PRAYING FOR THE LIBERATION OF AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
There is still a lot of fighting going on in the country and nearly daily Afghan policemen and soldiers are being killed. The Taliban are still inflicting heavy casualties on the Afghan forces in some areas. Pray that the Afghan and International forces will prevail and root out and defeat the Taliban wherever they are.
This month’s prayer points:
1. Pray the Taliban be caught and their networks destroyed. Pray that the Taliban leaders are captured, that their unity is broken and their supply lines cut off. Pray that more tribal areas where the Taliban come from would stand up against them and not allow these terrorists to go through and/or use their lands.
2 Pray for the president of Afghanistan to change and stop making offensive/damaging remarks that cause distrust among the ethnic groups and the International forces. Pray that the country stays together in unity.
3 Pray for the elections for Afghanistan’s president (a year from now). It is time to pray for the right candidate to come forward. In the meantime pray for good relationships between the Afghan government and Western forces.
4 Pray for the expats and local believers to be given courage and strength to stand and pray as they are key to prayer happening inside the country. Pray for the protection of the undercover International prayer teams in the country at present. Ask that God would give them clear direction as to how to pray. Pray that the Lord will expose and pull up the roots from which the Taliban draws its power. Pray that Afghan forces, supported by local villagers and the International forces will be effective in defeating and dislodging them.
Almost 175 houses were burnt in a mob attack by some 12,000 Muslims on a Christian community in Lahore. A Christian youth has been falsely accused and put in jail under the Blasphemy law. Almost 150 Christian families were forced to flee the area. One militant cleric said that they must cut the Christians into pieces. The Taliban have remained a serious threat and continue to launch attacks throughout the northwest and other parts of the country with frightening regularity. There is concern that the militants could step up the pace of attacks even more in an attempt to derail parliamentary elections scheduled for May 11.
This month’s prayer points
1. Pray for the Pakistani army to have good success in rooting out the Taliban and defeating them across the country and that the Taliban will not be able to disrupt the national parliamentary elections set for May 11.
2. Pray for a fair, uncorrupted election campaign and for honest, good leaders to be put into power and for the wicked to be brought down or kept from getting into power.
3. Pray for a team of prayer leaders who are there during the coming week that they will be given great unity with the locals, strong faith, deep discernment and confident authority in Christ to deal with the spiritual darkness and strongholds of this important nation.
4 Pray the Lord would grant dreams and visions of Jesus to people with influence, leaders and even the Taliban themselves resulting in many coming to Christ.
Source: International Prayer Council
SYRIAN CHURCHES INVITE CHRISTIANS WORLDWIDE TO JOIN THEM IN DAY OF PRAYER FOR SYRIA
Most churches in Syria will unite in prayer next weekend in many places around the war-torn nation. This will be an extraordinary show of Christian unity in Syria, where the on-going civil war has claimed over 70,000 lives. Syrian Christians are asking their brothers and sisters around the world to pray and fast with them on the Day of Prayer for Syria on Saturday May 11. As Christians in Syria continue to suffer from the devastating effects of the two-year-old civil war including killings, kidnappings, homelessness, lack of food and shelter and closing of schools; they are also seeing that God’s hand is at work as all denominations are joining in passionate prayer.
The Australian Prayer Network is joining in this International initiative by urging our readers to join with Syrian Believers on May 11 and pray for the country of Syria and to encourage prayer in their churches on May 12 thus standing together across the world as one in Christ. A letter received from those coordinating The Day of Prayer for Syria reads in part, “The Christian Church is experiencing a deep humanitarian crisis that is leading to the rapid loss of hope. In the face of violence and persecution, we are striving to keep our eyes on the Lord and seek His face for our country. Even in pain, suffering and death, God is using the Church to accomplish His plan.”
On Saturday, May 11, Christians from different denominations such as Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant/Evangelical are joining together in prayer and fasting to plead before the Lord for His mercy on Syria and an end to the violence. Due to the dangers of traveling in combat zones, Christians will be limited to local meetings planned all across Syria during this day.These groups will be meeting in homes, arenas and churches. Christians across Syria have asked that you join them in prayer on May 11. “Thank you for standing in the gap on behalf of the Syrian people and reflecting the love of Christ in your acts of worship.”
