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App is catching criminals

On 7 June 2018 we prayed for an awareness-raising phone app, commissioned by the CofE, to become a valuable part of intelligence gathering that combats an estimated 11,700+ people trapped in UK modern-day slavery – starting with car washes. To date, police have been alerted to 930 reports of potential modern-day slavery at car washes, thanks to the app. Users spotted potential signs of modern slavery or labour exploitation, which they marked off against the app checklist. Then they called the Modern Slavery Helpline anonymously to inform the authorities. Nottingham University said the application was downloaded 8,225 times during its first six months. Bishop Alastair Redfern said, ‘This research shows that the Safe Car Wash app has made an excellent start towards mapping the extent of modern slavery and labour exploitation in hand car washes, and, crucially, raising public awareness of this issue’. See

Praise: God for the app’s success. May its use be extended to other potential areas. (Psalm 22:26)
More: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6897209/Drivers-report-1-000-cases-suspected-slavery-hand-car-washes-using-new-app.html

Peter wins $1m: what he does next is beautiful

Franciscan friar Peter Tabichi, a science teacher in Kenya, won this year’s $1million Global Teacher Prize. Not only is Peter an excellent teacher, he also gives 80% of his earnings to deprived students living in a region of severe drought and famine. He teaches high-schoolers in a school with no library or laboratory, and only one computer with limited internet access. Many students are orphans or come from a single-parent home. Tabichi views his award as a big win for Africa and all teachers and students who struggle every day with so many challenges. He will not keep the money for himself, but will use it to improve his school and feed the poor. ‘I intend to give it back to society; I intend to come up with projects that will seek to solve the problems facing the school and the community.’

Praise: God for Peter’s servant heart, and for all that he has achieved and will achieve. (Isaiah 58:6)
More: www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/israel/2019/march/kenyan-teacher-who-gives-his-salary-to-poor-students-wins-1m-what-he-plans-to-do-next-is-beautiful

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Intercessor Focus: Brexit extension

Waves of prayer continue to rise for the governance of God’s Kingdom to be in Brexit debates and decisions. On 10 April the EU summit in Brussels pressed a restart button for a possible further six months of discussions. Pray for an effective Christian presence and influence in all UK deliberations; may gracious politicians be quick to listen and slow to anger. Pray for our leaders who know Christ to give wise explanations for their reasoning, so that God’s values are listened to, understood and adhered to by others. May the Christian groups in each of the political parties grow in influence, making many positive contributions in all future negotiations and decision-making. Pray for your constituency MP to cope with public office stress. May Christian MPs, peers, and staff be salt and light in the corridors of power, so that integrity, truth and compassion are interlaced through British politics.

Pray: for every decision made to be grounded in heaven’s wisdom. (Exodus 32:34a)
More: https://www.prayer-alert.net/component/k2/itemlist/tag/Brexit

Passion plays

A thousand years ago, the Church realised how powerful drama could be in communicating gospel truths, and started a tradition of mystery plays, portraying the whole Bible story. Passion plays – focussing on Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection – evolved from these, often using many local community members and seeking to entertain and instruct audiences. This year there will be at least twelve such plays up and down the UK. There is a one-man version, in and around Southampton; at the other end of the scale are the Birmingham Passion Play, with a community cast of nearly 100, starting at the Bullring shopping centre, and the Good Friday performances in Trafalgar Square which might draw 20,000 spectators. Pray for all those taking part in these plays, and for those who are out and about – shopping, on a lunch break, tourists, business people – who might unexpectedly find themselves watching ‘the greatest story ever told’. For more information, see

Pray: for all who witness passion plays, whether intentionally or not, to be impacted powerfully by what they see and hear. Pray also for good weather for the ones taking place outdoors. (Hebrews 4:12a)
More: www.passion-plays.co.uk/uk-passion-plays-list/

‘Standing Together’ against knife crime

Responding to recent publicity about knife crime and its devastating consequences, British churches, Christian charities, and voluntary organisations worked jointly to host Standing Together, a public rally against knife crime and youth violence, in Trafalgar Square on 6 April. It was initiated by the Ascension Trust (creators of Street Pastors in 2003). The general secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland said that we, the Church, must recognise that knife crimes and violence have been ruining lives for decades. ‘Standing Together’ is encouraging churches from all Christian traditions and denominations in Britain and Ireland to ‘begin their engagement, or redouble their efforts, to combat serious youth violence’. Churches have much to offer in terms of prayer, expertise, volunteers, and resources such as buildings and equipment. May this event launch even more faith in action on our streets.

