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Praise Reports

Bible translated into its 700th language

A new milestone has been reached by Wycliffe Bible Translators as the Bible is translated into its 700th language. The acceleration that is happening in the work of Bible translation means it is impossible to state which translation was actually the 700th, as there were several launches of physical Bibles as well as several being made available online and via apps, all at about the same time. Every time the Bible is translated into another language, we know that people in that language group can fully access the complete picture of God’s story. Now 5.7 billion people who speak 700 languages have the Bible in the language that speaks to them best. That is a remarkable figure, which continues to grow.

Praise: God for technology, methods and manpower that have enabled such incredible speed of Bible Translation into the languages of unreached people groups. (Romans 15:4)

Boxers give God the glory

Filipino Manny Pacquiao announced his retirement from boxing on social media, expressing gratitude to God, saying his boxing career would not have been possible without the Lord. He is the only boxer to hold twelve world titles in four different decades. In his retirement post he says, ‘God is good all the time. I give all glory to God. I always believe that in God, all things are possible. Without Him, I am nothing. He is the one who gave me the ability to train and accomplish all those things. The Lord gave me overflowing blessings.’ Meanwhile when Ukrainian boxer Oleksander Usyk became world champion this week by beating Anthony Joshua, he told the media, ‘The only thing I wanted to do with this fight is to give praise to my Lord Jesus Christ and to say that all I have comes from him.’ See

Praise: God for declarations of faith being transmitted to boxing fans across the world. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Praise Reports

Petrol supply issues

Retailers and hauliers say the government’s plan to offer temporary visas to foreign lorry drivers will not solve supply chain issues. The transport secretary said there is ‘plenty of fuel’ in the refineries and 47 storage centres, but ‘the Royal Haulage Association triggered panic buying by reporting a shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers. To limit disruption before Christmas the Government will give temporary visas to 5,000 lorry drivers, encourage HGV licence holders back into the industry, and use MOD examiners to increase testing for new drivers. These measures will not fix the short-term problems caused by panic buying, so the business secretary said 150 soldiers will be delivering fuel. The managing director of fuel supplier Portland Fuel said the UK was over the worst of the situation and that sending in the army would ‘generate more panic’.

Pray: for less panic buying as petrol stations begin to cope with heavy demands. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Furloughing ends, new support fund announced

The UK’s economy grew 5.5% between April and June as spending surged after lockdowns. However an investment and markets analyst said, ‘Any hope that the end of the furlough scheme would solve the supply chain crisis is likely to be wishful thinking. There will be a big mismatch of skills and experience between those leaving furlough and the jobs on offer.’ Jess Pitman was furloughed from her job organising trips abroad to raise money for charities, but travellers cancelled when Covid hit. The company’s payroll has reduced from 27 to 5. Furloughing has finished, and Jess will return to work part-time, topping up her income with freelance work. To counteract furlough finishing, a £500m Household Support Fund will provide a lifeline for those who might struggle to keep up with their winter bills for food and utility. Local councils will give the grants to cover essential costs.

Pray: for the funding to be straightforward for needy households to claim and for the Government to support firms struggling to pay staff. (Isaiah 41:10)

Move to online worship a loss, not a gain

A ‘deep-seated dissatisfaction’ with online worship has been identified by year-long research by two universities. They state, by almost every measurement, the experience of pandemic online rituals are perceived as less meaningful, less communal, less spiritual, less effective, and so on.’ The report concludes, ‘Our research revealed both considerable innovation in, and deep-seated dissatisfaction with, digital worship during the pandemic. There have been positive developments and adaptations which will strengthen religious life in the long term, but for most people the move to online ritual has been a loss, not gain.’ It notes, however, that there is an appetite for religion online for those seeking out new communities, experiences, and modes of worship’. Also an online survey of 604 religious leaders and congregation members notes that human connection is more important to congregants than technical quality; worshippers preferred interactive Zoomover streaming video. Online-offline hybrid seems likely to be the way forward.’