In Damascus, some of the churches will meet in an arena, but there will be prayer in several suburbs of the city. The entire Christian community in Aleppo and the surrounding area is gathering to pray. “This is a huge undertaking as a day of prayer with almost all denominations participating has never happened in Syria before,” said a Syrian church leader. This is a fight for a nation that was one of the first nations in the world to be impacted by the message of the Gospel of Christ. They need us, the Global Christian Community to stand with them before God, to love and support them. Let us not let them stand alone.
The Church in Syria is asking us to pray for:
* The release of two Orthodox bishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi,who were kidnapped April 23 in Aleppo, and many other Christians who are missing.
* Counselling for children who have been traumatized by the ongoing violence in Syria and the return of peace to this troubled nation.
* For the almost one-third of the Syrian population who are either refugees outside the country or homeless inside Syria.
Source: Compiled by APN from various sources
FRANCE LEGALISES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Same-sex marriage has become law in France despite strong opposition. France becomes the 14th country worldwide and the ninth in Europe to legalise same-sex marriage after a vote in the French Parliament. The law also makes it possible for the first time for people to adopt regardless of their sexual orientation. Same-sex marriage was voted in by 331 votes to 225 following months of protests and heated debate between supporters and opponents. Opposition has sometimes been violent, with an increase in attacks on homosexual people and establishments. As the debate was taking place in the parliament, riot police were stationed outside to keep the peace.
Anglican Mainstream in Britain said: “Many Christians will regret the outcome of the vote for ‘same-sex marriage’ in the French Parliament, which highlights concerns about news management in the mainstream media in Western societies. “The key issue of how marriage contributes so significantly to the flourishing of human society,” is rarely raised in media commentary.” “Although this matter is of particular significance to Christians its ramifications extend into society as a whole: for example, its implications for what teachers will be required to teach children about same sex practice.”
Earlier, hundreds of thousands of people took part in a final protest in the streets of Paris against the bill. There were scuffles and police fired tear gas as the protest spilled over onto the Champs Elysees. Interior Minister Manuel Valls said there had been dozens of arrests. Opinion polls which suggested a majority of French people still supported same-sex marriage showed that those numbers had fallen in the weeks before the vote. Banners held up along the march route read: “We want work not gay marriage”. Police had banned the protesters from the Champs Elysees, but groups of them broke through to the avenue.
Source: Christian Today
ORTHODOX LEADER AT POPE’S INAUGURATION A SIGN OF IMMENSE HOPE
The attendance of the Orthodox Church’s Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople at the recent inauguration of the new Pope is being described as an historic moment for Christianity. It is the first time such an event has taken place since the Great Schism of 1054. Alyson Barnett-Cowan who facilitates the Anglican Communion’s global dialogues with other Christian world communions said from Rome “It is a sign of immense hope for the unityof Christians everywhere that the Ecumenical Patriarch, the leader of the Orthodox Church, attended the inauguration of Pope Francis, the first time since the split of Eastern and Western Christians over a thousand years ago.”
Relations between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches have been improving since the Second Vatican Council through mutual visits, acts of friendship and theological dialogue. Immediately following the election of Pope Francis, His All-Holiness wrote to Pope Francis: “In the joy and jubilation of Your election as the pastoral leader of Roman Catholic Christians throughout the world, we are communicating with Your Holiness in order to express to You and the devout faithful of Your blessed Church our wholehearted congratulations and sincerest salutations on this special day.
“Permit us also, on this historic occasion, to convey our unfeigned wishes and fervent prayers that your papal tenure may prove to be a source of peace in our world of turmoil and division, a refuge and consolation for our Lord’s poor and suffering brothers and sisters, as well as a continuation of our journey toward reconciliation and consolidation of the dialogue for the unity of our Sister Churches. May God grant Your Holiness many years of healthy and fruitful ministry to serve His people with Your distinctive humility, simplicity and charity.”
Source: Assist News
STUDY PROVES POSITIVE IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD SPONSORSHIP
A recent independent study undertaken by Dr Bruce Wydick at the University of San Francisco reveals that sponsorship of children in overseas countries is not only making a difference in the lives of children now, but for years and decades to come. The study reveals large and statistically significant impacts on life outcomes for children enrolled in Compassion International’s Christian child sponsorship program. “We were surprised to see that no research had ever been done to determine if child sponsorship really works,” said Wydick, “So we conducted a study of Compassion’s program in 6 countries we believed to be representative of its work around the globe.
