Praise Reports


British Isles


Praise Reports

Ten years and counting – the Real Easter Egg

David Marshall, of the Meaningful Chocolate Company, launched the Real Easter Egg ten years ago after discovering that not a single Easter egg mentioned the Christian faith. This startling revelation was the springboard for this egg, which, a decade on, still cuts a lonely figure in the sea of chocolate eggs on supermarket shelves that make no reference whatsoever to the Christian origins of the festival. But the fact that it is still on the shelves isn’t something David takes for granted: after all, when the egg was first launched, supermarkets were reluctant to stock it. There is little reference to Jesus or the religious aspect of Easter elsewhere, but David’s company continues to provide faith-based Easter eggs that come with a children’s book telling the story of Easter.

Praise: God for the Easter egg that tells the Easter story and supports charitable causes while reminding people why we celebrate. (Psalm 40:3)

Coronavirus kindness

The Constantine Bay Store, near Padstow, wants older people to be able to shop ‘exclusively and with confidence’. Each day between 8 and 8.30 am, the shop will open its doors only to those born before 1950. The owner said he hoped it would ‘give them a little bit of peace of mind’ in the fight against coronavirus. Nationwide, Sainsburys are introducing a similar incentive. C3 Church in Cambridge gave out 3,000 ‘Love Your Neighbour’ flyers to its congregation to post through their neighbours’ doors, offering to collect groceries, speak on the phone, or collect a prescription for those who are in self-isolation. Church members fill in their contact details on the flyer so that people can request help. See Neighbourhood Prayer Network have produced ‘Help Cards For Your Street’, which can be downloaded free here

Praise: God for the community spirit of goodwill; may it spread faster than the virus. (Joshua 1:9)

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Walking in the opposite spirit

A Baptist blogger recently wrote that in an atmosphere of fear and vulnerability because of COVID-19, we have an unprecedented opportunity to display the goodness of God. But to do that we need to walk in the opposite spirit of what surrounds us. If our peace is a shallow layer over fear, it isn’t enough. On the other hand, if we wait on God and connect until His confidence fills us, then we can carry His presence with us. Fear blunts our thinking, making us inflexible and unfeeling toward others. In contrast, with a heart at rest, we can receive Him and all we need (James 1:5-7). When we connect with God, He pours His love into our hearts (Romans 5:5). Then, even if we are surrounded by an atmosphere of self-interest, we can walk in the opposite spirit, looking for ways to bless others.

Pray: for us to think and act according to God’s nature, sowing seeds of Kingdom Peace. (John 16:33)

Coronavirus: government measures

Many people over 70, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions are now in voluntary lockdown, taking personal responsibility to stay away from potential infection. Continue to pray for their protection and peace of mind. The nation should avoid gatherings and crowded places, including pubs, clubs, theatres, underground and even the workplace if they can work from home. Pray for a calm response to these government requests. Most schools are shut ‘to reduce social contact throughout society’. Children of ‘key workers’ and those who receive free meals or depend on school for food and security will be catered for in some classrooms with a skeleton staff. Pray for any ‘anomalies’ in these provisions to be speedily resolved, for example teachers who are parents with school children at home. Pray for wise government strategies and for parents presented with childcare issues. Some stay-at-home parents will struggle financially. May government provisions be adequate for these and other vulnerable groups.

Pray: for minimal contagion while the nation waits for a vaccine to be available. (Psalm 107:20)

Coronavirus: countryside community spirit

What will life be like for the over-70s in self-isolation in the countryside? When Carol, aged 70, heard on 15 March that she could be stuck indoors for the long haul, she took the first bus of the day four miles into Bridport to buy supplies. ‘I was the only person on the bus and when I got to the shops some shelves were bare. I tried to book a Tesco delivery but there were no slots until 4 April.’ Her story is repeated across the country. Elizabeth Harley, a lay preacher at the Chapel in the Garden in Bridport, runs a community fridge which distributed four tonnes of surplus food to people in need last year, but gifts to her project are now scarce. However, thanks to a coronavirus community support Facebook page, Carol has received many encouraging offers of help.

Pray: for more to recognise the need for community spirit in the countryside. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Supreme Court rejects prayer ban appeal

The Supreme Court will not hear the case of Alina Dulgheriu, who has challenged a protection order introduced in 2018 around a London abortion facility. The order criminalises silent prayer and offers of help. The young mother, who herself had received help from a now-banned group, argued that this violated fundamental rights to freedom of speech and assembly. She is now considering her options for challenging this decision. Ms Dulgheriu said, ‘My little girl is here today because of the practical and emotional support that I was offered outside a Marie Stopes centre. I brought the appeal to ensure that other women did not have this vital support option removed. It is unthinkable that any council would criminalise an offer to help a woman keep her child.’ She is now considering the possibility of bringing her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Pray: for freedom of speech and assembly for peaceful pro-life groups. (John 1:4)

