Praise Reports


British Isles


Praise Reports

Giggle Doctors and healthcare

Theodora Giggle Doctors are professional performers, highly trained to work in hospitals and hospice environments with children with disabilities. They are actors, entertainers, magicians, musicians and singers. Play in hospital gives children the chance to forget about what they are going through and makes situations that could be scary and worrying more fun, creating happy memories. Play stops children getting bored and takes their mind away from what is going on around them. The Giggle Doctors always bring joy and laughter not only to the children but also to parents and hospital staff. During their visits they are able to make children relax and feel happy, taking their mind away from the hospital environment they are in and creating smiles which parents treasure.

Praise: God for Giggle Doctors making hospital a more positive experience for children. (Psalm 34:2)

Zen meditation group to meet no longer at York Minster

A Zen group will no longer be holding their hour-and-a-half silent meditation sessions at the Old Palace in the Cathedral grounds, due to complaints that it is incompatible with Christianity. The Wild Goose Sangha group sessions were run by Canon Chris Collingwood, an Anglican priest who is also a Zen teacher, and referred to as the Sensei within the meditation sessions. Zen meditation roots are in Buddhism and Canon Collingwood describes himself as ‘religiously bilingual’ and said Zen poses fewer problems than other non-Christian customs because it doesn’t claim to be a system of doctrine or belief. Concerns were raised three years ago about the compatibility of Zen with Christianity and finally cancelled after the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Frost, the dean of York Minster, ended the Minster’s association with the group.

Praise: God that the Christian faith and worship is free to grow in York Minster without interruption. (John 14:6)

Praise Reports

Intercessor Focus: New Leadership part two

The holiday season is not a time for God’s people to take time off from watching and praying for Holy Spirit anointing to inspire our next Prime Minister. Now is the time for strong, faith-filled prayers, declaring Kingdom plans and purposes for a United Kingdom led by a united government. Pray for God’s will to be done through the men and women He has equipped to lead in a new political season, free from party-political antagonism. Pray for our leaders to carry God’s wisdom into every corner of the Palace of Westminster. May this nation have the people handpicked and hand-prepared by God to step into the next season of parliament. There will be shifts and changes as our new Prime Minister selects his cabinet, may they have God’s anointing for their new responsibilities, and may they fulfil every God given task for blessings at home and abroad. See also article 1 in World Section.

Pray: for God to release and position a leader with His anointing. (2 Kings 22:2a)

We cry over what children say

Over the past three years there has been a 50% increase of pupils aged 11 and under with mental health issues being referred to child health services. Some stay on waiting lists for years before being offered help. Three head teachers told the BBC of the lack of support for disturbed children in their schools where 4 and 5 year-olds self-harm (head-butt, punch walls, pull out chunks of their hair). Nationally, primary school head teachers are reporting a year on year increase of more and more seven and eight-year-old children with a variety of problems and they are finding it harder to manage the acute crisis. Four pupils have attempted to kill themselves on primary school grounds. Please pray for the teachers who are trained to teach, not engage in welfare work or embark on mental health counselling. Pray for the NHS to hear this cry from Educators and act now before the current support system breaks down. See also article in World section – Global Mental Health of the young and BBC report .

Pray: for God to cause funding to be given to parenting programmes and support services for teachers. (Romans 12:6-8)

Church wants to turn nightclub into church

A planning application has been submitted to turn empty buildings, standing between a theatre and a museum, into a church. The collection of buildings was previously a nightclub and will be known to a generation of Bradford revellers for nightspots including Revolution, Tequila and Vibe. The Bishop of Bradford says the new place of worship will be known as Fountains Church due to its location overlooking the City Park fountains, and it will be a ‘focus point for faith in Bradford.’ The application also includes a kiosk in the square that was used as a cafe. The kiosk will be used as a short term base for the new church while the initial works in the larger building are completed. The church will take up 2,930 square metres and create a new presence in the city centre for its large resident student and business population.’ The aspiration is to establish a substantial congregation which can meet and worship there. A decision on the application is expected in late August.

Pray: for the tender to progress through development meetings without delays. (1Kings 8:23)

Parliament bullying inquiry

MPs debated the Gemma White report of bullying incidents in the Commons on 17 July. Coincidentally, a day after another inquiry found that staff were ‘bullied and harassed’ by ‘known offenders’ in the House of Lords. The commons decided to allow the parliamentary complaints scheme to investigate historical allegations of bullying and harassment incidents, which date from before June 2017. It comes after a report said that there was a ‘significant problem’ of MPs bullying and harassing staff, including some making unwanted sexual advances. Fewer than 30 MPs were in attendance at the debate, where the Commons Leader said MPs must ‘bring forward much needed change at the earliest possible opportunity’. Pray for the lewd, aggressive and intimidating behaviour by certain MPs and senior staff that has been tolerated and concealed for years to be finally revealed and offenders to be publicly condemned.

