Displaying items by tag: Religion
Contrary to the Archdiocese of Southwark's recommendation, John Fisher Catholic School governors voted not to cancel a talk by Simon Green, a writer of gay teen fiction. Two governors subsequently resigned, and the archdiocese sacked the rest. National Education Union members started industrial action on 28 April, with 40 people demonstrating outside the school. Their president said taking industrial action was an ‘absolute last resort’. Ofsted said the talk was due to take place on World Book Day and was offered as a ‘planned part of the curriculum’. Simon Hughes, for the archdiocese, had recommended the school leaders cancel the book-signing event. He said, ‘From time to time materials or events emerge for consideration that fall outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school. In such circumstances, we have no alternative but to affirm our unequivocal and well-known theological and moral precepts and to act in accordance with them.’
We pray for our Queen on her 96th Birthday. Lord, You bless us that we might bless others and so in the Name of Jesus, we speak blessing over the Queen’s life. We pray for health, strength and long life, and for You to surround her with honour as with a shield. We pray for boldness and increased wisdom. In her 1978 Christmas message she said, ‘Christians have the compelling example of the life and teaching of Christ and, for myself, I would like nothing better that my grandchildren should hold dear his ideals which have helped and inspired so many previous generations.’ So we pray, in the name of Jesus, over her wishes for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including Prince William and Prince Harry. May they not only hold to Christ’s ideals but know the God from whom they come and for faith in Jesus to lead and guide them. May they understand the gift of reconciliation and the power of forgiveness.
The Russian Orthodox Church is echoing Putin to justify the war. Its stance is driving many Ukrainian priests and parishioners to reject its teaching and join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Father Nicolay Pluzhnik said, ‘When the war started, I waited to hear from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the “father” of our church.’ There was no reaction, and then Patriarch Kirill and most of Moscow’s priests gave blessings to the war. They failed to condemn killing innocent Ukrainians or call for a ceasefire. Instead, they held large, televised services in Moscow to bless Russian troops, with sermons proposing the Kremlin's war is a righteous war about the future of Christianity. Patriarch Kirill said, ‘What is happening today is much more important than politics. It’s about human salvation.’ Dr Rowan Williams said, ‘There are elements in the Russian Christian tradition that become toxic when they follow Christian nationalism. It’s a messianic approach to Russia’s fate.’
Over 220 million Indonesians are Muslim, 87% of the population. Christians are 8% of the population and live mainly in the major cities and the eastern Indonesian islands. Despite being a recognised religion Christians are persecuted, particularly in Aceh on the island of Sumatra where they apply Shari’a law instead of Indonesian law. Acehnese strongly oppose anyone who has converted to Christianity. There are 0.12% Christian and 0.00% evangelical Acehnese. Pray for missionaries to reach the Acehnese with the love of Christ so that many will know and believe Jesus died to pay for their sins and rose from the dead. Pray for them to understand the weight of their sin and that doing good works doesn’t erase their sins. Pray for the few Christians there to understand the imperishable inheritance they have in Jesus. See
By 2018 there were 5 billion mobile phone users and over 4 billion using the internet. Desert nomads can watch videos pre-loaded onto their mobile phones. This revolution in communications is increasing the spread of the gospel. Networking tools are being used in astonishing ways. Isolated Muslims who have heard of Jesus or dreamt of a man in dazzling white speaking to them have started to seek Christ via social networking. A project to do this drew over a thousand responses in just one southeast Asian country. When the idea was repeated in the Middle East, the response overwhelmed the available resources. One observer reports that thanks to messaging apps, untold numbers of groups are emerging daily who encourage one another in the Word even in places where the gospel cannot legally go. Pray for creativity and wisdom to make the most of every mission opportunity that presents itself.
Pray for Christians in the Muslim world during the month of Ramadan when Muslims will fast from food and drink during daylight, pray, do acts of charity and give alms. Most Muslims observe Ramadan peacefully, but it creates problems for Christians in Islamic environments. In theory, non-Muslims are not required to fast because it is a form of Islamic worship and one of the five pillars of Islam. However, Christians and other religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries can feel pressured into joining in the severe fast. They will probably be unable to eat in public, creating difficulties for those working outside the home. The month of Ramadan is especially hard for secret believers who converted from Islam but have not told their Muslim families for fear of persecution and even death. They must make the month-long extra commitment to Islamic observance, or risk showing that they have apostatized from Islam.
26 pastors have been explicitly named and included in written threats. A Christian leader from a nearby city said other Christians in the area have also received threats, but still gather for worship, saying, ‘This is God’s work and we will not deny Him. It is difficult, we must face these things. Please pray that we are not discouraged.’ Police have not taken action and are not interested in pursuing those who attack or kill believers. Sometimes the police side with the persecutors. Please pray for the 26 named pastors to be protected from harm. Their names can’t be shared for security reasons, but God knows them. Pray for all Christian leaders in India to receive God’s love and strength, and continue to be resilient in their faith and witness as the attacks against Christian leaders increase daily. Even if they don’t kill in all the cases, the injuries are serious and long-lasting.
With millions of deaths and hundreds of millions of recorded cases around the world, the pandemic has been an enormous global health challenge. Covid restrictions erased all recent reductions in poverty. In 2020 the number of very poor rose. Loneliness, fear, grief, money worries, idleness and overwork caused a 25% increase in anxiety and depression. Pray for the restoration and rebuilding of lives. Pray that the churches worldwide will be ‘like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm’ and for God’s Kingdom to advance. Pray for Churches to make the most of new post-Covid opportunities. Covid normalised video-conferencing for billions and has multiplied opportunities to learn and pray together. Praise God for the Global Fund for Malaria, TB and HIV. Deaths from malaria have dropped 60% since 2000, and HIV is no longer among the ten leading causes of death. Pray for the continued fight against preventable diseases.
Last month we prayed for God to strengthen His church to stand against temptation after high profile scandals led to many leaving Hillsong. Now a statement by the 24-7 Prayer movement said, ‘Some significant concerns relating to Mike Andrea’s role in the local church have been proven and are being addressed by the Trustees of Global Generation Church. Having carefully and prayerfully considered the investigation findings we have asked Mike Andrea to step down as CEO of 24-7 Prayer and are requiring him to submit to personal and professional training and development, to which he has agreed, prior to considering any new role within the organisation that has yet to be defined. Alongside this, we will conduct a full and thorough review of the culture within 24-7 Prayer’s various operational teams and will recruit a new CEO. Pray for God to heal all who have been hurt by inappropriate experiences by Christian leaders.’
The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF), working under the authority of the Ukraine ministry of health, is providing a portal for getting medicines, consumables and equipment to hospitals, health centres and frontline Ukrainian paramedics. It has a window of opportunity and needs to act quickly and decisively. It has appointed experienced volunteers to key roles and has set up a national operation to deliver medical supplies to Ukraine, in partnership with the Keswick Group. Supplies will be received, sorted and packaged near Derby and then sent by lorry to Poland where they have organised a good supply route into a West Ukraine distribution centre operated by a local Christian medical association. Please pray for stamina for the CMF doctors and nurses collecting medical supplies from pharmacies, surgeries and hospitals. Pray for wisdom as they sort the aid and package it, and for safe speedy transport to the areas where it is needed.