Christians praying for the nation and its leaders as clock ticks down on Brexit

(Photo: Unsplash/NikMacMillan)

With just over a week to go before Britain's scheduled departure from the European Union, Christians across the nation are praying for the country's leaders and its future. 

The Presidents of Churches Together in England (CTE) and its partners Churches Together in Britain and Ireland have called on Christians to pray especially from Wednesday 28 March to Sunday 31 March.

Churches are being urged to keep their buildings open in order to provide a space where members of the community can come and pray or spend time in quiet reflection. 

In particular, churches are being invited to host their own prayer gatherings to coincide with a prayer meeting of the Presidents of Churches Together in England and other church leaders taking place at 10.30am on Saturday 30 March in central London.

"Churches Together in England supports every opportunity for local churches to pray together and urges Churches Together Groups and other expressions of Christian unity to take hold of this moment to pray together for our nations," said Rev Dr Paul Goodliff, General Secretary of Churches Together in England.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain has asked its members to write letters to MPs to assure them of their prayers as they work to find a way through the impasse. 

The BUGB said that whatever the outcome, its churches would "continue to offer spaces which foster community and conversation and where all are welcome".

"As Christians, we do not have to agree with those who represent us to pray and to care for them (1 Tim 2:1-2). We think this is especially important as the tone of conversation in our current political climate has also become personally vitriolic," it said.

"We know that MPs are receiving high numbers of hate mail, which can only have a negative effect on them and their staff in an already stressful environment. We value our democratic processes, and to have officials we have elected and can call to account. There is, we believe, a way to do this without aggression or intimidation." 

The BUGB has issued a prayer for Brexit: 

God of love,

We pray for our divided country in this time of uncertainty and confusion.
 We hold before you our prime minister, MPs and all in parliament,
 that together they might seek a future
 where the 'other' is privileged and listening is prioritised.
 Help us to be ambassadors of your compassion.
 United in the hope and name of Jesus,
 we dare to pray,
 your kingdom come, your will be done,
 on earth as it is in heaven.

Amen.

Earlier this week, the Church of England asked its churches to host informal cafe-style prayer meetings for Brexit over the weekend of 30 March in which locals can come in for prayer and a chat over a cup of tea. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to demonstrate that love for God and for each other, along with compassion, solidarity and care for the poorest, are our defining values. These values have been the bedrock of our national life for many centuries. They are not simply our history: they are also our best hope for the future.

"For this reason, a century from now the Church will be remembered for how it responded at this crucial moment in the life of our nation and country. Will we be those who worked to defuse tension and hostility? Will we be those who called for civility and respect in how we speak about, and treat, each other? Will we be those who never stopped praying with urgency and hope for our country, our communities and our political leaders – and for a way forward that allows every person, family and community to flourish?

"This is an opportunity for the Church of England to join together in prayer for God's kingdom to come, and for the good of all in society. I hope that each of us will take hold of these resources to help us pray for our country at this critical time."

Despite the Brexit deadline being just days away, Parliament and the nation remain as divided as ever over Britain's withdrawal from the EU. 

A petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked has gone viral, amassing over half a million signatures in the last few hours - well over the 100,000-signature threshold for it to be considered for debate in Parliament. 

The creator of the petition, Margaret Anne Newsome Georgiadou said: "The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is 'the will of the people'.

"We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU. A People's Vote may not happen – so vote now."

The chaos has continued after a divisive speech by Theresa May in which she ruled out another referendum and blamed MPs for failing to see through the result of the 2016 vote.

The Prime Minister is in Brussels on Thursday to argue the case for Britain to leave the EU on June 30 instead of March 29. 

A Brexit prayer from the Evangelical Alliance: 

Sovereign Lord, in the midst of chaos we look to you, our sure and certain hope.

Give our leaders wisdom, grace and clarity as they meet, talk and consider their decisions today.

Help them to lead the people in the UK in the ways of grace and hope.

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