Standing in the Gap — no.17
— praying for children accused of witchcraft.
“These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” … Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways." — Haggai 1:2, 5
The people were busy living their daily lives: focusing on their homes, planting for the future, meeting the need to eat and drink, and earning wages. But to what end? God says that they expected much, but it turned out to be little.
This description of life may resonate with many of us; just doing what needs to be done to get by. God says that, “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house’”. They had clearly got their priorities wrong and the time for procrastinating had passed.
Over recent months, SCWA has seen growth of interest and increased collaboration from others seeking to address accusations of witchcraft against children. Is now the time for Christ’s church — the Lord’s house — to be built up, to stand in the gap for children accused of witchcraft?
Things to thank God for…
- New awareness and recognition of the devastation created by accusations of witchcraft against children — for them, their families, and their churches and communities. There are no winners in the abuse of children.
- From 10 to 11 January 2019, SCWA Steering Group members will be presenting at a conference entitled "Witchcraft and Human Rights: Past, Present and Future" in Lancaster, UK. Give thanks for this opportunity and pray that, as our representatives speak, God’s word will guide and influence discussion, as delegates seek to address the issue of witchcraft today, and recognise the damage it causes.
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways." — Haggai 1:5
The Judeans had returned from captivity in order to rebuild the Temple but, for 16 years, the people had failed to do so, after early discouragement and conflict with the Samaritans. Instead, the people had focused on creating community and family life in their homes and fields, putting off the work God had given them. Then, on the first day of the month, God spoke to Haggai, saying that now was the time. The response from the people was strong and, by the 24th day of the month, building had begun.
One year after receiving training through the SCWA ‘Heart of the Matter’ workshop, one pastor from Togo, West Africa, has responded to the work God has placed before him. His vision for the next six months includes the following:
“I would like to ask fellow church leaders to raise awareness in their churches of the phenomenon of child witch accusations and to become defenders of children, not only in their local church, but in other communities. They will also need to be better overseers of all that happens in the children’s work in their churches.” — Pastor's vision in response to the "Heart of the Matter" workshop in Togo
- For Carolyn and Stephanie of SCWA as they speak at the conference in Lancaster this month. May the testimonies shared by children and partners inspire and equip many to recognise a work of God that is yet to be done.
- That as we listen to God’s word to us, we will not only listen but act quickly, with confirmation that now is the time to protect children accused of witchcraft.
- Just as the Temple took years for the Israelites to complete, this work of God will also require perseverance and a dependency on God. Pray for the pastors in countries of Africa where SCWA has previously been invited, and partners based in the UK but working globally, who have heard God’s word in relation to protecting children. Pray that they will find the persevering spirit they need, and find a way to act.
- That all the resources created by or associated with SCWA in the format of written word, radio or film will be seen and heard widely, to empower others to act faithfully in God’s name.