Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
On 11 May the Queen set out the government's priorities at the state opening of Parliament. She said her government would ‘deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the UK stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before’. Pray that Ministers can now start making progress beyond the twelve-month pandemic emergency, and give more time to push through laws to make manifesto promises real. May their plans provide all that is needed to succeed. The Queen also said the government would ‘strengthen the economic ties across the union, investing in and improving national infrastructure’ Pray for our government to stand strong in all that God intends it to do in the coming season. Other topics covered included education, women's rights, freeports, internet safety, the environment, modernising planning laws, and discouraging asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel. Pray that the PM’s ‘rocket boosters’ agenda would successfully repair all that is damaged.
Following the announcement in the Queen’s Speech that the Government will ban conversion therapy, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, chair of the Living in Love and Faith Next Steps Group, said: ‘The Church of England believes that all people are made in the image of God and must be cherished for who they are. The General Synod has voted overwhelmingly to reject coercive conversion therapies, so we welcome the Government’s commitment to explore these matters further with a view to enshrining that position in law. We recognise the difficulties in defining conversion therapies, and look forward to working closely with the Government to develop a viable definition and subsequent legislation. We want to prevent abuses of power, and ensure that issues of consent are made absolutely central to any future legislation.’ Pray for people to recognise that gay conversion therapy is unethical, harmful, and not supported by evidence.
Children as young as six are being forced to carry and sell drugs far away from their homes. They are made to skip school, sleep in drug dens, and keep secrets from their loved ones. They are treated as criminals when they often feel trapped in a hopeless situation. Prayer is needed to break these cycles of crime, abuse, and exploitation. The Children’s Society helps children affected by criminal exploitation, and works hard to stop it and make sure it doesn’t define a young person’s future. Young people who have been exploited who come to the society are treated as victims, not criminals. They are helped to rebuild their trust and provision is made so that they are not targeted by criminal groups again. Pray for the success of the Disrupting Exploitation Programme which makes children safer, gives them a better understanding of exploitation, and improves their relationships with family and friends.
A leading scientist and member of SAGE says the lockdown easing in June ‘could be delayed', as Indian variant cases are increasing in UK hotspots. Vaccine developers are asserting we will need annual boosters or new vaccines to tackle variants, but some scientists are questioning whether this will be needed. When Pfizer said people could need annual boosters, the ex-director of Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case. Scientists said anticipation around the need for boosters is being set by pharmaceutical executives not health specialists, though ‘preparing for such a need as a precaution was prudent’. The director of WHO’s department of Immunisation said, ‘We don't see the data yet that would inform a decision about whether or not booster doses are needed.’
Pray for God’s Spirit to be moving over the UK, so that His people will rise above the issues of the day, putting their eyes not upon the things of the world, but filling their hearts and minds with the realities of the Kingdom of Heaven. Pray that His Kingdom dwells within us, that life itself comes from Him, that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are connected to the very root and branch which brings forth life. May God’s people live moment by moment according to the heartbeat of God. As vaccines, variants, waiting lists, and the future are discussed, pray for God’s people to trust in the Living God, recognising His power to heal, deliver and to save, so that as we step into the fullness of His Spirit available to us, healings within communities and churches will increase.
Fraud and error on the main Universal Credit (UC) benefit have reached record levels, according to new official figures. The department for work and pensions reported £8.4bn lost in 2020-21, almost entirely due to fraud and almost double the previous year. The number of people on UC has doubled to six million since the pandemic started. Officials said the increased fraud is a product of more people applying for the benefit, and the value of each fraudulent case rising, rather than a higher proportion of people engaging in fraud. It can be as simple as individuals claiming money to which they are not entitled, like not declaring income from other sources. More complex cases involve criminal gangs stealing people's details to apply for advance payments of UC. The money is paid to them, but the person whose identity has been stolen gets the bill.
At the height of the recent riots in Northern Ireland, Leading The Way launched a social media campaign. ‘After seeing the riots in Belfast, we decided to reach out on social media to young people across the city with these messages of hope from Dr. Youssef, as well as offering a free Finding True Peace booklet.’ The scale of the response was surprising, unexpected - and a huge answer to many prayers! On Facebook, tens of thousands of young people watched the videos. Nearly 400 people visited the Finding True Peace website, which explains how Jesus provides the only hope to people who increasingly need to know the love of God in their lives. On YouTube, over 17,000 people watched the video. 30% were under 24 years of age, and from Northern Ireland. See
Two Royal Navy ships are returning home after a protest by French fishermen over post-Brexit rights in Jersey’s territorial waters ended. Sixty French boats had been blockading the port of St Helier, which is why the two warships were deployed. The fishermen said their rights were being unfairly restricted by licences issued under the new system, but after ‘positive’ discussions between the two sides they returned home. The French government expressed the hope that the dispute would be swiftly resolved and that the new trade deal would be fully implemented. Boris Johnson said he was pleased the situation had been resolved for now, but the Government is still ‘on standby’ if Jersey needs further assistance.
Last week you prayed for the UK to settle the debt they owe to Iran, so that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe can finally be released from prison. Please keep praying. This week the UK and Iran are in discussions over the £400m that the UK owes for failing to deliver tanks Iran bought in the 1970s. Nazanin believes she has been imprisoned as leverage for the debt. Boris Johnson said ministers were doing ‘everything we can to look after her interests and all the very difficult dual national cases we have in Tehran’. On 1 May Iranian state TV suggested the UK had paid the debt - but the Government said nothing had changed.
COP26 will be held in Glasgow in November and countries must set ambitious goals for bold climate action. The G7 summit will be held in Cornwall in June. As host nation, the UK will have an important role in influencing the discussions of climate issues. This week the Government announced radical new commitments to cut carbon emissions by 78%, fifteen years earlier than the previous target. This would be a world-leading position. Covid-19 paused climate emissions - but they are rising again. Hitting targets requires more electric cars, low-carbon heating, renewable electricity and reducing meat and dairy consumption. Climate laws will extend to cover international aviation and shipping. Consequently, homes will need better insulation, people must drive less and walk and cycle more, and expect expensive aviation fees for frequent fliers. See also this week’s World article ‘Rising sea levels threatening my home.’