Coronavirus and church

In light of Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said that public worship is suspended until further notice. Churches should be open wherever possible, but no public worship services should take place. Prayers can be said on behalf of everyone, and churches should consider ways of sharing this with the wider community. There are digital resources available. Funerals are significant events with family and friends gathering to express grief, give thanks for the life lived, and commend the person into God’s keeping. Christian funerals will continue but with some adaptations – limiting the numbers of those attending to immediate family, and using technology to capture the event for those who are unable to be there in person. Also, social distancing measures should be observed. Churches remain committed to offering pastoral and spiritual support, sharing the love and hope of Jesus Christ. For special prayers and liturgy go here

Pray: for God to keep us under the shadow of His mercy in times of uncertainty. (1 Kings 8:28)

Coronavirus and media

The BBC has announced that it will focus more programmes on the coronavirus outbreak, offering more education, fitness, religion and recipes for those stuck at home. A dedicated coronavirus podcast will be released daily, and local radio stations will provide support phone-ins to communities around the country. ITV will broadcast news specials and suspend some planned entertainment shows; others will go ahead without a live audience. There will be further developments and challenges filling the gaps left by the suspension of sporting events – weekly prime-time coronavirus specials on BBC One, podcasts filmed for BBC’s News Channel, crisis phone-ins, programmes for health and wellbeing advice, education programming for school children, and virtual church services on Sunday mornings. A daytime programme on BBC One will address concerns of viewers in isolation, and ITV has a new weekly coronavirus report to ‘give viewers in-depth insights into issues affecting them during the crisis’.

Pray: for Christian values to be paramount in new programming ideas. (Ecclesiastes 12:9a)

Churches, prayer and technology

A national day of prayer and action for the global pandemic of coronavirus has been organised for this Sunday. The organisers are Archbishop Justin Welby, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Revd Dr Hugh Osgood (the Free Churches Moderator), Archbishop Angaelos of London (the Orthodox Church) and Pastor Agu Irukwu, the Pentecostal representative. They write, ‘This Mothering Sunday we are calling all churches to a national day of prayer and action. At this time, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds. At 7pm this Sunday, light a candle of hope in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.’ Also churches are looking to livestream services. The Baptist Union hosted an online prayer broadcast, with 2,300 joining in, and has a number of resources online.

Pray: for the Holy Spirit to flow through all prayer, action and technology combatting the outbreak. (Ephesians 4:3)

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Europe: life in lockdown

Over 250 million Europeans are in full or partial lockdown as Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and France have closed schools and all non-essential shops and ordered people to stay at home. Italians in lockdown sing together from their balconies to boost morale and put candles in their windows in support of emergency workers, pharmacists, doctors, and all those putting their lives at risk. Pray for God’s protection over all these people. Italian children are making signs that say, ‘We will overcome this’. In France and Italy only one person from each household can go shopping. May God convict residents to comply with the government rules regardless of inconvenience. Intensive care in some regional care systems are ‘close to collapse’, despite efforts to free up hospital beds. Outside China, two-thirds of all cases and three-quarters of all deaths are in Europe. Europe has now recorded 600 more deaths than China.

Pray: for all in the health sector to have the financial and spiritual support needed. (Psalm 60:5)

Croatia: faith mixed with corruption

Many Croatians inhabit the land of the Dalmatian coast which in the 20th century became part of Yugoslavia. The region of Dalmatia is mentioned in the Bible, when Titus left Paul to go there. Croats had access to the Gospel very quickly, and different orders of Roman Catholicism worked among the people. For centuries Croats considered themselves Roman Catholic. Croatia nurtures religious freedom: there are Roman Catholic cathedrals and churches, Orthodox churches, Protestant churches, Islamic mosques, and other minority religions. However, the biggest problem is corruption. ‘Giving favours’, as it is called, is the way of thinking for many. Unfortunately, they do not consider it sinful or recognise the consequences of it for society in general.

Pray: for Croatians to renounce the old lifestyle and glorify God in a real way. (Psalm 86:12)

Europe: coronavirus and Christian conferences

The Willow Creek 2020 Leadership Conference in Germany started on 27 February with 7,400 attendees, but ended abruptly after one of the speakers contracted coronavirus. The speaker was never present during the event, but was involved with the preparations. Three people who had contact with him have since tested positive for coronavirus. Also an EU prayer meeting due to take place in Zagreb was cancelled due to coronavirus. Pray for the organisers of the many planned 2020 gatherings to make wise decisions due to health and safety issues. Pray also for the plight of homeless refugees as borders and societies close down. See also

Pray: for a blanket of peace to replace the whirlwind of fear currently over Europe. (Psalm 91:5)

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Israel: anti-terror technology now counters coronavirus

Israel’s government has approved emergency regulations to enable the Shin Bet to perform mass surveillance of phones belonging to Israelis who contracted COVID-19. This is not to monitor quarantined people, but to track the movements of those found to be coronavirus carriers, to see with whom they interacted in the 14 days before they were diagnosed. Those who were contacted will receive SMS messages instructing them to enter home quarantine. Netanyahu announced the use of these digital counterterrorism measures, as one of several drastic steps to curb the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. He acknowledged that the digital measures might interfere with people’s privacy, but he argued that Taiwan has successfully used similar means in order to stop the coronavirus spread. Public criticism and warnings by human rights groups mean that authorities must limit these measures to only thirty days.

