Praise Reports


British Isles


Praise Reports

Drive-in church, pre-booking pews

Churches are taking innovative steps to keep congregations safe as public worship restarts. All Saints Church in Crowborough welcomed 200+ people to its drive-in church service in the Sussex countryside. St Barnabas held their drive-in service in Swanmore village hall car park and parishioners wound down car windows to join the worship. Waterlooville’s St George’s welcomes pre-booked worshippers by ticking their names off at the door for tracking and tracing, directing them to hand sanitisers and a seat two metres away from others. A worshipper said, ‘It has replenished my soul to be here today. I just sat there and wept.’ In front of St George’s altar is a webcam and laptop for livestreaming the service.

Praise: God for the new ways churches are sharing His word and worshipping. (Psalm 150:1)

Success of online church services

Most churches have reported an increase in interest and ‘attendance’ of their services since lockdown, but since mid-March Methodist Central Hall Westminster has reached over 156,000 viewers from all over the world through its live stream. The service on 5 July had over 20,000 views in its first week, a congregation that would have filled its Great Hall, just off Parliament Square, ten times over. It has been streaming via YouTube to reach the maximum number of people, but will now launch a new website (MCHW.LIVE) as a permanent home for online services. Since rules for places of worship were eased in June, Revd Tony Miles, its superintendent minister, has been broadcasting live from the chapel inside the building, and has been joined by other contributors from across the country via Zoom.

Praise: God that through moments of national uncertainty people turn to Him. (Psalm 46:1)

Children build bridges between Christians and Jews

In response to US parents not knowing what to do with their children who had been sent home from closed schools, Verses for Zion (VfZ)was born, a biblically-rooted project connecting Christian children to Israel, as an opportunity to engage them in a multigenerational project with parents and grandparents. Now, as summer is starting and schools that had opened are closing again, it offers parents a way to add meaning and substance to their children’s extended vacation. VfZ, the brainchild of an Orthodox Israeli Jew and an evangelical Christian pastor in Texas, aims to give children the opportunity to learn more about God, His Word and His people. One mother said, ‘It entrenches children’s faith and deepens their understanding of God, the Bible and how that relates to us today through Israel.’

Praise: God for the bridges being built between Christians and Jews outside of Israel. (Psalm 8:2)

Praise Reports

UK countries in different stages of lockdown

In much of the world, coronavirus lockdowns are easing. In the UK some normality is returning with the reopening of businesses and public spaces. However, the four countries are at different stages of lockdown, as politicians in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland take diverse approaches from their English counterparts. At the same time the coronavirus threat is still very real. On 15 July Public Health England data showed there have been 291,911 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and 45,053 associated deaths. Pray for a spirit of peace, prosperity and safety to rest on our streets as the new normality emerges. Pray also for God’s wisdom to flow through Parliament, the Cabinet, MPs, civil servants and advisors. Also pray for the safety of people in Leicester who have to endure a second lockdown of shops and schools and reinstated shielding measures.

Pray: for every decision made towards the ‘new normal’ to be within God’s will for our nations. (Matthew 6:10)

Virtual drama classes for asylum-seekers

Lockdown has been challenging for young asylum-seekers. Ali used wi-fi at the college he attended to contact his family back home, but in lockdown this has not been possible. With little money, he is unable to afford internet access, leaving him isolated. But a non-profit theatre company called Compass Collective (CC) have been providing young asylum-seekers with data packages so they can stay in touch with their families and also access virtual creative workshops. Ali and other young refugees used the workshops to stay connected and to rehearse their acting and singing skills for a film that was streamed nationally on Refugee Day. CC also connects organisations and develops partnerships, collaborating with charities like the British Red Cross and theatres such as the Globe to offer a platform for cultural sharing and celebration in a social environment; building their confidence, developing life skills and reaching their potential. See

Pray: for God to develop Compass Collective and all who reach isolated youth, separated from their friends and family. (Matthew 7:12)

Crackdown on channel dinghy crossings

On 12 July as many as 180 migrants crossed the English Channel to the UK (see In six months 2,600+ people have crossed illegally into the UK, compared with 1,850 during the whole of 2019. The home secretary met her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin to push for fresh action to curb the ‘unacceptable’ daily crossings and tackle the ruthless people-smuggling gangs behind them. The two ministers will establish a joint intelligence unit based near Calais, where UK Border Force and National Crime Agency officers will work alongside their French counterparts. The new unit will consist of six British and six French police officers. Also, Miss Patel said France should start towing boatloads of illegal migrants back to its shores, saying it was not beyond the collective experience of French and UK officials to create a plan for returns at sea.

Pray: for compassionate provisions for refugees and successful intelligence to catch criminals. (Proverbs 21:15)

Archbishop: ‘Learn afresh how to share the gospel’

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, called on the Church of England to ‘learn afresh how to share the gospel in the world’. He said the Church’s voice remains over-dominated by people who are usually white, male, with a certain education, and over 60. He is engaging in wide-ranging discussion with people from across the church, and intends to draw in and listen to the voices of younger Christians and those whose voices are not usually so easily heard in Church. He said we are going to have to learn again how to love one another, love the world, and love God so that we can be the place where God is revealed, adding, ‘We have allowed ourselves to become tribal and divided, with secondary things obscuring our belonging to each other. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ in us; and through us may we learn afresh how to share the gospel in the world.’

