for His will to be done, and His kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven. Often we don’t quite know how to put these two together. That conundrum is why Lausanne and Operation World have put together a step in the right direction. Prayer Alert is delighted to announce that their project, long in the making,is now live. They have produced a free weekly church bulletin insert that is aimed at exposing church members to how God is at work around the world, and encouraging them to pray for the needs of the nations. A sample and more information about the resource is at:

Pray: for increased informed intercession for the global church and the challenges and opportunities for global missions today and in future. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Universal Credit rollout delayed

The next stage of Universal Credit rollout will be scaled back, amid concerns it has made an estimated 3.2 million households worse off. It has also run over budget, is years behind schedule, and is said to have forced claimants into destitution and in some cases even prostitution. Others say they have been left to rely on foodbanks. The Trussell Trust, which runs national foodbanks, said it welcomed the news but added, ‘It will come too late for the thousands making new UC claims over the coming year. As an urgent priority, the 5+ week wait for a first payment must end’. When she started as work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, said she would listen ‘very carefully’ to concerns. She admitted the system could be better, and promised to ‘learn from errors’ and adjust the system where needed. See also

Pray: for God to hold Amber Rudd in the palm of His hand, and give her generosity in all her short-term and long-term decisions. (Matthew 19:21)

Christian is deported despite Islamic threats

On 9 January Asher Samson, from Birmingham, was deported to Pakistan, despite last-minute attempts to convince the authorities that his case warranted a judicial review because the proper procedures had not been followed. Mr Samson came to the UK in 2004 to continue theology training in order to become a pastor. He decided to apply for asylum here after being beaten and threatened with execution by Islamic extremists during visits to Pakistan. A friend from his church writes, ‘He has no close family there, and rightly fears for his life. We can only pray; though on one level that seems so little, we know it is the most effective thing to do.’

Pray: for God to protect Asher now that he is in Pakistan, and for his family in the UK. Pray for justice to be done for other Christians in similar circumstances whose appeals are still pending. (Deuteronomy 10:18)

Farming and the land

The NFU has a new strapline for 2019: ‘UK – a nation united by food’, underpinned by four pillars: Moral Imperative, Standards and Integrity, Health and Nutrition, and Respecting Nature. Excellent aspirations, but without acknowledging the Lord they are just nice ideas. Pray that God will cause our farmers and those in related industries to run to Jesus and trust Him for clarity and purpose. Pray for reconciliation, firstly between God and man, then amongst people, and finally in restoration for God’s creation (Isaiah 55:6). Bovine tuberculosis continues to devastate many herds of cattle across Britain. Controlling the epidemic is hugely controversial: the role badgers play in spreading the disease, and the effectiveness of badger culling, are hotly contested. Pray for understanding between different interest groups, and that new solutions currently being developed will be implemented effectively and help reconcile farming and food production, animal welfare and care for creation.

Pray: for rural Christians to shine as lights in the darkness, standing in the front line of solving problems and realising opportunities. (Matthew 5:16)

Archbishop of Canterbury on Brexit vote

Justin Welby has told the Lords that if Parliament fails to back a deal with Brussels, it will have shown itself to be ‘unfit for the job’. He warned that a no-deal Brexit could hit the ‘poorest and most vulnerable’ communities the hardest, and MPs have a ‘duty to build a compromise, even if it is unwelcome to some’. He urged MPs to show leadership and put the interests of their constituents first: ‘Parliamentarians must be able to look back at this time and say honestly to the people of this country that we put them, their choices, their welfare and their communities above the politics and ideology that can seem so all-consuming here in Westminster.’

Pray: for politicians to demonstrate God’s laws and principles to the watching nations. (Romans 13:1)

Praise Reports

Killer winter storms

Brutal winter weather is battering Europe, with ‘significant and disruptive’ snow forecast to continue for up to two weeks. Snow trapped hundreds in Alpine regions, caused avalanches and flight delays, and worst of all hit dozens of refugees housed in tents in northern Greece as temperatures sank to -20C. There have been at least 13 deaths so far in Greece’s islands. Poor visibility halted Norway’s attempts to find the bodies of four skiers presumed dead after a huge avalanche hit a valley. Romanian police found the frozen body of a 67-year-old man in a car park where temperatures were -24C. Austrian residents were housebound due to blocked roads, and some regions experienced power outages, closed schools, and buildings collapsing from snow-laden roofs. Many are bracing themselves for more snow, while others prepare for subsequent floods. See

Pray: for God to help the refugees living in tents, the housebound without electricity, and those mourning the missing and the dead. (Psalm 10:12)

Italy: using ‘yellow vests’ to shake up EU

Italy’s Five Star Movement is plotting with similar groups in Poland, Croatia, and Finland to shake up the EU and end Brussels control. Luigi di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment party, is meeting with a number of emerging movements across Europe to create a ‘group of direct democracy’ to challenge the ‘current crop of elitist EU parties’. He will also call on the so-called ‘yellow vest’ movement, which has threatened to sink Emmanuel Macron’s reign as French president, to help spearhead the people’s revolution in Brussels, according to Laura Agea, Five Star’s most senior figure in the Belgian capital. She said, ‘Our goal is to be decisive for the next European Parliament. We will focus on direct democracy, the health of citizens, fighting poverty, and defending the excellence of Made in Europe.’

