If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. (2 Chron 7:14)
We've talked about this verse in some detail before, but it has been at the forefront of my mind again, particularly in light of a BBC survey published this week.
Whilst the survey made headlines on Radio 4 early in the morning, reference to it disappeared very rapidly. There was no mention of it later in the day, nor on BBC television news. On the BBC's own website it was well hidden and took me several attempts with its usually excellent Search facility to find the article.
Why? Perhaps because it was potentially damaging material for the multi-faith supporters who want to devalue the role of Christianity in our society. But legally a survey must be published so people can read its findings and the BBC had, rightly, made available the raw statistics as well as an article. They made fascinating reading.
You can find the text of the article here but, to summarise, the poll showed that a significant majority of people in Britain believe that our laws and public life should respect and be influenced by the UK's traditional religious values ie Christianity. Even more striking was the fact that, as most Christians who have contacts with Sikh or Muslim people suspect, the vast majority of those from other faiths are even more keen to see Christian values upheld than the professing Christians are.
Young People Have Their Say
Much heartening stuff here, but what encouraged me the most was hidden in the raw statistics and not even mentioned in the article. A whopping 77% of 18 to 24 year olds agreed that religion has an important role to play in public life, a higher number than any of the other age groups including the over 65's. Are they tiring of the materialism and secularisation imposed on them by those who currently appear to have the influence in our society? Are they angered even more than the rest of us by the so-called libertarianism which causes Christians to be persecuted?
At the same session on the computer I came across an article from Christians Today, an online newspaper, with the headline, "Christians pray for God's glory to come to the UK." It was reporting a night of prayer at Westminster Chapel on 13th February (a few days before the BBC conducted its survey) in preparation for the global day of prayer at Pentecost. Greg Haslam, the vicar, said, "we want to pray for the foundations to be recovered & what needs to be done to save our nation."
At another prayer meeting that night, Christian Today reports that Simon Hughes MP said, "we're here to pray that with every day, good overcomes evil & people will turn their lives round."
Join The Revolution
There is a revolution going on in our nation at the moment - a revolution of prayer. The church is finally beginning to wake up and see what our apathy has led to. Prayer is becoming heartfelt rather than just a duty. People are beginning to feel a passion for something more real in their faith and this is most obvious amongst Christian young people. They want more reality in worship, they want to see God in action on the streets, in the schools, colleges and universities where they are, they want to get together to pray for one another and support one another. They are the ones who are most exemplifying Acts 2:42-47 Christianity.
Prayer College Assignment
If you are part of a Church that is beginning to understand the importance of prayer for revival in our generation, do all you can to join in that prayer. If not, seek out other opportunities to pray for our nation and commit yourself to praying for revival within your own fellowship.