Pray: for all in the church to be guided by the Holy Spirit in everything they think, say, and do. ((Psalm 31:3)

PM: York to be Parliament’s temporary home?

MPs voted on 1 February 2018 to approve the renovation work at the Houses of Parliament, which will entail their moving out. The building is a safety risk for all those who work in it, and urgent action is needed. As well as the fire threat, it is vulnerable because of an antiquated sewage system and areas riddled with asbestos. Plans have been reviewed due to the impact of coronavirus on public finances. Although the move, if it happens, is expected to take place around 2025, we can pray for decisions being made now. Boris Johnson has suggested that Parliament could move to York while the Palace of Westminster undergoes renovation: see.

Pray: for God to direct the fresh business plans to ensure value for money while eliminating critical dangers. (Proverbs 1:33)

Huge rise in online child abuse images

For months both adults and children, many of whom are working at home, have spent significantly more time online. Now the Internet Watch Foundation reports that images of child abuse images online have increased by almost 50% during lockdown. In the eleven weeks from 23 March its hotline logged 44,809 reports of images, compared with 29,698 last year. The Government has promised to draw up legislation to reduce online harm. The fastest-growing category of images being removed in recent years has been those generated by children after grooming or coercion. The updated figures are likely to renew the debate about how to keep children safe, after months of parents grappling to limit children’s online activity. There are now growing concerns that appropriate draft legislation will be delayed by the pandemic.

Pray: for social networks to invest more time and finances in safer and just technology designs without waiting, until they are ordered to do so by a regulator. (Psalm 112:5)

Children’s book about hope, not darkness

A children’s illustrator and an author started a conversation about death, after being told the subject was ‘off the table’. ‘Where is Uncle Al?’ is for 4- to 7-year-olds. Author Eva Hubs and artist Sarah Harrison published the book after being encouraged by health professionals. The book is about hope not darkness, from a Christian and Buddhist perspective. It centres on Lily, who hears about Uncle Al but is given different answers when she asks where he is. Sarah says we pretend to know about death and stop exploring it, so Lily asks adults questions that they find difficult to answer. A childhood bereavement charity comments that stories play an important role in helping children make sense of death. The book’s pictures and words feed children’s imaginations, making them feel less isolated, when they are very alone with their grief.

Pray: for this book to help teachers, parents and health professionals to start conversations about death and belief and life. (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Praise Reports

Europe: simple church

The pandemic has been disruptive for centralised service-based models of congregation. However, churches based on small groups are less affected by the crisis. With self-organisation in simple, organic, house church movements, there is no dependence on church buildings and pastors – making these groups more financially resilient. Their resources are available for mercy ministry and mission in discipleship movements. In the last twenty years, we have seen a gradual paradigm shift in the church on what it means to follow Jesus. The emphasis is no longer on church membership or a program you follow, but on a daily life led by God’s Spirit in connection with others, both inside and outside church walls. The church is seen as an organic network. This requires abandoning control and systems, and discerning with other Christians how and where God is at work. Coronavirus can help the church become such a movement, consisting of people who live and act in dependence on Christ: see

Pray: for God to nurture the various forms of spreading His Good News. (Mark 1:15)

Judges plunge Brexit talks into chaos

The European Court of Justice has rejected a crucial EU-US data sharing deal that could have serious ramifications for the relationship between Europe and Britain. Thejudges rejected the Privacy Shield agreement between the bloc and the USA. The tool is used by thousands of firms to protect Europeans’ personal data when it is transferred across the Atlantic. The agreement prompted complaints amid privacy concerns about the United States’ surveillance watchdogs. As part of the post-Brexit future relationship talks, the two sides want to establish an agreement to enable smooth flows of data after the transition period expires in December. The UK has fully rearranged the EU’s procedures into national law, but has a controversial track record in mass surveillance. In 2018 a European court ruled the UK had breached human rights protections in its mass surveillance programmes.

Pray: for wise negotiations that establish Europe and the UK’s intelligence to be in line with EU law and US surveillance, ensuring that citizens’ private data is protected. (Psalm 2:1,10,11a)

Praise Reports

Sudan Christians beginning to feel welcome

After more than three decades of Islamist rule, Sudan has passed reforms that include allowing non-Muslims to drink alcohol and have abolished the apostasy laws and flogging. From a Christian perspective, reforming the laws of the old regime allows Sudanese Christians to feel welcome in their country again now that Sudan is moving towards a government based not on religious values, but on general human rights is a major development. Pray that this move leads to an ongoing democratic transformation; so that continued reforms within government and society will favourably impact the lives of all minorities. Pray for Sudanese Christians to take advantage of new freedoms and begin to provide hope to the Muslim majority population.