Pray: for God to help His Church to combine online and community worship. Pray for digital technology to complement the in-person experience so that the church thrives. (Hebrews 10:25)

NHS Highland pays millions to bullied staff

In 2018 a group of senior clinicians at NHS Highland reported that a culture of bullying had existed for at least a decade. They described a ‘practice of suppressing criticism, which emanated from the very top of the organisation’ and led to a culture of ‘fear and intimidation’ which has had a detrimental effect on staff. John Sturrock QC found there were hundreds of people who had experienced bullying. A review was contacted by 340 people from most departments, services, and occupations. Over 280 had face-to-face meetings or made written submissions of bullying experiences. Staff said they had not felt valued, respected or supported in carrying out ‘very stressful work’. In 2021 NHS Highland expects to pay £3.4m in settlements to current and former staff who experienced bullying. Whistleblower Brian Devlin said the scale of settlements so far was ‘heartening’, but he had heard that some bullying still continues.

Pray: for the Scottish government to continue to be alerted to inappropriate behaviour so that it is fully eradicated from the NHS and a complete healing process is established. (Ephesians 4:32)

Church schools help pupils with mental health issues

Oxford Diocese has launched a contemplative toolkit in response to the growing mental health crisis among young people. It is a time of daily reflection founded on ancient pathways and practices of meditation and prayer that have resourced, benefited, and healed Christians for generations. The increase in the use of digital technology and social media is placing young people in danger of becoming less connected with their families and communities and leads to increased mental health issues as self-worth is measured against online profile popularity. A quarter of a million children struggle with their mental health as a result of the pandemic. When the whole of education seems to be about targets, results and pressure, this toolkit gives students the chance just to be, rather than do. It complements the Prayer Spaces in Schools programme, enabling prayer and reflection into school life for the year. It also enables pupils to run the sessions themselves and share reflections with their peers.

Pray: for teachers and pupils to develop and grow as they use the techniques to be still, be healed and be blessed. (Philippians 4:8)

Black priest claiming ‘racism’ as parish is dissolved

Rev Yvonne Clarke was ordained as a deacon in 1987 and has served All Saints Shirley, in Southwark Diocese, for over 20 years. On 29 September the diocese decided to divide the parish between St George’s and St John’s, resulting in Rev Clarke losing her home and her job. She is considering appealing against the decision, saying the move felt ‘personal’ and was motivated by racism. The diocese said its proposal was due to ongoing concerns over the church’s finances and governance. Rev Clarke said she is now in discussions with her legal team and supporters to consider an appeal to the Privy Council.’ The diocese said it welcomed the decision of the pastoral committee of the Church Commissioners for the better provision of ministry and mission, as All Saints Spring Park is not viable in its current form.

Pray: for Rev Clarke to be supported as she looks to the future, for the congregations of the three churches to be at peace, and for any hidden injustice to be revealed. (Hebrews 12:11)

Street preacher accuses police of overreacting

Pastor Peter Simpson, a Methodist minister, was preaching outside Uxbridge Station in August when 14 officers approached him. The Met Police confirmed that officers had received complaints that a man was using homophobic language and had given words of advice to him. Pastor Simpson denies using homophobic language and said that with two other church helpers he was preaching a straightforward Gospel message: ‘All who have sinned and come short of the glory of God, need salvation’. He had spoken about how much the nation has turned against God, and how immoral abortion is. He also had said, ‘We have also redefined marriage, contrary to God’s law, it can only be between one man and one woman.’ Within 15 minutes of preaching the police came and said they had received multiple complaints, even though no one had complained directly to Pastor Simpson. The police asked him to leave the area, and no arrests were made.

