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Praise Reports

Pakistan / Afghanistan: the Bible in Pashto

For the first time since 1890 the full Pakistani Pashto Bible will be printed. The translation is in the major Yousafzai dialect of Pashto. Up to now missionaries and evangelists and the underground Pakhtun speaking Church only had a version of the New Testament in a mix of Pakistani and Afghan Pashto. This version, aimed at Pakhtuns living outside Pakistan, will be printed in Europe. It is hoped that the Bibles will be ready to transport to mission agencies in spring 2020. For security reasons, the name of the translating organisation is not available.

Praise: God for the distribution of this version of His Word, and pray for protection for all who will be using it in closed countries. (Matthew 9: 35)

‘We celebrated Down’s syndrome diagnosis’

When Rachael Prescott was expecting twins she was advised six times to abort them after they were diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. She was inundated with condolences and health scaremongering because they also had heart conditions. Doctors were more concerned that the children might have Down’s syndrome than with their cardiac situation. They were pressurised for genetic testing and abortion. The Prescotts refused the tests and Charlotte and Annette had Down’s syndrome, but only Charlotte had a heart defect. Rachael said, ‘We hope in the future to direct expectant parents away from false preconceptions and towards what we have found to fill us with so much joy. We celebrate our twins.’ See also world article on abortion deaths.

Praise: God for the many families who, like the Prescotts, can celebrate the uniqueness of their beautiful children. (Psalm 121:7)

From Maasai herdsboy to archbishop

He was an uneducated Maasai boy, expected to herd cows all his life. But when he was nine the boys in his village were told to attend school and he learnt about Jesus. His curiosity about faith grew. Next, he was sponsored through children’s charity World Vision; an overseas family supported him with simple and life-changing gifts. During a severe drought, World Vision fed the entire family. When the rains finally came, they helped them to grow their own food. Then his life truly shifted, and God took him on a journey he never could have imagined. To read his inspiring faith-filled story, click the ‘More’ button.

Praise: God for child-sponsoring agencies like World Vision, who provide physical and spiritual opportunities to grow. (Psalm 22:26)

Praise Reports

Only ‘supernatural intervention’ can rehabilitate terrorists

Islamic scholar and Christian Dr Antony McRoy said that there is something wrong in the basic philosophy of de-radicalisation programmes for terrorists; the London Bridge killings by Usman Khan are evidence of that. McRoy says that we are treating them as criminal offenders like serial car thieves or bank robbers, but we need to think a bit more like serial murderers or serial sex offenders who obviously have got something psychologically wrong with them. ‘But it’s even more complex than that. These people are motivated by an ideology which says that the infidel, anti-Islamic West, is basically an agent of Satan, oppressing the Muslim world.’ He argues that the governments putting these programmes together represent a regime that its participants cannot get behind. ‘The people it is supposed to address are not going to take it seriously. These schemes cannot be effective without the supernatural intervention of God’ – like the transformation of the apostle Paul.

Pray: for an increase of Christian witness to Muslim communities, demonstrating and talking about the gospel truths. (Psalm 106:8)

UK a potential mediator for Iran tensions?

Boris Johnson said that the UK is in close contact with all sides to encourage de-escalation after Iran launched ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq in retaliation for their assassination of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. This is a pivotal moment. Iran was bound to respond to the strike on Soleimani, and has done so in a fluid situation. Admiral Lord West said that the violent instability plaguing the region has just worsened; the world’s best hope of averting conflict escalations with Iran lies with Britain. He said, ‘Our diplomacy and wise counsel could haul the world back towards safety.’ The Archbishop of Wales urged the Government to ‘make the strongest representations for calm and wisdom to prevail in the cause of peace which the world, in so many places, so desperately needs.’ See also the world articles on Iran.

Pray: for God to speak through the UK’s politicians and intermediaries to cool increasingly hot, hostile geopolitical situations. (Psalm 15:2)

Vulnerable patients on NHS wards

Hospitals are putting vulnerable female patients with men on NHS mental health wards. 1,019 sexual assaults were reported by male and female patients between April 2017 and October 2019. 491 attacks were so serious that they required safeguarding action, with 104 incidents reported to police. Over the same period, just 286 cases reported on single- sex wards. The figures sparked calls for the Government to invest in mental health infrastructure where wards are out of date, forcing men and women to mix together. In 2018, the Care Quality Commission investigated concerns around sexual safety in mental health wards and identified 1,120 sexual incidents involving patients, staff and visitors between April and June 2017. Although ministers pledged to eliminate mixed NHS wards, a loophole in the rules means male and female patients can still mix without breaching the guidelines.

