Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
On 10 September Prayer Alert reported that government ministers were rejecting Scientists recommendations of Covid jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds. You prayed for the Government to change its mind and step in so that pupils got what was needed according to God’s plans for them (Jeremiah 29:11). On 14 September the Government announced that a Covid jab rollout will start in schools in England. Although they are deemed at very low risk from the disease, factors such as disruption to education tipped the balance.
Christians in Parliament met two days before the cabinet reshuffle and the theme of their service was ‘hope in waiting’. Their worship was based on Psalm 86. With this in mind we can base our prayers for our new and established cabinet members on that psalm: ‘Father among the gods, there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. You created every nation and have a purpose for each one. You created these islands and raised up leaders through generations. We lift today’s leaders to You and pray that each one will bring glory to Your name. Teach each cabinet member Your way forward, help those who are in new offices to humbly learn and quickly grow into the new role you have prepared for them. Lord, inspire their decisions. May the Christians in Parliament continually have Your insights as they rely on You to do marvellous deeds in the coming months and years.’
Ken McCallum, MI5’s director general, warned that the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban is likely to have ‘emboldened’ so-called lone wolf terrorists in the UK. He said that while the terror threat would not change overnight, there could be a ‘morale boost’ for extremists. ‘We need to be vigilant about an increase in inspired terrorism,’ he said. In the past four years a total of 31 late-stage attack plots have been foiled in the UK, including six during the pandemic period. While they were largely Islamic extremist plots, there were also a growing number of attacks planned by extreme right-wing terrorists. He also said, ‘The terrorist threat to the UK, I am sorry to say, is a real and enduring thing.’ Pray for God’s plans for the future security of the UK to be established, and for His wisdom and discernment to flow through everyone working in MI5, border security, internet security, antiterrorism, and military.
Catholic bishops and organisations voiced their opposition to the arms trade, as the UK hosted one of the world’s largest arms fairs on 14-17 September for global governments and military delegations, with over 1,500 companies selling guns, bombs, and other weaponry. A statement from the bishops and other concerned organisations emphasised how conflicts fed by the trade harm the world’s poorest communities, forcing people to become refugees. In 2015 Pope Francis said, ‘Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer is simply for money - money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.’ Pray for all the voices of those peacefully campaigning against the arms trade to be heard so that leaders commit to ending it in pursuit of peace.
The National Day of Prayer for Schools is on 28 September. A few years ago, Scripture Union research found over 95% of UK youth were not connected to a local church. 99% of young people engage in mainstream education. Many believe that if we want to reach the unchurched 95%, we need to learn how to serve our schools and meet these youth where they are. Due to the challenging situation the pandemic created for children, young people, schools, staff and families, church groups across the UK are prayer-walking their communities, praying God’s blessing over their local schools, and seeking God for breakthrough in schools. On 28 September Christians will join an online prayer gathering in the morning, with prayer videos released every hour, before they gather to prayer walk in locations across the UK later. For more information see
There are no official data on absence due to school anxiety. Many affected pupils are labelled truants, but support groups are being flooded with calls. An education lawyer says the pandemic has made an unprecedented crisis even worse. Children with school anxiety may experience physical symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea and headaches before school or have immobilising anxiety, panic attacks or something that seems like a tantrum. They may even threaten to harm themselves if parents make them go to school, yet their parents can be threatened with fines and court action. Fran Morgan helps families with this problem and said it is not about refusal, a child that won't do something: It is about a child that physically can't. Parent groups are warning of a ‘tsunami’ of crippling school-anxiety cases leading to debilitating absence from education. The education department said it was investing £17m in school mental health.
The UK is a hub for dirty money from global criminal activity - bribery, theft of state funds, misuse of public office. It is developed with the aid of companies incorporated in the UK and in its offshore financial centres and invested into luxury UK property, accessing prestigious institutions and privileged lifestyles. An estimated scale of dirty money entering the UK is more than tens of billions of pounds annually. Anonymous companies, where the true owner is hidden, make it difficult to detect the origins of their illicit wealth. The UK is failing to prevent companies registered here being used by money launderers. The secrecy afforded by UK companies - and those registered in offshore financial centres - is facilitating economic crime on a global scale. This must change.
Universities are urged to provide face-to-face teaching when students return this term. Ex-education secretary Gavin Williamson said students should expect to be taught ‘in-person and alongside other students’, although it would be right to stay online when there's a ‘genuine benefit to using technology’. But he warned university leaders, ‘I do not expect to see online learning used as a cost-cutting measure.’ He said that parents would find it odd if students could go to other social activities but were not allowed back into lecture halls. Record numbers of 18-year-olds will be starting university this autumn, and Mr Williamson, speaking via a video link, said students were craving a ‘return to normality’. Teaching students in-person allows them to benefit from the ‘conversations you have around the margins’, and from the support of other students.
The USA and Britain announced they would help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines (not nuclear-armed), taking a major step in challenging China’s broad territorial claims of its exclusive zone in the South China Sea. The announcement is a major step for Australia, which until recent years has been hesitant to push back directly at core Chinese interests. The decision to share technology for naval reactors, even with a close ally, is a major move for President Biden and bound to raise protests by the Chinese and questions from American allies.
Rehman Chishti, former PM’s special envoy for freedom of belief, heard of Action for the Church in Need when it brought Asia Bibi’s husband and daughter to see him. He became more familiar with how ACN aims to make the lives of persecuted people better, and decided to run the London marathon in October on its behalf. However, he slipped a disk, causing serious injury that initially left him barely able to stand. Now he will do the 26 miles walking five kilometres every other day. It is the most he can do due to pain. He said, ‘I will do the walk in segments as I can’t risk injuring myself any more. To me, politics is about fulfilling your commitments. On that basis I am adamant I will do that by walking the duration of the marathon.’