Pray: for the proposed protests to be peaceful and achieve positive change. (Proverbs 21:15)

Praise Reports

Jakarta: United Prayer Rising 23-26 January

‘Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in’ (Psalm 24:9). The Uprising is a global gathering of ordinary people daring to believe that prayer changes things, their voices matter, and that ‘God is more than able to change the course of history’. People from every nation will speak the heart of God in prayer, declaration, and worship, expecting to see Him change things in our regions and nations. It is a gathering of people who are willing to fight and make a sacrifice together, seeking the face of God to bring justice and peace among the nations. Old and young will honour each other and bring healing between generations. Pray that every delegate that is meant to be there will arrive safely and be used powerfully. For short videos, see

Pray: for this generation of people seeking God to see change as prayers are answered. (Psalm 24:6)

Iran: Nazanin to go on hunger strike

British charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, jailed in Iran since 2016, says that guards have cancelled her weekly phone calls with her husband and reduced her food rations just days after she announced she would start a hunger strike on 14 January in protest at being barred access to doctors for a breast cancer scare and a painful neurological condition. The food rations reduction affects the whole ward, and is described as a ‘cost-saving measure’. Fellow-prisoner and hunger striker Narges Mohammadi, one of Iran’s most prominent activists, was also not permitted to call her husband and children in France. Nazanin’s husband Richard, who fears she is not strong or well enough to survive a hunger strike, has called for an urgent meeting with the Iranian ambassador to London to discuss her case.

Pray: for positive negotiations, and decisions by politicians to establish Nazanin’s freedom. (Isaiah 49:9)

China: pray for jailed pastor

In December around a hundred Chinese Christians from a church in Chengdu, including the pastor and his wife, were imprisoned on allegations of ‘inciting subversion of state power’ (see). In a public letter, Pastor Wang makes clear that he does not seek to overthrow the state but to worship freely. He writes, ‘Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family – the authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith.’ Barnabas Fund is urging Christians to pray for the imprisoned pastor through their new webpage ‘Christian Prisoners of Conscience’.

Pray: for God to send His Holy Spirit to strengthen Pastor Wang, his wife Jiang Rong, and all the members of his church, moment by moment, as they endure their time in prison. (Psalm 23:4)

Three elections on 24 February 2019

On this day a national referendum to ratify Cuba’s new constitution will take place; the government says that gay marriage protections will be removed from the draft, but this is still being argued by politicians. Moldova’s elections are under a new mixed electoral system which people do not trust. Pray for peaceful electioneering and outcomes in both these situations. Since the military coup in Thailand, a new political party, the youthful Future Forward Party, has emerged (see). Critics say the constitution dilutes the power of elected governments and embeds the role of the military role in politics and policy for the next twenty years. Activists have been calling on the government not to postpone the election again, amid fears that it might do so.

Pray: for God to be in every detail of these government changes and challenges. (Psalm 55:19)

Turkey: Erdogan and USA clash on Kurds

President Erdogan has snubbed US national security advisor John Bolton, who was visiting the region to discuss the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and future US involvement there. Bolton asked for assurances that Turkey would not harm Kurdish fighters in Syria in future. He held discussions with Turkish officials, but President Erdogan refused to meet him and described his comments as ‘a serious mistake’, adding: ‘We cannot make any concessions. Those involved in a Syrian terror corridor will receive the necessary punishment.’ A commentator said, ‘Everyone is jockeying for position in Syria because the war is winding down. There is concern over the US leaving Turkey in charge.’

Pray: for the protection of the Kurds after the US troops leave. (Psalm 109:31)

USA: Christians in politics – church controversies – cover-ups

Since Donald Trump became  president, people are talking of renewed Christian political advocacy. With Democrats retaking Congress, and headline-grabbing activism around the migrant ‘caravans’ on the Mexican border, religious liberals could sway policy debates in 2019. Meanwhile the United Methodist Church’s bishops will hold a special conference in February to resolve a year-long debate about its current stance on homosexuality. It currently bans ordaining non-celibate homosexuals or blessing same-sex marriages. Many within and outside the denomination expect the conference to lead to a schism. A 1,300-page report has detailed how 301 Catholic priests abused 1,000+ children over several decades while the hierarchy shielded perpetrators from accountability. On 2 January, bishops began a prayer retreat over this problem, with a summit of Catholic leaders scheduled for February.

Pray: for 2019 to usher in God’s answers to theological debates, scandals, and schisms. (Deuteronomy 30:16)

USA: the wall – the shutdown – the people

Donald Trump is prepared to prolong the current government shutdown because the ‘humanitarian and national security crisis on the southern border’ necessitates funding a wall. This plan is popular with his fanbase, but most Americans oppose it by a 10-to-20 point margin. Trump has Republican support, but Democrats feel they have public support; so the standoff about the shutdown continues. Also, before signing an anti-human trafficking measure on 9 January, Trump said, ‘Israel put up a wall to protect them, and they don’t have a problem any more’. He seems to equate Hezbollah terrorists, Hamas, IS, and the Palestinian ‘second intifada’ attacks with a few thousand migrant families at the Mexican border. See

Pray: for God’s provision for those not receiving salaries due to the shutdown, and for the thousands of families fleeing violence and poverty at the Mexico border. (Isaiah 35:3)

Praise Reports
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The World Prayer Centre, Cornerstone House, 5 Ethel Street, Birmingham, B2 4BG, England.
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