Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
Those who work within our parliament have been put there by God. Romans 13:6 says, ‘This is why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.’ Paul’s letter to Timothy tells us to pray for those in authority so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives. With elections next week, may God inspire wise voting so that those elected produce peaceful lives for their communities. The media is reporting infighting and ignominy in Downing Street. Pray for God to inspire our MPs and advisors to promote truth with humility and honesty. Pray for anything that is hidden to be revealed and for God to use the tangle of accusations to bring positive change and honest discussions. Pray also at this time for all Christians working in politics to shine their wise Godly influence into and onto every discussion and decision. May the hallmark of our society be justice and righteousness.
Almighty God, You desire Spirit-led praise and worship to rise regardless of circumstances. We pray for Your people to fix their eyes upon Jesus, dwelling in peace beyond all understanding, releasing worship to your throne. May Your presence also rest upon our communities, streets and homes, releasing hope, strength and joy so that Your people grow into the persons You intend them to be. Father, may Your people step into situations You have opened for them. We ask you, Abba Father, to reform our nation and release more Christians into every government structure, into commerce, and into industry, so that Your Church influences our society with heaven’s justice and righteousness. Father, send Your fire to remove all the dross; may the wind of Your Spirit blow through Your church in these times of change, shaping every new foundation laid.
We recently prayed for a teacher now in hiding after showing images from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in a lesson about blasphemy. In the wake of the furore Ms Akram, a Muslim Labour councilor, posted a message on Facebook saying she was 'shocked and saddened' that the teacher was forced to go into hiding. She added, 'To the teacher, if you need to leave Batley - which I wouldn't blame you! - come to Slough. We will welcome you and your family.' Her local Muslim community say Ms Akram was disrespecting the Prophet, and now she is receiving death threats. A petition is now online with over 1,300 signatures describing her as 'evil'. Angry protesters have picketed Slough Borough Council for three weeks demanding she resign. Pray for the education authority and schools curriculums to be free to decide what children are taught in school - not parents.
TikTok is facing legal challenges from the former children's commissioner for England over how it uses children's data. The claim is filed on behalf of millions of UK and EU children who have used the video-sharing app. TikTok takes children's phone numbers, videos, exact location and biometric data, without sufficient warning, transparency or the necessary parental consent required by law. The children could each be owed thousands of pounds. TikTok said the case was without merit and would fight it. In 2019, TikTok was fined $5.7m by the Federal Trade Commission for mishandling children's data. Also, South Korea fined them because of how they collected children's data, and they were investigated by the UK's information commissioner's office because Musical.ly, which is incorporated into TikTok, was hosting content published by users aged under 13. 13.44% of British 8- to 12-year-olds use TikTok, despite its policies forbidding under-13s on the platform.
Fares Maatou, aged 14, was stabbed to death trying to defend his school friend from the 14- and 15-year-old attackers who rode away on his electric bicycle. The attack happened at 4.00 pm in east London, and Fares was still wearing his school uniform. Two boys were arrested, and another 15-year-old boy is also being held in connection with the murder. Pray for Fares’ family as they mourn the loss, and for the school friends who saw the attack. Two days earlier a 14-year-old schoolgirl was dragged into bushes and raped as she walked on open land near Wigan. The attack happened between 4.00 and 5:30 pm. A 14-year-old boy has been arrested. Pray for the girl, who is now receiving care from specialist officers. Pray also for her family as they cope with the after effects of the incident.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of joining a London protest twelve years ago and speaking to the BBC Persian service. Her husband said she has not been taken to prison yet; she plans to appeal against the sentence. Mr Ratcliffe said, ‘The threat is there, and it is bigger than we were fearing. I think the worst case got a bit closer.’ He maintains that his wife was imprisoned as leverage for a debt owed by the UK over its failure to deliver tanks to Iran in 1979; also, her case may be caught up with the negotiations over limiting Iran's nuclear material enrichment. Her sentence may indicate that the Iranian regime is unhappy with the negotiations taking place in Vienna. Things could get worse for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other jailed dual nationals.
Arlene Foster announced her resignation as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and as NI first minister after an internal revolt. Mrs Foster said she would step down as DUP leader on 28 May, and as first minister at the end of June. Her decision came after she had to face a revolt among her party's representatives. Over twenty DUP NI assembly members and four MPs had signed a letter voicing no confidence in her leadership. She had become party leader in December 2015. Pray for the outworkings of Brexit and the Irish Sea border to be resolved amicably by her replacement. Pray for GB-NI trade difficulties to be diplomatically resolved, with restored trust in each other’s purposes and policies. Pray also for assembly members, worried about retaining their seats, to put loyalty in serving their country above their own political interests. See
The Archbishops' anti-racism taskforce report calls for urgent changes. Failure to act could be the ‘last straw’ for many from the UK minority ethnic (UKME) backgrounds. Setting out 47 action areas across participation, governance, training, education and young people, the report states that racism is a sin. The church has been discussing the issue for 44 years. The nine-strong taskforce was set up in autumn 2020 to review previous reports of racial justice, discover whether their recommendations had been implemented, and prepare the ground for the establishment of a longer-term Commission on Racial Justice. One of the report’s main recommendations is the recruitment of more bishops and senior members of the church from UKME backgrounds, with suggested quotas. It highlights the fact that the new Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, is the only UKME bishop in the Church of England.
On 16 April university students had a day of action to demand fee refunds because Covid-19 has affected their education. When they signed up for university they were promised sufficient access to facilities, course equipment, and social contact to help them achieve their degrees. But they were limited to internet zoom lectures of variable standard and still expected to pay the full price. The Write Off, Right Now (WORN) group is applying pressure on the government to refund fees because they did not receive value for money. WORN asked students nationwide to ‘take over’ social media to spread the message of the unfair demand for full fees. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson instructed the Office for Students ‘to take swift action where quality and academic standards have dropped’. An online petition, calling for tuition fees to be cut had received over 580,000 signatures in three days.
1 Cor 3:11 tells us, ‘No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ’. Years ago, Scotland was the ‘Land of The Book’. A Bible would be open on many kitchen tables, but today the word of God lies mainly forgotten and unused on shelves (as in the rest of the UK). When Holyrood opened, everyone believed MSPs would act and pass laws according to the words on the ceremonial mace: ‘Wisdom, Justice, Compassion, Integrity’. However, departing from God’s word has resulted in declining personal and national morals, with lawlessness increased, as predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2. The media regularly expose lack of righteousness in many areas of society today, including politicians. A recent newspaper article stated, ‘We deserve the politicians we get’. We can ask God to lead Scotland to select MSPs who hold dear to Christian values and place serving others above their own interests.