Praise Reports


British Isles


Praise Reports

Iran: underground church in Covid-19 crisis

‘As soon as the outbreak of the virus was announced, we stopped all our face-to-face meetings,’ says a secret Iranian believer. ‘In this time of crisis, we have had more than ten hours of prayer meetings every day. We created a special prayer schedule that we call “Frontline”, where prayer members can virtually walk in and out to come to pray together.’ Open Doors partners gave them online resources. But their situation is dire. Inflation is so high that people cannot afford to buy meat, poultry, or fruit. In these dark times for the country, the underground church is shining brightly. They share their food and sanitary items with their communities. Church members feel blessed to be able to do this work: ‘The distribution was a fabulous and unbelievable experience. People were astonished when we gave them the food – praising God with thanksgiving psalms, crying, hugging, and shouting.’

Praise: God for Open Doors enabling believers to worship and share desperately needed aid. (Psalm 22:5)

Nepalese man freed from demonic attacks

Deshu writes, ‘I was born and raised in a Hindu family, all totally involved in idol worship. I suffered greatly from demonic attacks. I tried all kinds of medical treatments and made lots of sacrifices to our idols, but none of it helped. My neighbours who are followers of Jesus began to share with me and encourage me. I visited when a group gathered in their home to worship Jesus. They were all wonderful people and they prayed for my healing. The Lord answered their prayers and I was miraculously delivered from the demonic attacks. He became so real to me. I have placed my faith in Christ alone and have been baptised. I am so thankful to the Lord for His healing power and salvation. Please pray for me as I desire to see others find eternal freedom in Jesus.’

Praise: God for healing and restoring lives when we believe and trust in Him. (Matthew 10:8)

Choosing life

Ruth Coghill, facing an unexpected pregnancy in her 40s, was offered an abortion by her doctor. ‘He let my husband and me know that it was now our choice whether we wanted to abort our baby. When I went home, I could not get that out of my mind. It was just not in my frame of reference. We had three beautiful children, and I had never been asked that. Was it just because of my age? What was this all about? Then I began to wonder; what would I have done if Bob hadn’t been with me? What if I hadn’t had somebody who loved me who was going to help me raise this child? All of these questions started coming to my mind. But I let it go, and our beautiful boy was born.’ Ruth chose life.

Praise: God for wise counsel that prevents people’s lives being impacted by abortion. (Psalm 23:6)

Praise Reports

CSW concerned by government aid merger

Boris Johnson has announced that the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will be merged. A new government department will be created. CSW is concerned as each department has a distinct, essential mandate. It said any proposed changes must not advance economic and security interests at the expense of poverty alleviation, humanitarian assistance, and the promotion of human rights The merger, to be made during a rise in global poverty caused by coronavirus and reconstituting the only department with a humanitarian focus, could be devastating. Another concern is that this announcement pre-empted the outcome of a defence, security and foreign policy review. CSW is urging the Government to await its conclusion before implementing any changes.

Pray: for basic humanitarian aid not to be affected by political and security concerns. (Proverbs 29:7a)

Anarchist manifesto?

In just over a fortnight 33,000 people have used the crowdfunding website GoFundMe to donate to Black Lives Matter UK, known as @BLMUK and formally ‘verified’ by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other sites carrying its content. BLMUK is influential and suddenly rich, having raised almost a million pounds in two weeks. Donors assume BLMUK exists to lobby against racism, but it can use its finances to pursue extreme aims which have nothing to do with racial equality. Their GoFundMe statement explains their commitment to dismantle imperialism, capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and more. Those crowdfunding BLMUK are probably unaware that their donations could be spent in pursuit of abolishing capitalism or disbanding the police. BLMUK uses social networking to support BDS which calls for a boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Pray: for the funding to fight racism to be used for just that and nothing else, and for hidden agendas to be brought out into the open. (Luke 12:2)

England easing lockdown (a)

With effect from 4 July, where it is not possible to stay 2m apart, people should stay ‘one metre plus’. Churches may open for prayers, services, and weddings for a maximum of 30 people, subject to social distancing and no singing. Restaurants and pubs will offer hospitality with table service only and limited contact between staff and customers, who must give contact details on arrival. Hotels, B&Bs, cottages, campsites, and caravan parks can also reopen; people can stay away from home for the first time since March. Other restrictions for meeting indoors and outdoors are being eased, as long as businesses protect the public from risk of infection. Sadly thousands of sun-seekers flocked to the beach at Southend just one day after the announcement, completely disregarding all rules by sitting or standing close together on a packed beach. See

Pray: for leaders of commerce and industry making appropriate precautions to operate safely from 4 July. (Proverbs 16:16)

England easing lockdown (b)

After further easing of lockdown measures, health leaders are calling for an urgent review to determine whether the UK is properly prepared for the ‘real risk’ of a second wave. In an open letter published in the British Medical Journal, ministers were warned that urgent action would be needed to prevent further loss of life. The presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians, and GPs all signed the letter which stated, ‘While the future shape of the pandemic in the UK is hard to predict, the available evidence indicates that local flare-ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk. Many elements of the infrastructure needed to contain the virus are beginning to be put in place, but substantial challenges remain.’ The chair of the BMA urged ministers to set up a cross-party group with a ‘constructive, non-partisan, four nations approach’, tasked with developing practical recommendations. Pray that the public calmly consider this warning and act wisely.