Pray: for the new government to bring the NHS mental health estates into the 21st century. (Psalm 10:14)

Mayoral candidate talks about Christian persecution

Shaun Bailey, Conservative London mayoral candidate, says the way Christians are treated in the UK is tantamount to persecution. A Londoner, he has often spoken about his Christian faith during his political career. As he prepares to stand against Sadiq Khan, he is concerned his faith may be used against him in the campaign. He said, ‘We’re persecuted for our views. People say things to us that they wouldn’t say to people of no faith or any other faith. I think that because we are seen as a sort of establishment faith, people are allowed to say things. Internationally, people might feel differently about it, but that’s how I feel. I know lots of people of faith feel that way because of what is said about them and what they cannot say. You’ll see it in my election campaign, I imagine.’ See also the world article ‘Life getting harder for Christians’.

Pray: for the next mayor to bring positive changes in London, and for God to protect all the candidates for the position. (Psalm 18:35)

Transforming Lives for Good

TLG is a Christian charity that helps churches to bring hope and a future for struggling children. From school exclusion, to poverty and holiday hunger, there are children across the UK facing some of the toughest starts in life. TLG believes change is possible through early intervention: one coach per child, one hour a week, for children struggling in school because of bullying, bereavement, family breakdown, poverty, or being in the care system. These all have a huge impact on a child’s education. Some children may be struggling with a lack of confidence, have no positive role models, or just need an adult to talk to. TLG Early Intervention gives the church a practical solution to support children, families and schools in their community. The programme enables trained volunteers to become coaches and work on a one-to-one basis with a child, improving their behaviour and in turn raising their levels of learning.

Pray: for God to help TLG set up more intervention programmes with churches in 2020. (Psalm 72:4a)

Northern Ireland: discussions to restore devolution

Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government for three years. Proposed legislation for an Irish language act and reforming the assembly’s controversial veto system are among the key sticking points in ongoing talks. The DUP has been accused of holding up a deal. Sinn Féin’s Declan Kearney said on 9 January that the situation is at the point where closure must be found. After three days of talks, the text of a draft deal has been shown to the DUP and Sinn Féin, but not yet to the smaller parties, who feel they are being left out again. Some think that the two main parties have done enough negotiating, and a final call needs to be made. Since Stormont collapsed, civil servants have run day-to-day operations. In July the Government extended a law that gives civil servants flexibility to take certain decisions, but that runs out on 13 January.

Pray: for Westminster to pass legislation that all can agree to. (Psalm 133:1)

FA urged to reconsider deal with betting firm

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan has said that she hopes the Football Association will ‘reconsider’ after it allowed a betting company to broadcast FA Cup matches, more than two years after it had said it would end such partnerships. Bet365, which allows fans to watch play if they place a bet via their app, has been showing matches since the start of last season. The partnership drew criticism from viewers and campaigners last weekend, when all matches were delayed by a minute to promote the Duke of Cambridge’s mental health charity.

Pray: for the FA to recognise that its move could lead to more problem gambling, and reconsider. (Proverbs 1:5)

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Europe: countries redeploy troops

Despite a call by the Iraqi parliament for the withdrawal of its forces, the USA stated it has no plans to do so, even though a draft letter signalling a pull-out was sent to Iraq’s prime minister. Germany has transferred troops to Jordan and Kuwait for security reasons. About fifty British personnel who had been training Iraqi security forces were relocated – either from Baghdad to nearby Taji, or out of Iraq altogether – after they spent a day in a bunker to shield themselves from mortar shells. Twenty military planners have flown in to prepare for different scenarios, ranging from a deepening of the conflict with Iran to a full departure from Iraq. Croatia’s 14 soldiers in Iraq have been moved to Kuwait, and Italian troops moved out of the US base in Baghdad.

Pray: for God to direct those making decisions around redeployment of coalition troops. (Psalm 119:98)

Ukraine jet crashes, killing 176

On 8 December, a Ukrainian jet bound for Kiev crashed soon after taking off from Tehran. The majority of passengers were from Iran and Canada. Ukraine initially blamed engine failure, but later retracted the statement. President Zelensky warned against ‘speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe’ until official reports were ready. As a sign of the potential difficulties facing crash investigators, the head of Iran’s civil aviation organisation was quoted as saying that the plane’s black box would not be handed over either to Boeing or the Americans. An Iranian official blamed an engine fire, adding, ‘Had the accident happened due to a missile strike, the plane would have exploded in the air’.

Pray: for airspace over conflict zones to be safe, and for God to comfort the families of the 176 dead. (Job 11:18)

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Iraq: Iran / US hostility

Many believe the US killing of Qasem Soleimani (plus four senior commanders and an Iraqi militia leader) risks causing Iraq instability. The USA believed the men were organising radical tactics against it, describing the action as ‘a preemptive defensive strike to prevent attacks yet to come’. In retaliation Iran fired missiles towards two air bases housing US troops and coalition forces. It is believed the strikes deliberately missed areas populated by Americans and multiple administration officials. Also, advance warning was given so that troops could take ‘necessary precautions.’ Iraq’s prime minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s government is already shaken by protest movements and relentless Iranian pressure and interference, plus the threat of a resurgent IS. Its future hinges on what happens next between the United States and Iran. Pray for an end to ballistic missile development. See also

Pray: for a new nuclear programme agreement that replaces instability with peaceful intervention. (Psalm 34:14)

