The Prayer Shield is a 365-day prayer initiative for God's plans and purposes to be manifest in the UK. The vision is to unite thousands in a shield of prayer over the nation for 365 days. Leaders of diverse denominations and expressions will lead daily prayers, declarations, and blessings for the nation. Christians across the country are invited to join this initiative for a few minutes each day to say a short prayer, make a declaration from God’s Word, and pronounce a blessing for the United Kingdom. At a time when issues of racial injustice and discrimination are causing so much pain in our society, intercessors are catching the vision of God changing things.
English children will be able to access free books online during school closures via a virtual library. After schools moved to remote learning, internet classroom Oak National Academy (ONA) created the library, which will provide a book a week from its author of the week. The aim is to increase access for young readers, particularly the most disadvantaged, to ebooks and audiobooks. ONA is funded by the Department for Education and has provided over 28 million lessons since 4 January. The National Literacy Trust said many children's literacy skills had been profoundly affected by the first lockdown and school closures. ‘We will do everything in our power to support children, families and teachers during this new lockdown period.’
The sister of a young Christian woman in ICU fighting for her life said their family has been spiritually strengthened by the amount of people that are praying for a miracle. Hannah Montagu suffered a brain haemorrhage on 10 January and is in a coma. Her sister Abbie said doctors gave Hannah two days to show improvement, otherwise they would start end of life care. Then, after surgery, Hannah showed improvements by moving her arms and legs, so she has been given more time so that she can rest and fight. Hannah’s family haven’t been able to visit her in hospital. All they could do was pray and invite people to join in. On 21 January she came off the ventilator and now breathes on her own. There are daily prayer meetings, which anyone can join, for Hannah on Zoom at 10am and 8pm. Now thousands are praying for her brainstem to be restored.
The Christian Medical Fellowship has prepared a seven-day prayer guide for Christian healthcare workers. The first three days in this resource are: 1) Pray that they step out each day in faith and not fear. Pray that they would call to mind God’s sovereignty, steadfast love, and faithfulness and keep looking to Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of their faith 2) Pray for them to be the fragrance of Christ in healthcare at this time of crisis, to shine like stars in the sky as they hold firmly to the word of life. Pray for boldness to make the most of the many opportunities to share the hope and love of Christ with patients and colleagues. 3) Pray for the joy of the Lord to be their strength, especially when surrounded by sickness, death, anxiety, pain and despair. For the full seven days of this resource, click the ‘More’ button.
By 9am on 20 January large parts of England and Wales experienced severe rain disruption on roads and railways. 2,000 properties in Greater Manchester were evacuated overnight. More residents were evacuated in Wales and Merseyside as heavy rain and snow fell. High rivers called for warnings of danger to life at Didsbury, Northenden, and Maghull. Despite the best efforts of all agencies, more evacuations have been necessary, and people advised to evacuate must do so urgently. Pray for all needing rescuing to be reached, and for those ravaged by 2019 floods who are now watching water rise again. Covid-safe emergency centres are in leisure centres. There are 130 flood warnings and 225 flood alerts, and most of England, Wales and NI have yellow weather warnings. The Met Office said Christoph is not a traditional storm; most disruption is by rain, and ‘we are going to see further rain over the next 24 to 36 hours’.
The over 70s and ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ are now being called to vaccination appointments because of good progress being made. The vaccine program should lead to 'marked reductions' in deaths from early March. Excellent data from Israel records vaccinating 20% of the over-60s and two weeks later seeing a marked reduction in serious illness and deaths in that group. It is hoped that after mid-February we will see a marked reduction in death and serious illness. Because those most at risk of death are being prioritised for vaccination, hospital and death numbers could fall faster than case numbers. The vaccine deployment minister said that there are a lot of unknowns, and because of them he does not want to over-promise and under-deliver.
‘Jewish people today on campus can be tolerated, protected or abused. At no point are they treated as equals.’ (David Collier, Academia, 18 January) This Jew-hate, cloaked in anti-Zionism, is a doctrine claiming that the Jewish state, alone among the nations, has no right to exist. The Government has tried to persuade universities to adopt the threat of removal of funding streams, but this is often bitterly opposed by certain academic staff desperate to remain unchallenged in their bully pulpits. As of autumn 2020 only 29 of 133 higher education institutions had complied. Some British universities are now virtually free of Jews. This is a chilling indictment not just of British academia but of a liberal democratic society that has tolerated a wave of discrimination against Jews sweeping through universities over recent decades. In 1938 the leading Nazi student newspaper triumphantly proclaimed, ‘The goal is achieved! No more Jews at German universities.’
A number of elections will take place on 6 May, including those postponed in 2020. These will be for local councils, mayors, police and crime commissioners, and members of the London Assembly and the Welsh and Scottish parliaments. We can pray for the Lord of Heaven and earth to be in every preparation leading up to these elections. We are in a season of financial shaking and pandemic challenges. Pray for God to release an atmosphere of health, safety, security and wellbeing to the various cultural and ethnic groups in our society. God’s word states, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation’, so we can pray for Him to release His righteousness into every aspect of national and local government. May His purposes be fulfilled in and through every business and government department’s decision. Pray for honour and integrity to increase in all political agendas.