Pray: for Christians to be involved in victim care, counselling disaffected youth. (Proverbs 29:18)
More: www.keepthefaith.co.uk/2019/03/11/make-a-stand-against-youth-violence-at-trafalgar-square-on-6-april-2019/

Concerns about London boarding school

Barnet Council has applied to the High Court for an injunction to shut down Heathside Preparatory School, which charges between £9,000 and £18,000 a year and intends expanding to a new Hampstead site. The school is currently scattered across six buildings, including a church and a synagogue, and its attempt to take over a seventh premises has prompted furious backlash from locals. Parents and ex-staff are pursuing legal claims over a string of management failures, including 15 pupils having to leave because Heathside was offering GCSEs without DofE permission. There are allegations that a staff member took Year 9 students off school premises and returned drunk, and in 2018 the head-teacher tried to block the publication of a damning Ofsted report flagging multiple safeguarding issues. Since the start of this academic year, pupils and teachers have been leaving ‘in droves’.

Pray: for irregularities to be removed, and for all that is good to flourish. (Matthew 7:17)
More: www.hamhigh.co.uk/fallout-over-heathside-preparatory-school-hampstead-1-5976621

Afghan interpreters need British visas

In June 2018 the defence secretary announced that 200 British visas would be made available to Afghan interpreters and their families. He praised their ‘unflinching courage’ in serving alongside British forces in situations ‘fraught with great difficulty and danger’. But fifty translators are yet to receive their visas; so far only one has been told they can come to the UK under the new rules. The MoD said it is working hard to identify who is eligible for relocation, while a select committee acknowledged, ‘There is a broad consensus that the UK owes them a great debt of gratitude’. Meanwhile the interpreters are being stalked and threatened by IS and Taliban terrorists. At least six of them, including one still working with UK forces in Kabul, have been directly targeted by name through social media sites. Branded ‘spies’ and ‘infidels’, they were told to save themselves and their families by joining IS, or face being hunted down. See

Pray: for the Afghan families’ safety, and for the MoD to honour visa promises swiftly. (Proverbs 3:23)
More: www.forces.net/news/afghanistan/50-afghan-interpreters-still-waiting-british-visas-ten-months-after

Archbishop and social housing

The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed the hope that his commission on housing, Church and community would be imaginative, thoughtful, and radical when he spoke at its launch this week. ‘This isn’t a time for safe, nice words: it’s a time for a radical look at what enables people to live in communities, to build relationships’, he said. The commission, which will meet for approximately 18 months, will examine how the Church can develop its own housing policy as well as influence the national debate.

Pray: for Church and housing associations to build and encourage more affordable housing. (Proverbs 14:31)
More: www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/12-april/news/uk/archbishop-s-commission-on-housing-will-seek-to-be-radical-but-receivable?

Praise Reports

Trump calls EU brutal

The US president called Brussels ‘a brutal trading partner’ and criticised the EU’s tough treatment of Britain after it gave the UK a further extension at the special Brexit summit. He finished his critique on a philosophical note, ‘Sometimes in life you have to let people breathe before it all comes back to bite you!’ Brexit talks remain locked, and Brussels has put more pressure on the UK to shift its position. Before the deadlock, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC that allowing a delay weakens the UK’s hand in the talks. Meanwhile many economists believe that as the EU has suffered monetary stagnation and enormous waves of migration, Brussels does not want to lose the UK, its second largest economy and financial centre.