Iran: proxy forces proliferate

Qasem Soleimani was named head of Iran’s elite paramilitary Quds Force in the late 1990s. He then became widely known for expanding his country’s regional influence by bolstering Shiite proxy forces around the region to counter US, Saudi, and Israeli influence. There are now fourteen militias and proxies broadly aligned with Iran, operating in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Let us pray for peace to reign in these countries as the atmosphere of antagonism swirls round the region after Suleimani’s assassination. He was the architect of Iran’s foreign policy and one of the most powerful figures across these regions. May God prevent proxy terror attacks by Syria and the Yemenis’ Houthis or IS in the current power struggle. See

Pray: for military and political groups and proxies to be prevented from attacking Israel, or US military targets in the region. (Psalm 120:1,2)

Worldwide: life getting harder for Christians

Open Doors CEO Henrietta Blyth has written, ‘Around the world, life is getting harder, not easier, for Christians. In India we see rising levels of violence against believers – especially pastors’ wives and daughters. The Chinese government has been clamping down hard too. In North Korea there is still a total lack of freedom for Christians, and yet the world and the church remain largely ignorant of the scale and severity of persecution. Galatians 5:1 says that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. The God we worship gives us the freedom to choose and we should defend this freedom vigorously, wherever and whenever we can. The World Watch List is vital because it shows where those freedoms are being denied and the ferocity of the battle we are in. For millions of men and women, each year, the choice to follow Him is a matter of life and death.’

Pray: for God’s strength and protection for Christians, so that they may continue to withstand any amount of opposition. (Ephesians 6:11)

Puerto Rico: earthquake affects millions

On 7 December Puerto Rico was hit by the worst earthquake to hit the island in 102 years. By 9 December two-thirds of the island was still without power. The earthquake knocked out the main generating facility and damaged other infrastructure. Six months after Hurricane Maria in 2017, many Puerto Ricans still had no electricity: even now, a quarter of the island has no running water. The 6.4 magnitude quake and 6.0 aftershock destroyed 300 homes. A 73-year-old man is the only confirmed death to date. Thousands are still sleeping outside or in their cars, fearful of being indoors during another quake. Governor Wanda Vazquez declared a state of emergency, activating the island’s National Guard to help with recovery efforts. Pray for the hospitals, the vulnerable, the elderly, families and businesses among the three million people without power. Pray for the islanders, still recovering from Hurricane Maria (which killed nearly 3,000), and now coping with destruction and further disruption of their lives.

Pray: for the US emergency agency to release all that is needed to repair the infrastructure. (Isaiah 30:19b)

Uganda: land theft

When a woman’s husband dies, her neighbours and family often believe that she no longer has a right to the land. Albertina and her family fled to a refugee camp in Uganda’s brutal civil war. Her husband died there. All Albertina had left was her family and her piece of land. When she returned home, neighbours had stolen her plot and refused to move. For the poor Ugandans, a plot of land is where they farm and keep their family alive. Albertina’s neighbours violently threatened her, so she camped on the edges of her rightful property for the next eight years. Finally another widow told Albertina about International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM pursued her case, provided food for Albertina’s grandchildren, and guarded their hut. The fight for her land continues.

Pray: for successful prosecution in this case, and for other cases where IJM are supporting vulnerable people. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Australia: devastation not over

Thunderstorms are bringing some relief for firefighters battling deadly wildfires across Australia’s drought-parched east coast; also, authorities have worked to trace the source of the fires, arresting two dozen Australians for potential arson. Meanwhile, as the flames consume tens of thousands of acres, Christians are issuing a call to prayer. While the rain has brought welcome relief to Australian communities and the fire crews, the unprecedented devastation continues. Fires have consumed more than 32,000 square miles – eighty times more than the wildfires that swept through California in 2018. ‘While we were fighting the front of the fire to the south, it came in from the east,’ said Balmoral resident Justin Kam. ‘While we were fighting to the east, it came in from the west. You don’t really have too much of a chance when that happens.’ Pray for thunderstorms to continue and winds to blow flames away from communities.

Pray: for provision for the families of 2,000 destroyed homes, and for owners and employees of lost businesses. (Isaiah 41:10)

Worldwide: abortion largest cause of death

Over 42 million abortions took place globally in 2019, according to the tracking service Worldometers. Once again abortion was the single largest cause of death across the planet, causing significantly more than half the total of all deaths worldwide. More than 190,000 worldwide abortions were recorded in the first two days of 2020. The true totals may be either lower or higher, however, as they rely on health and mortality statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which in turn uses estimates from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Worldometers found similar numbers last year, leading left-wing outlets such as Snopes to attempt to minimise the news, not by disputing the numbers but by arguing that abortion should not be considered a ‘cause of death.’ Scientifically speaking, however, it is a settled biological fact that the embryos and foetuses destroyed by abortion are living human beings.

Pray: for pro-life journalists and those working in the media to clarify their beliefs. (Psalm 139:13- 16)

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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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