Prayer Email: 7 April 2019

In this email

  • Storms and Floods

  • Brexit

  • Short Notes: Faith and Asylum, Immigration Detention, Positive Climate Action, Ebola, Rwanda

  • This Week’s Readings

Storms and Floods

Our last email focused on Cyclone Idai. Please continue to pray and give for relief and recovery in Mozambique, Malawi & Zimbabwe. Please also pray for people who suffered losses when Australia was hit by two cyclones (there were also some for whom the storms’ rains were a gift) In the US, there have been historic river floods in the Midwest: pray for all affected and especially for farmers, some of whom are considering leaving their farms. Pray for those affected by floods in  Angola, deadly flash floods in Afghanistanflooding and landslides in Indonesia, which have killed over one hundred people, major floods in Iran

which have killed 70 people and forced largescale evacuations, and flash floods after storms in southern Nepal.


We’ve been working for several weeks on a piece on Brexit. The difficulty with this is that as the situation changes almost daily, it’s very difficult to write. If we can, we’ll send out a ‘Brexit’ supplement to the prayer email over the weekend … but in the meantime, please keep praying for all involved in the process of discerning a way forward.

Short Notes: Faith and Asylum, Immigration Detention, Positive Climate Action, Ebola,  Rwanda

Faith and Asylum

Christian leaders have raised concerns about the Home Office’s treatment of people seeking asylum for religious reasons, after an Iranian convert to Christianity had their asylum application refused by a Home Office official who used selected verses from Scripture, taken out of context, to dispute the convert’s account of having converted to Christianity because it was a religion of peace. While the Home Office has agreed in this instance that the letter did not follow its ‘policy approach’ and that it will reconsider the person’s case, this is not the first time that Home Office criteria for deciding on the authenticity of conversions have been questioned. Failures in this area are a serious issue, as converts who are refused asylum and returned to their countries of origin could, in some cases, face prison, physical punishment, or death. Pray for greater religious literacy in the process and for converts to receive a fair hearing and protection from persecution.

Immigration Detention
The Joint Public Issues Team and other Christian organisations welcomed the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee’s critique of Home Office practice relating to detention.  An official summary of the report noted that it found “that the Home Office has utterly failed in its responsibility to oversee the safe and humane detention of individuals in the UK, that too often it does not follow its own policy and guidance, and that a series of safeguarding and case-working failures have led to people being wrongfully detained, held in immigration when they are vulnerable and unnecessarily detained for too long.” Among its recommendations, “the Committee calls for an end to indefinite detention and a maximum 28-day time limit and says the Home Office must do much more to ensure that detention is an option of last resort. The Committee also calls for an overhaul of the Adults at Risk policy, stronger judicial oversight and a more humane decision-making process for detention to ensure that vulnerable people are not being let down.” Pray that these recommendations are heard and acted upon.

Action Point: Join MPs from all parties, human rights groups, Christian groups and others in calling on the UK Government to end indefinite detention and to place a 28 day time limit on immigration detention. You can do so via Liberty/s pettion or through the [Catholic] Bishops Conference of England and Wales. In addition to the new report, see the report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights for more information.

Positive Climate Action

Thanks to initiatives like #PlasticLessLent and the Living Lent programme, more and more people are making personal lifestyle choices that reflect their commitment to care for our environment. ‘But what about wider action?’ people sometimes ask. In fact, recent weeks have seen a number of new and noteworthy positive signs of large-scale change. Here are a few, drawn from different areas where new initiatves are needed. You can find more climate prayer points in this month’s Pray and Fast for the Climate prayer sheet.

  • Shell has withdrawn from the industry lobby group American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers, citing “material misalignment on climate-related policy positions with this association” including the AFPM’s unwillingness to state support for the Paris Goals.  Shell also said that it would monitor its membership in 9 other industry associations with whom it had ‘some misalignment’.
    Fossil fuel lobbyists have been fighting positive policy change for years – to have an oil major break with a lobbying group – and put others on notice – because of policy differences is a significant development.  Give thanks – and pray that others follow.
  • It’s less than we need – and too long a lead time when it’s already long overdue – but it’s still worth giving thanks for the Government announcement that gas heating will be banned in new build housing from 2025 onwards, as it’s at least a sign of movement. Pray, though, for more rapid action.
  • In 2018, for the first time ever, more than 1 million ‘pure’ electric cars were sold. The major German car manufacturers have agreed a common position on the electric technology for the next decade or so and are pushing for infrastructure to support it, and even auto show reviews are focusing on sustainability. Pray for an ever more rapid shift to sustainable transport.
  • Vegan Big Whoppers were launched on April Fools Day … but they weren’t an April Fools joke, just the most visible sign of the mainstreaming of plant-based eating. The new burger is a product developed by a former Stanford professor who has made it his mission to create vegan food tasty enough to help people reduce their meat consumption. Many seem to feel he’s succeeded on the taste front. And while fast food still raises many issues, as do the technological processes involved in some meat substitutes, give thanks more broadly that a much-needed shift in eating habits is gaining traction.


As of Friday the total number of Ebola cases in the current Nord Kivu/Ituri (DRC) outbreak was 1,117 and 702 people had died. While this is far smaller than the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it is the second-widest recorded Ebola outbreak – and, after looking earlier this year as if it might slow,  has actually accelerated in recent weeks. March had the most cases per month since the outbreak began. The increase is attributed to the combination of political instability, community mistrust, and resultant attacks on health workers and health facilities that have made prevention and treatment more difficult.  Please give thanks for the courage and dedication of Congolese health workers and the international colleagues working alongside them. Pray for all who are affected. Pray for an increase in stability and trust in the region that will enable effective prevention and treatment. And pray that the outbreak does not spread to areas where it would be more difficult yet to contain.

Further Reading:   CCOW has a page about the outbreak, with information, links and prayer points. If you speak French, you can listen to the coordinator of Ebola response in Butembo, speaking in a Ministry of Health broadcast about the importance of community action and support.


This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide, in which over 800,000 people were killed in about 100 days. We’ve put links to some reading/viewing below, which offers the testimony of different people affected by the genocide. The prayer points are derived from those readings.

Please pray:

  • for continued healing for all who suffer because of the genocide
  • for the ongoing process of reconciliation within Rwanda
  • for peace and stability throughout the Great Lakes region, and for an end to the many conflicts there, some related to those of Rwanda, that blight lives today
  • for those who struggle with the Christian faith because of Christian participation in the genocide
  • in thanksgiving for all – Christians and others – who opposed the violence.
  • for the work of Christians and churches on reconciliation and renewal
  • in thanksgiving for those who suffered who have been able to show forgiveness and love to those who harmed them
  • for all who conntinue to struggle with anger and hatred because of the harm done to them
  • in thanksgiving for those who have apologised for their action or inaction. Pray for those who have yet to ask forgiveness.
  • for justice and freedom for all in Rwanda
  • for all who stand up against the kind of dehumanising language that fuelled the Rwandan genocide, wherever it now manifests itself. Pray that dehumanising language about our fellow humans may have no place anywhere.

This Week’s Readings

Isaiah 43:16-21 • Psalm 126 • Philippians 3:4b-14 • John 12:1-8

“More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:8, 13-14

As we continue through Lent, help us, Lord, to seek a deeper life in you as our greatest prize.

Image: Tropical Cyclone Idai seen by NASA’s Aqua satellite in Mozambique Channel (cropped). Credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)

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