'Pray on' for Britain amid Brexit, says Jonathan Aitken

Former cabinet minister turned prison chaplain Jonathan Aitken is telling people to keep on praying as the clock ticks on Brexit without the nation being any clearer as to how things will look come March 29.

As the nation's leaders continue to wrangle over a deal with the EU, Aitken has been spending some time in prayer and contemplation at St Beuno's retreat centre in Wales, not only for his soul but for the nation.

While such a retreat could be regarded as 'self-indulgent' when the world is in such a state of 'upheaval', he writes in The Times that it has helped him to gain a fresh sense of perspective.

It has also reaffirmed his conviction of the need for prayer as the clock runs down on the deadline for Brexit.

'From the viewpoints of a consolation retreat at St Beuno's and a ringside seat at the debate in the Commons, I sense the political earth moving. We should pray on,' he said.

It echoes a call that he made last December, before the seismic defeat of Theresa May's original Brexit deal, when he said 'British politicians need our prayers more than ever'. 

At that time, he said it was not possible for the Government or any single party to resolve the political, constitutional and electoral crises unfolding as a result of Brexit, but rather only 'the collective will of the House of Commons'.

'God is neither a Remainer nor a Leaver. A deity for whom "a thousand ages in thy sight is like an evening gone" is unlikely to be impressed by our 40 years of EU membership, or by the two-year transitional period that follows it,' said Aitken, who is now prison chaplain to HMP Pentonville. 

Instead of praying for a particular faction, he said people should 'pray for wisdom, discernment, judgment and the character of our MPs'. 

'So the power of prayer knows no limits,' he said.