Pray: for the aggression and angst in our nation to be replaced by harmony and kindness. (Romans 14:19)

Praise Reports

France: fishing in UK waters

Three-quarters of small French fishing boats could be denied access to British waters under a post-Brexit regime in a move that risks further damaging Anglo-French relations. The UK government had granted only 12 out of a total of 47 applications for licences for the French vessels under 12 metres long to fish the UK’s inshore waters. France’s maritime minister, Annick Girardin, condemned the decision. ‘It is a new refusal by the British to implement the conditions of the Brexit agreement despite all the work we have done together. French fishing should not be taken hostage by the British for political ends.’ In May, France’s response to post-Brexit fishing restrictions around the island of Jersey was described as ‘pretty close to an act of war’ by fishing community leaders in St Helier. This week Jersey refused licences to 75 French fishing boats. The UK said it would consider further evidence to support remaining bids for fishing rights See

Pray: for peace to reign and for the rivalry to be resolved. (Matthew 5:44)

Spain: update on La Palma volcano

Lava from La Palma’s volcano has now reached the Atlantic Ocean. When this happens there is a chemical reaction as hot lava boils the colder sea water. Volcanologist Dr Robin Andrews said, ‘It creates a steam of hydrochloric acid, water vapour and bits of ash. Volcanic explosions are possible because lava entering sea water creates a pressure-cooker situation that throws out volcanic debris.’ Authorities have set up an exclusion zone around the lava, including in the sea, to keep people away from any potential danger. Three coastal villages are now locked down. Please continue to pray for the hundreds of families whose homes were destroyed by lava, the 6,000+ evacuated people, the owners of destroyed banana plantations and businesses, and the pupils and parishioners of destroyed schools and a church. Authorities declared La Palma a disaster zone. Pray there will be enough financial support for everyone affected.

Pray: for people to observe the exclusion zone. and for the elderly and those with existing breathing disorders to be safe. (Psalm 4:8)

Praise Reports

Eritrea: releases of prisoners followed by arrests

A wave of releases of Christian prisoners was not a change in policy, as had been hoped. It has been followed by the arrest of eight Full Gospel Church leaders, and 35 Christians were detained after raids on two prayer meetings. Three of the Full Gospel leaders are pastors in their seventies. Police took Pastor Araya (75) and Pastor Okbamichael (74) from their homes in the middle of the night and placed them in a maximum-security interrogation centre. Pastor Gebreab (72) was sick and placed under house arrest until he recovers enough to be incarcerated. No reason was given for their arrest. Also following the discovery of a list of Christian contacts, fifteen men and women from different churches in Asmara have been re-arrested. Having been imprisoned for their faith for between five and 16 years, they had been released last summer.

Pray: for God to give abundant peace to the families of these prisoners and for an end to the policy that bans all churches except Eritrean Orthodox, Lutheran and Catholic. (John 16:33)

North Korea’s ‘ghost disease’

North Korea’s dictatorship says Covid-19 is not a problem, but the people secretly call it the ‘ghost disease.’ North Korea has reported no Covid cases and rejected millions of vaccines. However, reports on the ground tell a different story. Covid has been deadly, especially to the many North Koreans who are malnourished. Meanwhile Kim Jong-Un promises to expand his nuclear arsenal. Behind these issues are 25 million souls living and dying without the hope of Jesus. For a North Korean to have a chance to hear about that hope, it takes an act of God, and God is moving. North Koreans are being drawn to Jesus in daring and ingenious ways – through the underground Church, Christian radio broadcasts, and even covert balloon drops carrying Scripture. No nation is too closed for God to move. Ask God to deliver the people from the regime’s indoctrination and lies and for truth to reign throughout the nation.

Pray: for the Church to persevere and multiply amid horrific persecution. (Romans 16:20)

Nigeria: trauma-healing workshops

Nigerian Christians have experienced horrendous violence against their communities in recent years. Many have been killed, thousands have fled homes and land, and many live with the trauma of seeing loved ones killed or brutalised. Their needs are now being met by trauma-healing workshops that help them express their pain, face up to it, and to bring it to Christ so that feelings aren’t buried deep within. The workshop seeks to bring victims to a point where, by the grace of God, they are able to forgive those who hurt them. They then have a foundation on which to rebuild their lives. Each workshop helps forty people over a five-day period. They equip church leaders with biblical principles to respond to suffering – their own and the suffering of others. There is also a separate youth version of the workshop, for young people traumatised by violence.