Pray: for a rapid and forward-looking assessment of how to prepare for a new outbreak. (Proverbs 1:5)

Brixton – 22 police injured overnight

On the night of 24 June, police officers were summoned to Brixton, following residents’ complaints about noise and violence at an illegal street party. A dispersal order had been put in place that day, so the police tried to encourage the crowd to leave. The event continued, more officers arrived, and the group became hostile. Social media showed officers being chased and assaulted by an angry crowd During the clashes, 22 officers were injured, two hospitalised, police vehicles damaged, and four people were arrested. The London mayor said, ‘Large gatherings during Covid-19 are deeply irresponsible and risk others’ lives.’ A vast number of residents not taking part in the disorder were disturbed all night by the noise. We can pray that the police are able to identify and arrest all who caused the chaos.

Pray: for God to pour peace and calm into areas of heated, frustrated locked down communities. (Psalm 107:30)

Parliament discusses demonstrating outside abortion clinics

Rupa Huq MP raised the topic of buffer zones at abortion clinics, to help protect women who attend clinics from intimidation, saying the bill was about women being able to present themselves for healthcare, not abortion. Fiona Bruce responded, ‘Such a law would damage free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, the right to  protest peaceably, and the right to receive information’. The comments were part of a ten-minute rule bill, where a backbench MP makes the case for a new bill and another MP can oppose it. They rarely become law but bring publicity to an issue. This bill passed, but is not guaranteed further Parliament debating time unless the Government chooses to make it progress. The bill’s demands are not around abortion, but are about women presenting themselves for healthcare without intimidation.

Pray: for both the right to debate difficult matters in public and for people to be gentle towards those they disagree with. (James 1:5)

Churches ask Government to intervene in West Bank

Two bishops have asked the Government to help prevent the annexation of the West Bank. Israel is preparing to annex parts from 1 July, but the Catholic bishop of Clifton and the Anglican bishop of Southwark said the annexation plans were not supported by local communities and the situation is rapidly deteriorating. ‘Annexation would only bring more conflict, suffering and division’, they said. Their comments follow strong criticism of the plans from the Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinal Vincent Nichols. They said in letters to the Israeli ambassador and prime minister that they unambiguously support the fundamental right of Israel’s citizens to live in peace and safety and ‘pray for peace and flourishing for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Israel and Palestine and all living in the Holy Land.’

Pray: for wisdom for all those involved,,and for a renewed commitment to negotiations where both sides respect each other’s needs. (Psalm 128:6)

Praise Reports

EU shrugs as China takes over Hong Kong

In the aftermath of China’s new national security law for Hong Kong, which ends the autonomy of the former British colony, the US, UK, Australia and Canada immediately protested. However the EU representative for foreign affairs ruled out sanctions against China and decided not to use its leverage as the world’s biggest trade bloc to support Hong Kong. The French foreign minister announced that Europe must not get carried away in a clash between US and China, and that ‘a new cold war’ must be avoided. The German parliament said, ‘A policy aimed at isolating China is not in Germany’s or Europe’s interests’. A European diplomat confessed that Europe is sacrificing Hong Kong to protect its economic relationship and investments in China.

Pray: for European nations to consider the rights of the people of Hong Kong to live in a democratic society, with freedom of speech and religious freedom more important than financial gain. (Acts 20:35)

Portugal: brakes on amid new coronavirus cases

As a statue in Lisbon is ‘jokingly’ and ‘inappropriately’ fitted with a face mask, new restrictions have been imposed on the city following a spike in coronavirus cases. Portugal has gone from a European ‘miracle’ to a partial outcast in a matter of weeks, amid a series of setbacks to the country’s reopening plans. The capital, Lisbon, and the surrounding metropolitan area woke up on 23 June to increased restrictions and more power for police to enforce them, following a series of illegal parties with as many as 1,000 revelers in recent days. Prime minister Costa imposed new controls just days after celebrating his government’s Champions League final phase coup.

Pray: for restrictions successfully to halt the spread of coronavirus spreading and deter further illegal parties. (Proverbs 3:23)

Praise Reports

Persecuted Christians amid pandemic

From Morocco to Iraq there are various forms of lockdowns, strains on hospitals, food shortages, even martial law. These strains put more pressure on already-stressed communities. The potential spread of the disease among refugees and displaced populations could be catastrophic. Many are persecuted believers with no financial safety net and poor medical infrastructures. For war-torn Syria, the pandemic has taken the situation from bad to worse. ‘We are free from the armed militia in Aleppo, but prices here are soaring’, said Kareem, ‘We have all signed up to receive bread from the government, and the needs are overwhelming.’ In Turkey, many are Iranian converts from Islam who fled Iran after being imprisoned or tortured for their faith. Turkish locals now blame them for the spread of coronavirus. The government has cut off all assistance, and many Christians have lost their employment. The Bible advises to go to the Lord with trials and problems; this virus is a serious problem.

