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Praise Reports

Algeria: answered prayer

Last week you prayed for the aged President Bouteflika to withdraw from standing in the next election, and for God to raise new leaders for the nation. On 12 March the state news agency reported that the president was withdrawing, and would not stand as a candidate in the next election. He has named the interior minister as the new prime minister, and plans to create a new government with a special body to draft a new constitution to respond to the protests. May God continue to bless Algeria with His purposes.

Praise: God for changes in what appeared to be a hopeless situation. (Psalm 9:1,2)

Nepal: God heals miraculously

Pastor Biju stopped to pray with 18-year-old deaf mute Tilak, who belongs to an unreached, unengaged people group. As he stretched out his arm to pray for him, he saw confusion in the boy’s eyes. Tilak had no way of communicating with others, and no context for what was about to happen. Pastor Biju gave Tilak a reassuring smile before he closed his eyes and focused his attention heavenward. He prayed for deliverance and healing, and as he did, he felt Tilak jerk away. The bewildered look on his face showed that something amazing had happened. Tilak was instantaneously, miraculously healed! Tears streamed down his face as he heard through his ears for the first time. He rushed to his mother, who heaved sobs of joy and relief. Her boy was healed, and it was all because of Jesus! The entire family became Christians that day.

Praise: God for Tilak and his family, who are now part of the first church plant among their people. (Mark 9:23)

Praise Reports

Brexit – what now?

On 14 March MPs voted to delay Brexit by a period of at least three months. Theresa May will now need to go back to the EU to request an extension to the 29 March deadline, even if (as seems unlikely) her Brexit deal is approved by parliament in a third ‘meaningful vote’ before 20 March. It is unclear what might happen if the EU refuses. The following is part of a declaration posted online by Passion for the Nation: ‘Lord, we thank You for every miracle You have worked in our nation in past seasons; for the turnarounds, revivals and personal miracles of provision and healing which have transformed lives, families and communities. At this strategic time within Parliament, we declare that a new desire for solutions will be released, uniting men and women across all parties, so that Kingdom purpose will overwhelm and overcome every personal, political and ideological preference and every strategy of the enemy to bring division.’

Pray: for God to replace chaos with hope, peace and righteous decisions. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Birmingham demonstrations

The ASCL, the second-largest head teachers’ union, has 18,500+ members, most of whom are in favour of relationship and sex education (RSE). Education secretary Damian Hinds will speak at their annual conference in Birmingham (15 to 16 March). In February he published new guidelines which state that parents will have no right to take their children out of RSE lessons. LGBT activist Andrew Moffat has been developing gay programmes while working as a teacher in Birmingham schools. Most recently he has piloted a programme called ‘No Outsiders’ at Parkfield School. Parents are currently protesting at Parkfield and calling for Moffat to go (see). Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman will also address the conference. She has condemned the parental protests and called for ‘sane, rational discussion’. Concerned Christians will be demonstrating outside the venue on both days, and ask for our prayers.

Pray: for the Government to permit sex education to be the responsibility of parents. (Deut. 11:19)

Saving the internet from itself

The internet can deliver inappropriate and illegal online bullying, self-harm advice, fake news, and data misuse to anyone, of any age. A Christian perspective upholds ‘human flourishing on strong foundations within agreed ethical frameworks’. These are lacking online, but things could change. The House of Lords has produced an agreed set of ten principles that shape and frame internet regulations, and a new ‘Digital Authority’ to oversee rules, with access to the highest level of Government to facilitate any changes needed. These principles are: – the same level of protection online as offline – accountability for actions and policies – transparency and openness to scrutiny – openness to innovation and competition – protecting the privacy of individuals – ethical design – ensuring that services act in the interests of users and society – childhood recognition to protect the vulnerable – respect for human rights – and education to enable people to navigate the internet safely. See also World article 6, on technology.

Pray: for the new regulations to be adopted and implemented for future safeguarding. (Psalm 119:29)

Assisted dying

A legal challenge has been submitted regarding a Royal College of Physicians (RCP) poll on assisted suicide. The poll asked members where they stand on this issue, but the RCP said it would adopt a neutral stance unless there was a 60% majority either way. Until now it has been officially opposed to assisted dying. Four doctors have launched a crowdfunding page to fund a legal challenge to the poll, saying that a small minority who support assisted dying want to change the RCP’s default position in an unfair way. Even if 59% of members vote to maintain opposition to a change in the law, the College will change to a neutral position anyway. The doctors argue that using a supra-majority to change a policy is, as far as they are aware, entirely without precedent. It is believed that Dignity in Dying, the campaign group for assisted dying, influenced the move.

