Displaying items by tag: Religion
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and World Without Orphans (WWO) are calling on churches to help in a crisis. The ‘Lancet Child and adolescent health modelling report’, by national and international government and non government organisations, estimates that over seven million children globally have lost a parent or caregiver due to Covid-19. They estimate that for every person killed by Covid, one child is orphaned or loses a caregiver. That equates to one child every six seconds facing a heightened risk of lifelong adversity unless given support in time. Rev Dr Rebecca Goropevsek said, ‘We encourage church leaders to read the report and prayerfully consider how the pandemic has affected families and children in their own context and what support they can offer. Pray for families that are safe and nurturing to adopt and foster orphans; and for communities to protect vulnerable children from adversity and violence.
A court has acquitted nine men who were sentenced to five years in prison for attending a house church in a ‘landmark decision’ for Iranian Christians. They were imprisoned in 2019 for ‘acting against national security’ and ‘promoting Zionist Christianity’. In November 2021 the supreme court ordered a review of their case, arguing that ‘going to church does not mean Christians are enemies of the state’. On 7 March all nine were released when the appeal court judges found there was ‘insufficient evidence’ of them acting against national security as they had only ‘worshipped in the house-church, and Christians are taught to live in obedience, submission and support of the authorities’. Earlier this year Christian agencies which have been supporting their case called on the UN to help Persian speakers in Iran to have the right for a place of worship.
The CofE's Diocese in Europe has joined forces with mission agency USPG to launch an emergency appeal to support Christian charities and churches carrying out humanitarian work both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. They have partners on the ground providing food, medicine, shelter, care for children and people internally displaced in Ukraine. With refugees they are supplying care at the border and beyond, including attention to those from Africa and Asia as well as Ukrainians who are fleeing the war. The archbishop of Tanzania has called on the UN to take urgent action to support over two million displaced people, particularly children, the elderly, and those most vulnerable. He has urged all member states to do what they can to support the UN in its vital work caring for those forced to flee.
Ukraine’s Christians are openly seeking God to calm and ease their pain, and Psalm 31 has a special meaning in their hearts. Countless Ukrainians are reciting it from their bunkers and other safe locations as they turn to the Lord in praise and adoration. They are finding strength, rest, comfort, and stronger faith in God’s Word. The British and Foreign Bible Society said, ‘Psalm 31 is becoming really significant for the entire nation.’ We also can read it and join in spirit those in shelters who are desperately praying for aggression to end. ‘In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me.’
The Kremlin is considering imposing martial law on its own citizens, the EU suggests. Russia's economy has descended into turmoil. The rouble is at a 10-year record low, anti-war protests continue in Moscow and St Petersburg, and the bloc was picking up speculation on social media about potential Russian plans, which it said would be ‘completely home-produced’. At a morning press conference, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western politicians of considering nuclear war, and said Moscow would press on with its military operation in Ukraine ‘until the end’. Ukraine Christians have matured over the years of fighting for freedom for their country and are depending on help from God more than support from America or Europe. In Russia, Christian revival is already growing despite much pressure from state authorities. Father God, we ask You to bring about Your outcome to this crisis. Replace error with truth and where there is darkness bring Your light.
In war, victory lies not in defeating an army but in securing the willing submission of a population. Stability is the outcome needed, not a passing triumph of arms. Putin has misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainians and world opinion. He has misjudged the capability of the military tool he employed to secure his political goal. It is likely that the very brutal success of his military will ensure he fails to achieve his political objective of a stable and pliant Ukraine. The irony is that, even if he wins the war, he will lose the peace – for there will be no peace to keep. We can ask God to empower and encourage the Ukrainians in the midst of unimaginable conflict and confusion. Pray for God's provision of a canopy of His presence and protection over all who are under attack, and for those fleeing to achieve their goals.
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) reported some truly stunning numbers surrounding its international mission’s efforts, noting impressive increases in baptisms and sharing the Gospel throughout 2020. ‘We’ve seen the Holy Spirit working across the globe in mighty ways,’ said Wilson Geisler of its International Mission Board. There was a 62% increase in new believers between 2019 and 2020, rising from 89,000 to over 144,000. During the same period, baptisms swelled 81% - from 47,929 to 86,587. That is not all: 769,494 people heard the Gospel in 2020, up from 535,325 in 2019, with 18,380 churches planted across the globe in 2020. Most evangelism increases took place in South Asia, where 89% of the baptisms unfolded, and 97% of new churches were planted. These statistics are particularly fascinating amid the backdrop of a pandemic that left many domestic and global churches shuttered, restricted, or otherwise quieted.
You are a God of justice,
the one who rules in righteousness.
You sweep away oppression,
by a high and mighty politician.
Lord, remove abuse of power,
let the cunning plan turn sour.
May Your angel armies win the day
as your people faithfully watch and pray.
Every Generation Ministries bring the transformed life Jesus intends for children in Ukraine. Ukraine is home to over six million children and 5,000 evangelical churches. Russia and the West have battled over influence in Ukraine before. After the annexation of Crimea, thousands of children were displaced from their homes to live in fear and uncertainty. The country is in turmoil again and the world is praying for peace. Ask God to invigorate the church to reach out to searching people during this time of tumult. Pray for boys and girls who are experiencing tremendous fear and anxiety during the current unrest and those still recovering from 2014. Ask God to give church leaders wisdom as they navigate the tensions of civilians bearing arms, bombs, and millions fleeing. Christians in the town of Lviv are deploying a shield of prayer and worship. In an upper room African Christians are praying for their host country, ready to be Jesus’ hands and feet to those who must flee. On the other side of Lviv pastors meet, plan and pray the battle for freedom. In separatist areas Christians forbidden from meeting together meet secretly. Ukraine’s vibrant Jewish community of 200,000 is one of the largest in the world. Many elderly Jews are comfortable with Russians as their neighbours. When their men served in the Soviet army during WWII they couldn’t imagine then that Russia would attack Ukraine. ‘I’m following the news,’ said Vera, a 68-year-old Jewish lady who practises Heseds (generously lovingly helping others). ‘I pray daily to God. I’m trying to cheer up my fellow-seniors.’
God gives some the vocation of serving Him by running a business. Kingdom businesses are businesses with God's perspectives. The world is hungry for thousands of new businesses to be created, and places where the gospel is least well-known often have the highest unemployment and the deepest poverty. Countries which close the door to missionaries often open it wide for business people. Kingdom businesses are an essential part of seeing God’s Kingdom impact every sphere of society. Pray that the Lord will call workers into the harvest field from among business entrepreneurs and professionals in the Church. Pray for essential business skills and resources to be released in greater number for global mission and to address the most pressing economic, social, environmental and spiritual needs: fighting poverty, freeing slaves, providing for communities, creating good jobs, and bringing the gospel to the ends of the earth. Pray for more resources to provide support for mentoring, training, startup, member care, prayer, and knowledge-sharing networks.