Pray: for the extreme technology to be wisely used and then destroyed. (Psalm 4:1)

Pray for the suffering

Pray for China, Italy, Spain, South Korea, and Iran, where thousands are suffering the loss of loved ones and millions suffer isolation from the outside world. Thank God for all the healthcare workers dedicated to care for the sick. May our political leaders not suffer the stress that can invade all those in decision-making positions over containing contamination. May they have Godly wisdom and a calm approach to all decisions. Many are suffering the fear of ‘going without’, causing items to disappear from shops’ shelves. Pray for this fear to be overridden with a spirit of sharing and concern for others. We are surrounded by negative news and social media. Without dismissing the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, let us remember to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). For ten further prayer needs, click the ‘More’ button.

Pray: for the Prince of Peace to drive out stress and replace it with peace and comfort. (John 16:33)

Iran: good and bad news

Iran has temporarily released tens of thousands of prisoners in recent weeks to stop the spread of coronavirus. Among these prisoners is British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe She will be required to wear an ankle tag and remain within 300 metres of her parents’ home. ‘The issue now is to make it permanent’, her husband Richard said. Pray for this to be the beginning of a permanent release for her. Meanwhile Iran has recorded the highest toll of deaths outside China and Italy. WHO said that 15% of Iran’s deaths were aged under 40. This is unprecedented, as across the world death rate the under 50’s is well below 1%. An Iranian pulmonologist said, ‘Realistically, at this point, the reported sick cases are 1 million.’ As a measure of Iran’s desperation, it has requested a $5billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund – the first time they have sought western help for sixty years. See

Pray: for rapid improvements in Iran’s testing, treatment, and hospitalisation capacity. Pray for open communication and aid between historically antagonistic countries now facing the pandemic. (Job 33:17)

Nigeria: displaced Christians refused aid

Among two million people who fled Islamic extremist violence in northern Nigeria are hundreds being denied help because they are Christians. Displaced Muslims receive government-built homes, land, and financial support for resettlement, but 347 Christians are denied help because of their faith. ‘We cannot watch them die because they are unwilling to turn to Islam for support. We want to start something, no matter how small’, said a Christian leader of a small organisation (name withheld for security reasons). He wants to free land on the organisation’s properties to build homes for Christian converts denied entry into camps for the displaced. Many are left to die on their own, as no food or shelter is made available to them. The leader said, ‘We had tried within our little resources to help these ones, but the rejected people without external help to survive are too many.’ The organisation is now seeking support and funding.

Pray: for all organisations helping those impacted by discrimination and violence. (Psalm 121:1,2)

India: police implicated in Hindu riots

As the Hindu mob descended, Delhi market stalls were reduced to ashes, just 100 metres away from two police stations. The mobs came three times; desperate stallholders repeatedly ran to the police stations crying out for help, but the gates were locked from the inside. No help came. ‘How could they set fire to our market in such a horrific way, while it is so close to two police stations, and not be stopped?’ said a shopkeeper. ‘If I complain against the police I will face very serious trouble.’ The worst religious conflict to engulf Delhi in decades raises questions about the role that the police played. 75% of the 51 dead were Muslim, and many Muslims are still missing. The catalyst for the riots is widely acknowledged to be a BJP leader declaring that if the police did not clear the streets of objectors to the new citizenship law, his supporters would be ‘forced to hit the streets’.

Pray: for an end to religious riots caused by the new citizenship law. (Psalm 34:14)

China: what can we learn from the Chinese Church?

Pastor Huang Lei leads a church in Wuhan. The coronavirus crisis makes it impossible for his church to have their usual gatherings, so they are meeting online. They are not just doing church, but being church. ‘First, we have more than 50 groups,’ he says. ‘Almost all the groups are meeting via the internet – praying, studying the Bible, sharing, witnessing, praising and worshipping. Of those 50, we have over 30 groups spending two hours every day to pray, worship, share and testify together. That’s far more frequent than our normal meetings. Of course, now we have more free time; everybody is staying at home, so that’s given us the chance to do this. But we usually have the group meeting weekly and now we’re doing this daily. Sometimes even more, so we are very grateful for that.’

Pray: for God to bless Christians uniting by different means. (Hebrews 10:25)

USA: send asylum seekers to Mexico or Canada

Officials in Donald Trump‘s administration have been briefed on plans to block all asylum seekers and foreigners from entering the USA as a response to the coronavirus epidemic. All persons on the border with Mexico, apart from American citizens, will be turned back. The same policy is set to apply to the border with Canada. The plan could also see all illegal border crossers returned without due process, and asylum seekers will not be held in American immigration facilities. Anyone caught entering the US illegally will be transported to the nearest point of entry without detention by Border Patrol agents.

Pray: for plans that violate international law on refugees to be withdrawn. (Deuteronomy 16:18)

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