Pray: for the peace of the Lord, that is beyond understanding, powerfully to touch the lives of the vulnerable in these dire situations. (John 16:33)

Lebanon: growing crisis

Vincent al-Boustani’s local council runs a tight ship. Staff and volunteers conduct 24/7 patrols, cameras monitor the streets, and motorcycles are banned after 9 pm. A policeman stands guard to provide security amid rising crime as the economy collapses and the crisis pushes more Lebanese into poverty. Protesters are targeting the ruling elite and banks that have frozen depositors out of their savings. Some banks have erected steel barriers to shield against attack, as the economy crumbles and fear of crime increases. Boustani believes things will get even worse, saying ‘That’s why we must remain alert, aware of danger as we go towards the unknown.’ This financial crisis has developed in Lebanon since 2019, more and more families can’t cope as the currency collapses and the state offers little or no help. Pray for God’s peace to fill the streets as Lebanon faces enormous threats to stability.

Pray: for God’s intervention in a country where sectarian tensions are never far from the surface. (Psalm 37:37)

Syria: urgent need to repatriate and rehabilitate IS children

The Centre for Global Policy (CGP) has called on European governments to intervene urgently on behalf of 750 children of EU member states citizenship who are held in IS detention camps in Syria. CGP’s latest report said that urgent intervention and support was needed. The report, entitled ‘The children of IS detainees – Europe’s dilemma’, was based on research that focused on two camps in northeast Syria where 70,000 women and children are being detained. At least 12,000 of the detainees are foreign nationals. While public opinion in EU member states is strongly opposed to repatriating IS members and affiliates, the report emphasised, ‘Leaving them in these camps will not keep anyone safe’.

Pray: for immediate action by governments to limit future extremism and terrorism and promote the health and wellbeing of the children. (Isaiah 57:18)

China: vulnerable disabled children

International China Concern (ICC) has sent volunteers from around the world to China since 1993, bringing extra care and enjoyment to abandoned children with disabilities. Each year there are short-term teams, for those who want to spend a week or two volunteering at one of their project sites. They support care-givers with additional activities, outings, and playtime for children and young adults. ICC also have long-term volunteers to set high standards of care by training and modelling their core values day to day in therapy, nursing, social work, education, administration, and communications. These volunteers commit to up to two years’ service. Pray for more people to commit to serving these needy children.

Pray: for God to bless these abandoned children with love and the opportunity to reach their full potential. (Psalm 127:3)

America: church, coronavirus, campaigning

Leaders of a megachurch in Phoenix installed air-purifying machines that they claimed ‘kill 99.9% of Covid-19 within ten minutes’ before hosting Donald Trump’s campaign rally on 23 June. They then backtracked shortly before he spoke, causing confusion Senior pastor Barnett said the alleged virus-killing technology, developed by members of their church, ‘ionised the air’ by ‘taking particulates out’ to create a pandemic-free atmosphere. Potential Trump supporters were told, ‘When you come into our auditorium, 99% of Covid is gone, you’ll be safe and protected. Thank God for great technology.’ A university professor said the ‘technology’ was not going to do anything to protect people in that space: ‘We’re in the midst of a serious pandemic and health situation; the last thing people need is false information about air cleaning technology.’ May God’s hand direct scientists and academics to end the pandemic with a successful vaccine.

Pray: for social distancing, sanitising, and masks to prevent foolish behaviour at election rallies. (Proverbs 26:1)

Global: pray for countries with new pandemic outbreaks

The WHO has sent out a fresh warning over the dangers of the new coronavirus, even as France staged an annual music festival and sent millions of children back to school. New outbreaks highlight the difficulties of fully eradicating the virus, even in role-model countries. Brazil confirmed over 39,000 new cases, with over 50,000 deaths altogether. The mayor of Mexico City cancelled plans to reopen businesses this week as the alert level remained at red. India and Pakistan have surges in infections and deaths; their healthcare systems are under strain. Iran fears a second wave of infections, with deaths having risen to 100 daily. Israel has a surge in cases, while Australia is sending 1,000 army personnel to assist with a spike in infections in Victoria. South Africa and Egypt have the largest African outbreaks, but testing is sparse in the continent – distorting how far the virus may have spread.

Pray: for stretched medical units to receive help. Pray also for comfort for the bereaved, and healing and relief for those suffering lockdown stress. (Psalm 23:4)

Saudi Arabia / Yemen: Houthis attack Riyadh

Eight armed drones and three ballistic missiles hit Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on 24 June. On 22 June a Saudi-led coalition had announced both sides intended to meet in an attempt to re-establish a 2019 deal that ended earlier fighting. Tensions between the two former allies in Yemen’s war has surged after the expiry last month of the six-week ceasefire prompted by the pandemic. The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the country to the brink of famine. The media reporting on the most recent attack stated, ‘The Houthis said they had hit the Saudi defence ministry and a military base, while a Saudi-led military coalition said it had shot a missile down, making no reference to targets’. The area is currently quiet.

Pray: for a lasting truce so that humanitarian aid is safely delivered, and for the pandemic to halt. (Psalm 74:20b-22b)

Praise Reports
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