Pray: for Parliament to see real change and reforms over the coming months. (James 3:5b,& 9)

Operation Limelight

Radio 4 reported that police and border control are once again going to run Operation Limelight at major airports to prevent children being taken abroad for female genital mutilation (FGM) or arranged marriages. Officers will be speaking to airline and airport personnel to raise awareness, and advise what signs to look for on outbound flights to countries where FGM and child marriage are prevalent. In school holidays families take girls abroad. The girls believe they are going on a family holiday and are unaware of what is about to happen to them. Research shows that 90% of police, health and social care professionals have not received training around these issues and did not feel confident in managing the safeguarding aspect of FGM or how to address cultural sensitivity and barriers.

Pray: for airports, local authorities, teachers and charities to safeguard potential victims. (Col. 4:5)

Britain – Land of secularists and atheists

There continues to be a decline in people identifying as Christian and a substantial increase in those with no religious affiliation or belonging to non-Christian faiths. The percentage identifying as Church of England or Anglican fell from 40% in 1983 to 12% last year. Catholicism fared better in the equivalent timeline falling from 10% to 7%. However among non-denominational Christians it increased from 3% to 13%. The 36th British Social Attitudes report comes after decades of conflict between domestic religious organisations and fast-changing social values. The decline is ‘generational’. Two non-religious parents successfully transmit their lack of religion to the next generation. Two religious parents have a 50% chance of passing on their faith. One religious parent does only half as well as two together.

Pray: for the church to move with Holy Spirit demonstrations of preaching and power. (Romans 15:19)

Bishops’ intervention in growing Irish gambling problems

Gambling rules in Northern Ireland could be brought into line with tighter standards in the rest of the UK following an intervention by the Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, and the Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman. Pray that their amendment will be accepted by the Government. The amendment adds gambling legislation to a number of areas on which the Government would be required to produce a report by September as part of moves to restore the devolved executive in Northern Ireland. Bishop Hardman told peers that the current inconsistency meant that reforms introduced in mainland Britain – such as the cap on the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – do not apply in Northern Ireland. ‘The anomalies and confusions abound,’ she said. ‘Gambling operates inconsistently within the UK, and this affects lives.’ Bishop Alan said, ‘Currently people from Northern Ireland are three times more likely to have a gambling-related problem than in the rest of the country’.

Pray: for the Province to have grey areas removed from their gambling laws. (1 Timothy 6:9)

Praise Reports

European Commission President

Europe’s new president of the European Commission is German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen. She will lead the executive body that shapes policy for the world’s largest economic bloc. Many believe Leyen’s appointment confirms their view that the EU is undemocratic and doesn’t respect ordinary citizens because she wasn’t selected by the voters in the recent EU elections or by the lawmakers who won those seats. She was hand-picked by the 28 EU member states, who side-stepped better-known candidates chosen by various political factions. Anti-EU politicians like France’s Marine Le Pen will spend the next five years declaring that von der Leyen’s presidency reflects everything that is wrong with Brussels. Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and others gave her narrow margin of approval so that her mandate is weak as she confronts fraught relations with the US and China, showdowns over Italy’s budget, erosion of Hungary and Poland’s rule of law and the UK’s exit.

Pray: for von der Leyen to silence derogatory suspicions with wise decisions. (Psalm 34:14b,15)

Sweden: Skin microchips replace cash

Over 4,000 Swedish people have futuristic microchips implanted into their skin to replace credit cards and cash, as Sweden moves toward a cashless society. Only 1% of their economy is notes and coins. At the same time there’s been a dramatic decrease in crime – with only two bank robberies last year compared to 110 in 2008. The chips are inserted into their hands and pioneers predict millions will soon join them as they hope to take it global. The chips, the size of a grain of rice, can monitor their health and even replace key-cards to allow them to enter offices and buildings. The microchips were pioneered by a former body piercer who has hopeful international investors. He said the technology is safe but many fear cybercrime, integration with other systems and illegal data sharing. Users say they’re happy to give up privacy for convenience.

Pray: for futuristic cyber shield protection to prevent personal data being hacked. (Prov 11:3)

Praise Reports

Global: Use your authority

Jeremiah felt inadequate as God called him to a ministry of prophetic prayer for Israel and other nations. We often feel the same, as if our prayers will make little difference, but they can have the awesome power of the Almighty to change a nation’s history. The Lord told Jeremiah that He had put His words in the young prophet’s mouth; He was appointing him ‘over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant’ (Jer. 1:9-10). For those of us who follow Christ, the King of Kings, and are members of His eternal family, should we expect anything less when we pray for the nations? If anything, we ought to expect far more! According to the Apostle Paul, we have been raised in Christ to sit with Him in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). See also Intercessor Focus in UK section.