Pray: for the global church not to become complacent due to the progress made, but to continue to pray for the Sudanese believers in this time of change. (Psalm 25:3a)

Global persecution in the pandemic

Every six minutes a Christian is killed for following Jesus. For millions, the truth is an extremely dangerous thing to believe. 58% of Iraqi and Syrian refugees are Christian. Ongoing wars and continued presence of terrorists have created the largest refugee crisis in history, forcing over four million Christians from their homes. Imagine facing torture and death for just saying ‘I believe in Jesus Christ’. This is a reality for over 245 million Christians today who often face physical violence towards themselves or loved ones. They lose homes and jobs because of their faith. May persecuted Christians experience renewed strength to follow Christ, particularly during this pandemic, when refugee camps make it impossible to implement social distancing. Our brothers and sisters in Christ need help and support more than ever. From Morocco to Iraq various forms of lockdown are in force, there are food shortages and hospitals are under strain. Christians are at the bottom of the social ladder: see

Pray: for isolated, persecutedChristians to know God’s comfort and provision. (Genesis 28:15a)

North Korea: Prisoner 42

After fleeing from North Korea to China, Prisoner 42 was captured and sent to a North Korean prison camp, where she spent one year in solitary confinement. Guards shaved her head and stripped her. Each morning when they called for her, she crawled out of a door flap, typically used for dogs or cats, and kept her head bowed low because she was not allowed to make eye contact with the guards. They would ask her the same questions, ‘Why were you in China? Who did you meet? Did you go to church? Did you have a Bible? Did you meet any South Koreans? Are you a Christian?’ She lied to stay alive. She was beaten and kicked daily. She said,’ It hurts the most when they hit my ears. My ears ring for hours, sometimes days’. She was later sent to a re-education camp where she met other secret Christians. After two years she was released from detention.

Pray: for God to strengthen and comfort Christians in maximum security and re-education facilities. (Psalm 23:4)

South Korea: investigations on sending Bibles by balloon

What began as an activity restriction in South Korea is turning into an assault on religious freedom. In June, police stopped Voice of the Martyrs Korea from sending Bibles across the border to North Korea. Today, the ministry and its co-founder, Eric Foley, face criminal investigations. ‘Balloon launching has been difficult since we began in 2005. However, now there is a large scale effort to declare balloon launching illegal’, Foley explains. ‘It’s unclear, at this point, how things will go.’ He said the government’s motives and methods remain dubious, as launching has become a deeply political subject. He added, ‘North Korea made a very public offensive against balloon launching that was adopted by South Korean authorities. This was the impetus to say it is illegal, not through new laws, but through the application of other laws. The issue is not about balloon launching; it’s about the legal right to do private ministry work outside government mediation.’

Pray: for leaders of Christian ministries operating throughout South Korea to have wisdom and discernment. (Psalm 119:98)

Armenia-Azerbaijan: deadly border clashes

On 6 July, Azerbaijan’s president said peace talks with Armenia to settle the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict had stalled. He called talks between the countries’ foreign ministers ‘pointless’. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has long been trying to mediate a settlement of the conflict, which dates back to the 1990s. On 12 July clashes involving tanks and artillery erupted again on the border between the two ex-Soviet republics. On 14 July Azerbaijan’s military reported four deaths, but said it had destroyed an Armenian fortification and artillery, while Armenia had not reported any deaths on its side in the clashes. Azerbaijan’s president said, ‘Armenia’s political and military leadership will bear the entire responsibility for the provocation’, while Armenia accused its neighbour of ‘using artillery in an attack aimed at capturing Armenian positions’.

Pray: for God to give wisdom to OSCE diplomats from France, Russia and the USA, so that aggression is subdued and a ceasefire agreed. (Judges 3:11a)

South China Sea dispute

Six Asian countries have competing claims on the South China Sea, but only China has backed its claims with artificial island-building, military bases and naval patrols. The USA has not taken sides in the territorial dispute, but sends military ships and planes near disputed islands, for ‘freedom of navigation’ operations to help key shipping and air routes. Both countries have accused each other of ‘militarising’ the area, and have long been at odds over maritime freedom. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has now called China’s pursuit of offshore resources ‘completely unlawful’, condemning Beijing’s ‘campaign of bullying to control’ disputed waters that are potentially energy-rich with reserves of natural resources around them in a shipping route and major fishing ground. There are fears that the area is becoming a flashpoint, with potentially serious global consequences of a military response. See

Pray: for China and the USA to cool down the progressively heated disputes over land, technology, pandemic and international trade. (John 16:33b)

Syria: vital foreign aid approved

On 11 July the UN approved a new round of cross-border aid to Syria through the Turkish border into militant-controlled Idlib province – providing one year of foreign aid to the northwest region of Syria and critical supplies to over one million Syrians. Millions more civilians within opposition-controlled areas rely heavily on such aid to survive. Throughout the war Syrian Christians have played a vital role within their communities, providing a lifeline to those in need. Many of them are within government-controlled areas, which are more heavily impacted by sanctions. If foreign aid to these areas was abolished, it would limit the resources used by Christians to provide hope to their communities. Pray for the international Christian community to seek new ways to bring about resolution and peace in this war-weary nation.

Pray: for a negotiated solution to the situation and for Christians to remain steadfast in their efforts to share the gospel and provide for those in need. (Psalm 119:165)

Praise Reports
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