15th April - Thought For The Day - United In Prayer
Words by Bev Jones
United In Prayer
In May 1940, following the realisation that the allied troops in Northern France were at risk of ‘total annihilation’, King George VI made a remarkable appeal. He requested that Sunday 26th May be assigned a National Day of Prayer. People flocked to their local churches, and together with members of the cabinet, the King attended Westminster Abbey. Photographs show long queues of people around Westminster, as the Abbey itself was so full there wasn’t enough space inside for everyone who wanted to attend. The Daily Sketch exclaimed,
‘Nothing like it has ever happened before.’
In its hour of deep distress, a heart-cry from both monarch and people alike was made to God. Three extraordinary events occurred following that day of prayer:
1. Hitler overruled his Generals and halted the advance of his troops (something that has never been fully explained).
2. A storm of extraordinary scale grounded the Luftwaffe that was poised to attack the evacuating troops.
3. Despite the storm, a calmness and peace settled over the Channel days later, which enabled a vast armada of boats to come and rescue the escaping men.
Commenting on this, Pete Greig says:
“with the eyes of faith we can see that this was more than an extraordinary set of coincidences; this was the hand of God in response to a nation, on its knees, praying.”
Photo by Ben White via Unsplash
In that vein, the 24/7 Prayer movement which has been responsible for setting up prayer rooms across the globe for the last twenty years, has called for people to unite in prayer as we petition and intercede for the situation that we are currently in. The initiative is simply called Unite 714, and is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
"If my people 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 sin and will heal their land."
The suggestion is that we pray at 7.14am and 7.14pm, and as we do, we will join with millions of voices around the world – all praying for the same thing – that our lands will be healed from coronavirus, and for a spiritual awakening in our time. The model is simple but potentially very powerful. There’s a downloadable sheet on the 24/7 website to help you pray if you need it, or you can simply pause twice a day at 7.14, knowing as you do, that you are united with millions of other Christians around the globe. Twice a day – one voice!
To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world… Karl Barth