Pray: for the Church to declare God’s authority, power and dominion over the nations. (1: 22,23)

Dominican Republic: Sex Trafficking

Give thanks for Clayton and Ellen Kershaw, from the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Team, who partnered with the International Justice Mission (IJM), and visited the Dominican Republic to help bring a major reduction in the scale of sex trafficking of children. They met with local government officials, local partners and survivors. They then used their American platforms in sports and media to shine a light on this issue and released a clip on the internet about their visit. Please pray for many people to watch the video clip about sex trafficking and then go on to join the fight for justice.

Pray: for God’s continued wisdom for all working to release the enslaved and abused. (Isaiah 35:3)

Africa: Corruption

A survey asked over 47,000 citizens from 35 African countries about their experiences and perceptions of corruption. More than half of the survey respondents think corruption in their country is getting worse, and that their governments are not doing enough to tackle this scourge. Citizens have every reason to call for stronger anti-corruption measures: from education to health care to policing, rackets affect millions of people each-and-every day. More than a quarter of citizens paid bribes to access public services over the past year – that is equivalent to around 130 million people across the countries surveyed. Of all public institutions, police forces were identified as the most corrupt; but many other areas of government are also seen by citizens as corrupt. The good news is that the majority of people are optimistic that they can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

Pray: for African governments to step up and fulfil their anti-corruption promises. (2 Peter 2:19)

Congo: UN system-wide approach as Ebola spreads

The number of new Ebola cases is at worrying levels and now the virus has reached Goma City, the Central Africa transport hub, where 2 million people live. A Pastor, who had become ill in Butembo travelled to Goma on 14 July and died in its treatment centre. All passengers on the bus the Pastor had taken to Goma have been traced. Butembo is one of the towns hardest hit by Ebola. The pastor held regular services in seven churches there and laid his hands on worshippers, including sick people. Over 1,650 people have died and about 700 people have recovered from Ebola. Currently there are 2,489 cases. The movement of people around or through Ebola zones is a huge challenge for health services. Provinces affected by the virus are characterised by poor infrastructure, political instability and ongoing conflict involving scores of armed militia groups and community mistrust of national authorities and outsiders. The World Health Organisation has sounded a global Ebola alarm see.

Pray: for God to protect and empower teams working to end this devastating epidemic. (Isaiah 40:29)

Persian Gulf: Another oil tanker seized

Iran’s state TV said on 18 July that the Revolutionary Guard had seized a foreign oil tanker with 12 crew members accused of smuggling one million litres of fuel in the Lark Island of the Persian Gulf. The guards said the vessel impounded was the same one it towed on the previous Sunday after it sent a distress call. The TV didn’t identify the tanker or say which country the crew were from. There has been speculation earlier on the whereabouts of the Riah oil tanker, which sails under the Panama flag. At the time of writing it is not known whether the vessel towed by Iran was indeed the Riah. The US expressed suspicion that the Riah had been seized in Iranian territorial waters. US General Kenneth McKenzie said that they were talking to other countries about freedom of navigation in the Gulf and will work ‘aggressively’ to find a solution to enable free passage.

Pray: for God to bless the maritime partners’ reaction with wise peaceful words. (Matthew 5:9)

Syria: Bombs outside church

IS claimed responsibility for detonating a car bomb in front of a church in the city of Qamishli, which is held by the Kurdish YPG militia, injuring at least eight people. Earlier that day a bomb killed 11 civilians, including children, in the city of Afrin, on the border with Turkey. Many others were wounded, some seriously, in the explosion at the entrance to the city. One report said the bomb was planted in a diesel fuel tanker left in a residential area of Afrin and that many homes were damaged in the explosion and subsequent fire. Afrin, was held by the Kurdish YPG until 2018 when it was seized by Turkish-backed militia.

Pray: for God to comfort those who have lost loved ones and those who were injured. (Psalm 23:4)

Global Mental Health of the young

Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, are often said to be a ‘gaping hole in the global church’s holistic response to human need’. Please pray into these World Health Organisation facts: – one in five of the world’s children and adolescents have mental disorders or problems. -Nearly 800,000 lives are lost through suicide every year. -Wars and disasters increase mental health problems dramatically. -Poor mental health leads to poor physical health. Many people worldwide deny themselves mental health treatment and cure because of shame and embarrassment. -Mentally ill people in many countries are locked up, restrained or have their human rights violated in other ways. Pray that Christians will break the cultural taboos and stigmas associated with mental health issues, and address them in a holistic and loving manner. Pray that care for the mentally ill and traumatised will become a hallmark of the Christian Church. See also article 2 in UK Section, ‘We Cry over What Children Say’.

Pray: for the Lord to inspire agencies to learn more about how to help the desperate. (Psalm 34:18)

Praise Reports
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