Pray: for laws against assisting the suicide of another person to remain unchanged. (Ecclesiastes 7:17)

Terror-inciting Tamimi to come to Britain

Ahed Tamimi is a Palestinian provocateur who slapped Israeli soldiers while her mother filmed the incident and then sent film to the media. She later said, ‘The world should not panic or be appalled by a Palestinian slapping an IDF soldier. Everyone should do it, not just me.’ With such comments, she and her family incite suicide bombings and stabbings. She is to come to Britain for a three-month crash course in the English language. Tamimi says she is on ‘the path of the martyrs’ who are not aiming for a two-state solution, but for ‘the liberation of Palestine’, and for ‘Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of Palestine’. Jeremy Corbyn supports her, and Labour MPs have been lectured by her father inside the UK parliament. In an interview with Jordanian media she said that after her crash course in English she will visit her brother in Palestine when he is freed from prison, then return to the UK to study international law. See

Pray: for Ms Tamimi to have no impact on the anti-semitic surge in UK political parties. (Psalm 144:11)

Chancellor’s spring statement – Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust has said that Philip Hammond has missed a chance to do the right thing by giving people on the lowest income financial support and certainty before Brexit. Our benefits system should ensure proper support is in place when help is most needed. But more people are struggling to make ends meet and face hunger. The trust said a record demand in foodbank use has resulted from benefits not covering the cost of essentials. ‘By failing to end the benefits freeze and the five-week wait for Universal Credit, thousands more people will become trapped in poverty and may be forced to a foodbank as a result.’ Financial experts said that Britain needs urgent spending reviews to address issues around benefits squeezes, education funding, and social care. The Chancellor promised to free up more money to help end austerity if there’s a smooth Brexit, and that a disorderly Brexit would deal a ‘significant’ blow to economic activity in the short term. See

Pray: for Government economic policies to end poverty and hunger in the UK. (Mark 10:21)

MoD-funded psychological research

The Ministry of Defence is looking for a contractor for its new psychological research, which will allegedly boost troops’ performance and well-being. The ministry’s agency is seeking contributions from specialists in the fields of psychiatry, neuroscience and social sciences to help shape future strategies and policies. The University of Cambridge was shortlisted to take part in an almost £70 million research programme. Initially the university’s participation was approved by the board which scrutinises funding for ethical and reputational risks. Now over forty academics have expressed ‘deep concern’ over the university’s involvement in secretive military programmes without consulting staff and students.

Pray: for ethical positive research to be done in our universities. (Psalm 94:15a)

Praise Reports

People here live in both countries

Young people in Northern Ireland have grown up with a unique ability to identity as British, Irish, or both, thanks to the peace agreement that ended decades of conflict. But after Brexit, some people think the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could again become a scene of violence, and there is uncertainty about what rights Irish and British passport holders will have. Pray for the questions around people’s identities and citizenships to be resolved. Pray for peace to cover all areas threatened with fear and violence. To watch a short documentary about the north/south divide issues discussed by young people, click the ‘More’ button.

Pray: for north and south to remain in peace as communities adjust to post-Brexit. (Psalm 85:10)

Moldova: democracy faces risks

Lack of transparency and accountability has allowed corruption to flourish in Moldova’s politics. February’s parliamentary elections saw many long-standing politicians swept out of office, but results were inconclusive. None of the major parties secured a majority. Three parties exert a powerful political influence over key state institutions, including the judicial system. If they are unable to negotiate a viable coalition agreement, or if the final results are not validated, new elections could be called. In the run-up to elections, some candidates accused the authorities of poisoning them. Toxicology reports showed elevated mercury amounts in their blood. Journalists could not access information about political developments, and politicised media ownership reduced consumers’ exposure to diverse viewpoints. The route to a stable government remains unclear.

Pray: for true democracy to replace political corruption. May the international community engage in Moldova’s governance to ensure upright ethics. (Psalm 119:137,138)

Ukraine: election on 31 March

The Crimean Tatar people have decided to support Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine’s presidential election. They said, ‘The most significant criterion in assessing candidates for the presidency is their ability to mobilise Ukrainian society to rebuff Russian aggression against Ukraine and restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, which include the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.’ The Tatars have also called on Ukrainians in occupied Crimea to participate in mainland Ukraine polling stations, and urged diaspora to vote at foreign polling stations. Russia outlawed the Tatar parliament (Mejlis) for ‘propaganda, ethnic nationalism, and extreme hatred towards Russia’.

Pray: for a new president and leaders who will stabilise the nation peacefully and end corruption. (Isaiah 1:26a)

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Sudan: nine women sentenced to twenty lashes

President Bashir released all females detained for anti-government demonstrations on International Women’s Day. The next day nine Sudanese women protesters were arrested and sentenced to twenty lashes plus a month in prison. In February Bashir declared a state of emergency and other measures including emergency courts across the country. The women were arrested for participating in a ‘banned demonstration’ in the capital’s eastern district of Burri, a site of regular protests, and tried in one of the ‘emergency courts’. They are now in a women’s prison in Omdurman. An appeal against the verdict was filed on 10 March. Protests against Bashir have happened almost daily across Sudan since 19 December. Pray for government leaders to rule with integrity and justice, and for peace and stability between tribal groups and military commanders who continue to vie for power.

