I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 1 Tim. 2:1-5
Epiphany were a great blessing last week ministering at the National Prayer Breakfast. The meeting was sold out with seven hundred people present, including both David Cameron and Ed Milliband, eighty MPs and forty Peers, Bishops, diplomats and business people.
You can watch a video of the message given at that meeting by Justin Welby below.
I woke a couple of days later with a strong burden on Thursday to pray for David Cameron, and to a lesser extent Barack Obama, the American Congress and the leaders of the EU for how they are to respond to the Iraq crisis. As I watched David Cameron having to field endless questions on domestic issues in Prime Minister’s Question Time, I was so aware of how full his head must be of all the stuff he had been being briefed on by Cobra concerning foreign issues – yet still he had to produce sensible sound bites that will be endlessly scrutinised on the other issues. Which of us would last five minutes as a senior politician?
I felt the burden so strongly that I gathered such people as I could find on a Thursday morning to arrange an impromptu prayer meeting in our sanctuary shed, which was really precious. In church on Sunday, after filling in some background on the specifics of the challenge that Isis and the Iraqi situation present let the church loose in twos and threes to pray. It is so important to take up the Lord’s call to pray for those in authority – we should certainly never take living in a peaceful society for granted. (1 Tim.2).
Considering the outcry that has now broken out over Andy Coulson David Cameron needs prayer more than ever.
There have always been moments in time when huge upheavals occur in regions and cause things to explode. There were revolutions across Europe in 1848 for example, and student uprisings in 1968, the killing fields of Cambodia from 1975-1979, the famous quote in Time Magazine that there are no demons left in hell because they had all gone to Rwanda. Actually they brought hell with them. Something similar is happening again now in Iraq, with potentially far reaching implications. When the Gulf War began, a fourteen year old in our church in Shetland declared that “we had opened Pandora’s box, and would not be able to put things back in again.”
Let’s keep the whole situation regarding Iraq and Syria uppermost in prayer – not least how the West should respond to it. Please make time to pray in your meetings. The simple reality is that our intelligence services have no possible means of monitoring the five hundred or so who are already known to be in action with ISIS when they return to the UK.