Millions have experienced loneliness in our efforts to stay safe and save lives. A survey of UK adults nine months into Covid-19 revealed 24% had feelings of loneliness in the previous fortnight. By March 2021 depression had increased by 240%. Pray for God to watch over the nation and give us perception and peace as we continue to adapt to keeping safe as we come out of lockdown and begin contacting more people. Doing good is good for our mental health. As restrictions ease, may more of us take the opportunity to help someone else feeling lonely. Pray for hope to arise as more people are immunised and as science prepares the way forward for physical and emotional healing, and pray for God to minister spiritual healing.
A former Labour first minister of Scotland, Henry McLeish, has criticised the Scottish Government for a failure of responsibility over its unlawful handling of sexual harassment complaints against Alex Salmond, and branded it ‘bizarre’ there had been no resignations. Conservatives had already declared Nicola Sturgeon guilty and wanted her to resign before she gave evidence on 3 March. There are still significant issues to be resolved and concerns about the ability of the committee investigating the government’s actions to complete its work before parliament breaks for the election campaign on 25 March.
The following is from Prayer Canopy over Europe: ‘Pray for more Christians to serve the world of politics as advocates and lobbyists in a holistic way. In the past British lobbyists have been the backbone of the profession in Brussels and highly sought after. Pray that Brexit will not diminish the Christian voice in Brussels, but that Christians from other countries will step into the breach. Please pray for Christian politicians to see clearly when their Christian calling needs them to depart from their party line, and for God to send them people to give godly unbiased counsel and to pray for them. Pray that they may be given the strength to resist the temptations which come to those who have an onerous and influential job to do whilst living a private lonely existence away from home and family.
A March prayer letter for Germany addresses intercessors everywhere to view our identity. Does it come from what we achieve (outwardly) or from our relationship with God (inwardly)? May our identity lie in being sons and daughters of God, hidden with Christ. The significance that He attributes to us could not be greater: chosen by him, created for good works, partakers of his divine nature, raised with him from the dead, seated in the heavenly realms. We are also challenged to consider how we prepare ourselves for the future, especially as we continue to live under the restrictions of the pandemic. Pray and care for those in special need; pray for the kingdom of God to be established within Germany and also in your country.
Over a dozen lives are claimed in nightly raids in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On 1 March Italian diplomats and World Food Programme workers were killed in an attack on a UN convoy. Officials blame the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, for this incident - the latest in a disturbing trend. Armed groups have killed over a thousand civilians in eastern DRC since late 2019. ‘In 2021, we’ve seen mass attacks by these Muslim extremists,’ said Voice of the Martyrs Canada. There are more than 100 armed groups operating in DRC. Not all of them are Islamic, but those that are have one goal in mind. They are radical, and even though they may have lost some control in places like Iraq and Syria they’re doing whatever they can to cause destruction, particularly where a large majority of people are Christian.
Four Christian men were beaten and scarred by knives carving Xs on their skin, and forced to eat sheets of the Bible in a recent shocking incident in Venezuela. The perpetrators are believed to oppose the work of Restoration House, a church-led drug rehabilitation programme in the city of Libertador, which the four victims had joined. Threats had been made against the house before the attack. In Latin America, the illegal activities of drug gangs are endangered by churches who deter people from criminality. This can lead to opposition, which explains this latest Venezuelan incident. The men have since been discharged from hospital. One remains in particularly poor health, with injuries to his lungs and head and two broken ribs. Two others have their legs and arms in casts. Pray for God to surround them with His healing presence, and that they will continue their recoveries from drug addiction and grow in their walks with Jesus.
Myanmar's military fired the country's ambassador to the UN after he called for the army to be removed from power. The security forces are intensifying their crackdown on protesters with live ammunition, killing many. A police major resigned in a show of solidarity with anti-coup protesters, saying, ‘I don’t want to continue serving under the current military regime.’ He had been with the Special Branch since 1989. See Christians in the country are asking for help because they have lived under military leadership for decades. They don’t want it back. But the church is not all aligned. Some think they need to be peaceful; others are more activist in nature. Please pray for the safety of Christians in Myanmar. Asian Access said, ‘If you have any way of connecting with people there, sending them words of encouragement is a huge help. You could even send messages to asianaccess.org. We could send those messages along, and say, “People are praying for you, they care about you”.’
Handicap International’s involvement in Thai refugee camps gives children the opportunity to be a cared-for child. Being a child in poverty and stress is particularly challenging if you are disabled. Since 1984, Thailand has sheltered people fleeing Myanmar’s violence in camps along the border. Some refugees were born in the camps and have never set foot outside. Most are Karen, a mixed people group without a shared language or religion. Since the 1940s, ongoing conflicts between Karen separatists and the Burmese army have forced many to flee. 400,000 Karen people are homeless. Camp conditions are extremely poor; in the past cholera and malaria have occurred. Children suffer from chronic malnutrition and respiratory infections. There is no electricity, phone signal, healthcare, or education.