Pray: for the women’s release, and an end to Sudan´s selective application of sharia law. (Isaiah 59:1)

New Zealand: 49 killed in terror attack

An ‘extremist, right-wing terrorist’ has been arrested and named as the main suspect in connection with shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March; 49 were killed and at least 20 injured. The shooting was the deadliest in the country’s history; prime minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of NZ’s ‘darkest days’. One gunman live-streamed footage of his rampage to Facebook, filmed with a head-mounted camera. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al-Noor mosque. The suspect, who identified himself as Australian, is understood to have published a hate-filled manifesto outlining his intentions and espousing far-right and anti-immigrant ideology. Even though he did this one month ago, he had not been put on any watch list.

Pray: for the families and friends of all the victims, as they mourn. Pray for the authorities, especially that they can quickly take all necessary steps to prevent a repetition. (Psalm 46:1)

Nigeria: Christians sue the government

Rev Solomon Mfa and ten other Christian leaders filed a suit against the Nigerian government at the West African States Court of Justice, which has jurisdiction over human rights issues in the area. On 26 February the court ordered the government to investigate attacks that killed 300+ Christians and destroyed property; identify and prosecute the perpetrators; and redress the victims. ‘The government is in violation of its obligation to protect the human rights of these communities,’ the three judges stated in their unanimous verdict. The court also ordered the government to take urgent measures to protect Christians in the area by deploying soldiers and police to the affected communities. In the past three years, Muslim Fulani attacks have killed 1,000 people and destroyed property in 15 counties.

Pray: for the government to end ethno-religious cleansing, to move swiftly to reimburse and protect Christians. and to prosecute all law breakers. (Luke 18:7,8a)

Kenya: Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

An assembly of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) opened in Kenya’s capital with a minute’s silence as delegates stood under the dark cloud cast by a plane crash that killed 157 people, including UN staff working for several different agencies. Through the week, as the identities of more victims were reported, heartache rippled through the conference halls. Students at Kenyatta University mourned the deaths of a lecturer and the director of teacher professional development. Hundreds of lives will not be the same as they mourn. Meanwhile Boeing faces further questions over the safety of its 737 Max 8 jets, now grounded after the second fatal crash in months. See

Pray: for design flaws in the aircraft to be resolved, and for God to comfort and strengthen mourners. (Matthew 5:4)

Australia: how we treat our elderly

How communities treat our elderly is a measure of worth and moral integrity. 300 people attended the first community consultation by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Adult children and spouses of those in care want compassionate staff, not harsh, poorly trained, temperamentally unsuited people working in the sector. Commissioner Lynell Briggs spoke of creating a culture of dignity and respect after hearing harrowing tales, including that of a woman’s mother in care being regularly left for hours to lie in her own mess. When she died, the facility operator told the daughter that her mother had been ‘taking up too much of the staff’s time’. Upon complaint, the regulator turned on the daughter. The consultation heard much first-hand evidence of elder abuse. Victoria’s assisted dying legislation comes into effect on 19 June. There are fears that no euthanasia or assisted dying scheme can effectively screen for elder abuse and coercion.

Pray: for states considering adopting euthanasia to listen closely to the community consultations taking place. (Psalm 71:9)

Global: technology 30 years on

Global action is required to tackle the web’s ‘downward plunge to a dysfunctional future’, said its inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee in an interview marking thirty years since its conception. He said people realised how data can be manipulated after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but data breaches, hacking and misinformation could be tackled. He acknowledged that many people doubted the web could be a force for good. While he had his own anxieties about the future, he felt users were beginning to understand the risks. He thinks the principles of an open web need to be safeguarded in three specific areas of ‘dysfunction’ that harm the web today: malicious activity of hacking and harassment; problematic system design such as business models that reward clickbait; and unintended consequences, such as aggressive or polarised discussions. He said these things could be dealt with through new laws and systems limiting bad behaviour online. See also UK article 3, ‘Saving the internet from itself’.

Pray: for web champions and elected officials to protect the open web. (Proverbs 15:22)

Venezuela: ‘we call it survival’

Food is rotting in refrigerators, people needing dialysis die as hospital equipment shuts down. Diabetics pick leaves, high in sugar, from neem trees amid fears for insulin supplies which must be kept refrigerated. Venezuela has frequent power cuts. It is illegal to fill jerry cans – so people resort to the black market for fuel for generators. ‘The government calls it contraband – we call it survival,’ said a resident. Recently an electrical substation caught fire in unexplained circumstances, which added to the sense of desperation in a neighbourhood experiencing outbreaks of looting. Citizens have mounted lookouts to warn of government security forces and paramilitary gangs called colectivos, who they fear will take down their jerry-rigged homes where residents pump water from a well and take turns carrying supplies to elderly neighbours on higher floors. Analysts and engineers say underinvestment in a network mismanaged by soldiers rather than qualified technicians has caused the power cuts. See

Pray: for God to open survival paths after years of negligence and corruption. (Psalm 31:22)

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