Pray: for God to provide more transport, accommodation, and workshop materials so that this initiative can reach even more disturbed and fearful Christians. (2 Timothy 3:17)

Afghanistan: executions will return

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, the Taliban’s notorious former head of religious police and now in charge of prisons, said that extreme punishments will resume but may not be meted out in public, as they were previously. Human Rights Watch said the Taliban in Herat are searching out high-profile women, denying women freedom of movement outside their homes, and imposing compulsory dress codes. Amnesty International blamed Taliban fighters for the cold-blooded massacre of nine members of the Hazara, a minority persecuted people. A Taliban judge said, ‘In our Sharia it is clear, for those who have sex and are unmarried, whether male or female, the punishment is 100 lashes in public. Anyone who is married must be stoned to death. Anyone who steals, his hand should be cut off.’ Mullah Turabi said that the Taliban would now allow televisions, mobile phones, photos and videos.

Pray: for the nations to connect with the Taliban and temper their Sharia codes of conduct. (James 2:13)

Code red for humanity

A panel of hundreds of international scientists has released a report on climate change. The UN secretary general described the report as ‘code red for humanity’ the alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable.’ Words like ‘unprecedented’, ‘widespread’, ‘rapid’, and ‘irreversible’ abound in the report. We will reach a 1.5°C temperature rise in ten years, and however fast we act now, melting ice caps and rising sea levels will continue for thousands of years. Alongside this three senior Christian leaders have released a ‘Joint Message for the Protection of Creation’. The document quotes scripture frequently, emphasising our calling to ‘choose life, so that you and your children might live’ (Deut. 30:19), linking our care for the poor and the planet, and concluding with the challenge, ‘To whom much is given, much is required’ (Luke 12:48).

Pray: for the COP26 delegates to read and digest the joint message and the scientists’ report and seriously take action now. (Psalm 145:8-10a)

Australia: is the PM attending COP26?

Australia is the most carbon-polluting nation in the world per capita, yet prime minister Scott Morrison may not attend the November landmark climate conference. He said he had not made any final decisions on attending, saying, ‘I have to focus on things here and with Covid. Australia will be opening up borders around that time. There will be a lot of issues to manage and I have to deal with those competing demands.’ Australia is expected to present its updated 2030 emissions cuts at the conference. It is one of the world’s top exporters of coal and gas. Mr Morrison said he wants Australia to achieve net zero emissions ‘as soon as possible’, but he has not outlined any measures to do so and has not committed to net zero by 2050. A UN report ranked Australia last out of 170 member nations for its response to climate change.

Pray: for Australia to recognise the seriousness of climate change and commit to move away from its heavy reliance on coal-fired power. (Isaiah 24:5)

USA: disillusionment with Joe Biden

Numerous factors are pointing to a presidential meltdown. At home, Biden’s handling of the pandemic attracted growing criticism during a summer Covid surge. There has been continuing mistreatment of Mexico border migrants, which he promised to end. A Biden-backed police reform bill, prompted by George Floyd’s death, was rejected in Congress. His reputation for foreign policy competence was shattered by the Afghan withdrawal and deaths of Americans and Afghans. The row with France over a US-UK-Australia defence pact deepened disillusion over his commitment to multilateralism. While international perceptions matter, it is Americans who will make or break this presidency. Before next year’s midterm elections, Mr Biden wishes to enact an extraordinarily ambitious legislative agenda including a $3.5tn social spending plan and a $1.1tn infrastructure package. A new survey gives Donald Trump a 48% favourability rating to Biden’s 46%.

Pray: for Americans to remember Biden’s successful vaccine rollout, the $1.9tn Covid relief bill, the return to the Paris climate accord,and how Republicans are foiling his election promises. (Psalm 106:3)

Praise Reports
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