'There is no Christian vision without a recovery of prayer'

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, said lack of prayer was a weakness in the church today(Photo: Peter Neill)

The Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres has delivered a challenging message to Christians about the need for the church to be confident in living and speaking the gospel, and being compassionate in serving communities.

He was delivering a lecture in Westminster hosted by Premier Christian Media Trust and titled 'Building Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land'.

"There is no Christian vision without a recovery of prayer," he said. "One of the weaknesses of the contemporary church is that it gives its members very little help in how to pray."

In addition to the need for prayer, Dr Chartres also mentioned how "re-engaging with the Bible" is also essential in creating a "fresh Christian vision" .

"All renewal movements within the history of the church have been associated with a fresh engagement with scripture," he continued.

''The Christian community does not always look and sound expectant because churches, in common with so many other people, have settled for the comforts of the familiar and a dull echo of the great abstract concepts like tolerance, equality and justice for all," he said.

He continued: "Almost everybody rightly would respect such concepts but the sad truth is this, that constantly invoking them and putting them in plans does not release energy necessary to transform lives.

"Christian vision should never be reduced to a dull echo of such fashionable consensus, nor should Christian prophecy be confined to one."

Bishop Chartres in his lecture emphasised the duty of Christ's followers and also provided a comprehensive definition of the church.

"The church is more than a union of people who believe in Christ Jesus united through baptism and common confession. It is a community bound to the Lord who lives on, who through him belongs to God's transcendent world."

He continued: "Jesus Christ gave us very few original commandments but one thing he did say was 'do this in remembrance of me'. He commanded us to reenact his last supper with the friends. Remembering is not just recalling events of long ago and far away, it is remembering as opposed to dismembering the church. It is assembling his body in the here and now and integrating the gifts which we have all been given into the service of work for the whole community.

"I'm convinced that re-engaging with scripture and re-imagining the church for the sake of the coming Kingdom will not be possible without a recovery of deep prayer. The church, it seems to me, has hardly begun to realise its destiny as a global community."

This was the second annual Premier Christian Media Trust lecture and was held in One Birdcage Walk, Westminster. This year also marks the 18th anniversary of the Trust.

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