It can only be a good thing when Christians on this side of the Channel join with their brothers and sisters in the French speaking world and lift France to the Lord in prayer, as opposed to merely looking on it as a holiday destination!. Recent media perspective on events across the Channel tends to be rather narrowly defined by news filtering through from the journalists who take up residence beside the Arc de Triomphe, with little or no information on what is happening around the rest of the country. The fact is that, with the widespread protests of the so-called ‘gilets jaune,’ France finds itself in a distinctly uncomfortable situation. Friends who live outside Paris have spoken of widespread disruption – to say nothing of very low morale in the police force, overstretched as they have been in recent months.[i]
Back in April in Paris an armed attack on a church was wonderfully foiled by the police. It is by no means the only such “success story.”
I believe this is a renewed reminder to us all to keep praying for all matters pertaining to intelligence matters, especially cyber security for websites and vital systems and utilities, along with vital work in codebreaking and the interception of electronic messages (including the voice recognition that detected Jihadi John.)
David Cameron was right to highlight the issue in his speech last night, and to warn that anything that is on the Internet is threatened, from banking to airlines.
Pray for the people whose job it is to protect us; it can often be an intense and lonely world but they are doing an absolutely vital job!
The morning service on Radio 4 this week, devoted especially for Paris, ended with this wonderful hymn by Charles Wesley. Linda Entwistle wrote a lovely version of this some years ago, which we recorded live on our Connections CD, along with a fascinating explanation of how it came to be written. Once again, let’s use these powerful words an an aid to praying for a spiritual “quickening” in the French capital and far beyond.
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last.
Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenceless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Wilt Thou not regard my call?
Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—
Lo! on Thee I cast my care.
Reach me out Thy gracious hand!
While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand,
Dying, and behold, I live.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
Source of all true righteousness;
Thou art evermore the same,
Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
Rise to all eternity.