We found that their child-centred development approach to sponsorship has many strong, positive impacts on the adult life outcomes of formerly sponsored children.” Compassion sponsored children stay in school 1 to 1.5 years longer than their non-sponsored peers. An extra year of schooling could have long-lasting impact on a child’s future employment possibilities as an adult. Former Compassion sponsored children were 27-40% more likely to finish secondary education than those not enrolled in the child sponsorship program. Former Compassion sponsored children were 50-80% more likely to complete a university education than non-sponsored children.
As adults, former Compassion sponsored children were 14-18% more likely to have salaried employment and were roughly 35% more likely to secure white-collar employment than their non-sponsored peers. Former Compassion sponsored children were 30-75% more likely to become community leaders as adults than their non-sponsored peers and 40-70% more likely to become church leaders as adults than their non-sponsored peers. In total Wydick studied over 1,850 formerly sponsored children in six different countries where Compassion offered child sponsorship programs between 1980 and 1992. In all, the team collected data on 10,144 people.
Source: PR Web
AFTER 330 MILLION ABORTIONS IN CHINA GENDER IMBALANCE CAUSES CONCERN
In the 40 years of China’s so-called “family planning” policy being in effect – and brutally enforced – there have been more than 330 million abortions performed in the country. It’s this horrific reality that human rights advocates such as Chen Guangcheng – who escaped his forced house arrest in China last year, seeking refuge at the U.S. embassy and eventually on American soil – have risked their lives and their family members’ lives in order to expose this inhumane law to the world. Since 1971, when the one-child rule was put in place to limit population, doctors in China “have performed 336 million abortions and 196 million sterilizations,” according to data.
To put those numbers in perspective the estimated amount of abortions in the U.S. over the same period is about 50 million. However, the population of the United States is only one-quarter of China’s. Amid these sad statistics, there is a small glimmer of hope. The current Chinese parliament may soften the one-child policy enforcement due to concern over the resulting “gender imbalance.” China now has 34 million more men than women. Chinese demographer He Yafu notes that “After the ministerial restructuring, the power of the family planning unit will be reduced, no longer able to design policies and with less say in the country’s population strategy.”
Source: Financial Times
CHINA: NEW LEADERSHIP AND A NEW REFORM AGENDA
Following the installation of a new President and Premier in China there is hope that consideration will be given to reforming the ‘re-education through labour’ system. Established by Mao in the 1950s, it is designed to silence ‘counter-revolutionaries’ while exploiting them as slave-labourers. Local authorities have long used this system of detention without trial to silence anybody who dares protest corruption or injustice. House-church Christians are routinely incarcerated there. Whilst genuine reform may be unlikely, the attention it will get could expose the reality of injustice and lack of liberty in China.
Please pray for China, its leaders and the Church.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT THE LORD WILL —
* make himself known to China’s new leadership team — especially President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang — so that even if they reject Him, it will not be because they have not heard the truth or seen the living God in action.
* shine His light on the Chinese legal system, especially the corruption and injustice of the ‘re-education through labour’ system of administrative discipline, and the cruel and inhumane state-run slave-labour camps; may it reach into the darkest corners and deepest shadows behind China’s facade of progress and development.
* continue to bless and build His Church in China, in numbers as well as in grace, knowledge and fortitude, preparing her for the day when she is free to witness openly across the whole nation and the wider region.
Source: Religious Liberty Monitoring
MIRACLE AS 3 YEAR OLD’S INOPERABLE BRAIN TUMOUR DISAPPEARS
Three-year-old Liberty Finn had received all the chemotherapy her body could handle to fight an inoperable brain tumour that threatened to leave her blind, damage her brain, and stunt her development. Because of its size and location, the mass could not be surgically removed; indeed, it had already enclosed her optic nerve, severely restricting her vision. 18-months of chemotherapy had only shrunk the tumour by 50 per cent. But now the tumour has miraculously vanished and most of Liberty Rose’s vision has returned. ‘We never in our wildest dreams expected that it would have just vanished,” said Liberty’s mother. “I felt like I was floating in a dream.”
The tumour that had looked so large before had just gone. I had to ask the doctor over and over again,’ Is this Liberty, are you sure?” “It’s amazing to give hope to other parents of children with the same tumour, showing miracles can happen,” she added. Roz Osborne, of the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust, said “The tumour could have disappeared through divine intervention or the fact that Liberty’s body was so strong and fought off the cancer. Chemotherapy loses its effectiveness after a few months of treatment being finished, so its shelf life would have expired. It just highlights how much we don’t know about brain cancer.”
Source: The Daily Mail