Pray: for Brussels to put impartial negotiations on its agendas, not mammon. (1 Timothy 6:10)
More: www.politico.eu/article/donald-trump-slams-brutal-eu-brexit-approach/

Romania: Christianity v witchcraft

Parts of Romania are hotbeds of the occult and witchcraft, as well as home to large groups of unreached Roma gypsies and Romanians. Witchcraft is a respected (and feared) profession: even the president is known to wear purple on certain days to ward off evil. The witches are known as the vrăjitoare, and their practice is government-regulated. In 2011, a new law required them to pay a 16% income tax, the same as any other self-employed Romanian citizen. The response was twofold. Some supported the tax, arguing that it established witchcraft as a verifiable profession, while others threw poisonous mandrake plants into the Danube River. Meanwhile missionaries are being sent to Romania. Greater Europe Mission (GEM) reported recently that its disciple-makers invited 130 youth from areas rife with witchcraft to a week-long camp, and between 60 and 70 people gave their lives to Christ. See

Pray: for all Christians who are modelling New Testament discipleship in dark places. (Job 5:21)
More: www.gemission.org/pray-articles/a-new-thing-in-europe

Praise Reports

Malaysia: abductions organised by state

Malaysia’s human rights commission claims that both Pastor Raymond Koh (in 2017) and Amri Che Mat, a Muslim social activist (in 2016), were victims of state-sponsored enforced disappearances, carried out by a police unit. Church leaders are calling on the government to clarify and separate the jurisdictions of the religious authorities and the police, and for an immediate independent, impartial investigation into both cases, ‘free of conflict of interest’. Eyewitness accounts in both cases reported that the men were kidnapped as they travelled in cars which were boxed in by three other vehicles. A car owned by a Special Branch officer, who has now gone missing, was at the scene of both attacks. The two men are amongst many people who have ‘disappeared’ in recent years. The government’s 2018 general election manifesto promised to uphold the rule of law, stating that ‘all citizens will be treated equally before the law’.

Pray: for the prime minister to deliver on his manifesto promise and bring closure to this matter. Pray also for the families affected to have peace and see justice done. (Psalm 136:23,24)
More: www.anglicannews.org/news/2019/04/pastor-raymond-koh-was-abducted-by-state-agents-malaysian-human-rights-inquiry-finds.aspx

US / Mexico: Christians call for border reforms

An international Christian delegation went to the Mexico-US border and witnessed first-hand the situation being faced by those seeking asylum and refuge. They are now calling for the dismantling of walls, borders and facilities that contribute to dehumanisation, exclusion, isolation and victimisation of people. They want nations to enact laws that account for human dignity, human rights, righteousness and compassion. The delegates will take their message to Washington, where they will join other Christians at an ecumenical advocacy event. Meanwhile a group of Mexican churches, together with the Theological Community of Mexico, are providing pastoral and psychological support to the people who make a stop in Mexico City. Churches in the USA are providing legal counsel to those seeking sanctuary and asylum, and offering their houses of worship as sanctuaries. Pray for radical reforms that address the causes of migration and the way in which migrants are treated on their journey.

Pray: for God to bring justice and support to the large-scale movement of people escaping critical, life-threatening situations. (Luke 4:18)
More: wcrc.ch/news/wcrc-delegation-calls-for-border-reforms

Israel: new government facing challenges

On 10 April Benjamin Netanyahu emerged as the winner in Israel’s election, supported by right-wing and religious parties. However, one right-wing party, led by former education minister Naftali Bennett, seems not to have passed the electoral threshold; it demanded a recount, claiming ‘someone is cheating the right-wing out of votes’. The vote was split: Netanyahu’s Likud and the Blue and White party, led by Benny Gantz, received 35 seats each. The prime minister, however, secured his path to re-election by having a clear right-wing majority bloc in the Knesset. Many believe the political storm created by soft-spoken Mr Gantz has not blown over. Netanyahu recently said he would declare Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank if he won the election. This would be fiercely opposed by the three million Palestinians living there, and by much of the Arab world. See

Pray: for a government that walks paths of peace and diplomacy with Arab nations. (Isaiah 30:21)
More: www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5492856,00.html

Mali: 130 villagers murdered

Dogon gunmen recently surrounded a community of Fulani herders in Mali and murdered over 130 men, women, and children with guns and machetes. The village was left in smouldering ruins. Ethnic and jihadist violence has spun out of control. In fact, UN ambassadors were in Mali to discuss the crisis when the massacre took place. Since a 2015 peace agreement, ethnic groups have continued to resort to violence to settle their differences. Islamic militants take advantage of the chaos, securing safe havens and new recruits. Hundreds of lives have been lost as the violence has escalated. Dogon hunters and semi-nomadic Fulani herders fight over access to land and water. The Dogon also accuse Fulanis of ties to jihadist groups. The Fulanis say Mali’s military arms the hunters to attack them. Less than 10% of citizens have heard of Jesus. However no nation is a lost cause. See

Pray: for comfort to the bereaved, receptivity to Christian evangelism, and authorities’ wisdom in handling issues of poverty that hinder growth and development. (2 Samuel 22:7,8)
More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-47680836

Christian rugby player faces sack

One of the best rugby players in the world is set to have his contract terminated after posting a picture on social media with a warning to those who sin. Israel Folau, who has starred for Australia over the past six years, has often spoken about his Christian faith, regularly sharing Bible verses and messages on Twitter and Instagram. Last year he received much criticism for telling a follower that God’s plan for gay people was hell unless they repent of their sins. His employer, Rugby Australia, had said his comments ‘did not reflect the views’ of the organisation, but added: ‘In his own words, Israel said that he did not intend to upset people intentionally or bring hurt to the game. We accept his position.’ His latest post lists a number of different sins, including homosexuality, and tells followers that ‘hell awaits’. Rugby Australia and his club NSW Warratahs have criticised his comments, and confirmed that they intend to sack him.

Pray: for God to help Israel plan his future without compromising his faith. (Psalm 61:2-5)
More: www.premier.org.uk/News/World/Christian-rugby-player-faces-sack-after-social-media-post-about-sin-and-hell

Algeria: door open for Al-Qaeda to grab power

With President Abdelaziz Bouteflika quitting, Al Qaeda terrorists could now fill the political vacuum. Bouteflika held office for 20 years, then the military told him to go following continuing street protests. In March, leading Al-Qaeda official Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Anabi urged Muslims to unite to ensure Algeria is ruled by sharia law. Al-Anabi, designated a ‘terrorist’ by the US state department, called on citizens to reject any regional or tribal identities and unite as ‘sons of Islam’ to create an Islamic emirate. The speaker of the upper house of parliament has become the country’s 90-day caretaker president until elections are held. But one protest leader said that the street demonstrations will continue because ‘we do not accept the caretaker government’. Young Algerians are demanding jobs in a country where one in every four under the age of 30 is unemployed, in an economy dependent on oil and gas exports.

Pray: for an orderly shift of power from cronyism to God’s appointed people. (Isaiah 3:10,11)
More: barnabasfund.org/en/news/bouteflika-leaves-door-open-for-al-qaeda-to-grab-power-in-algeria

Sudan’s president steps down

‘The regime has fallen, we won!’ was the cry outside the defence ministry as the three-decade reign of President al-Bashir came to an end on 11 April. President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down, and consultations are under way to set up a transitional military council to run Sudan. Bashir is under heavy guard at the presidential residence. Tens of thousands of Sudanese took to the streets in the centre of Khartoum in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans. Since 19 December 2018, Sudan has experienced persistent violent demonstrations sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages.

Pray: for the release of all political detainees, journalists, and jailed protesters. (Psalm 103:6)
More: www.timeslive.co.za/news/world/2019-04-11-sudans-president-al-bashir-steps-down-government-sources-say/

Libya: continuing crisis

Libya has been beset by chaos since Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011. During the uprising, anyone with a gun commanded respect. An estimated 1,700 armed groups emerged. Only these armed militias really wield power: it is felt that they often hold to ransom the politicians they supposedly back. Also, many are concerned that IS now has a presence there. On 4 April warlord Khalifa Haftar began an attack on Tripoli to wrest it from the UN-backed prime minister. So far at least 56 people have been killed and 266 wounded, according to the WHO. It said it had sent emergency teams to assist frontline hospitals; thousands of people had fled their homes. UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has called for a ceasefire to avoid what he described as a dramatic, bloody battle. Europe is split over how to respond: see

Pray: for further bloodshed to be avoided, and for civilians to be evacuated safely. (Psalm 46:9)
More: uk.news.yahoo.com/libya-least-56-dead-since-134240229.html

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