What hope for our city and country?
It is encouraging to see how often in our Prayer Hub we are praying about the challenges people face in society: Brexit, knife crime, terrorism, economic injustice, ungodly lifestyles being promoted etc.
We recently had a visit from Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance. In both the Fuel the Fire leaders’ day and his preaching on Sunday, he pointed out that we have to learn to live in an uncertain world but our God is ultimately in control. He is a sure foundation. We know how the story will end.
“Secularism seeps into the soul and erodes hope,” Steve Clifford said. We can be left without hope. If we are not careful, we are often either lulled into accepting the world-views around us or into a defensive position. Either way we are letting the world around us set the agenda and lose hope of changing anything.
We can look at the news and the strong opinions held by so many people about Brexit, for example, and lose hope of the country ever being united again. We might lose hope of our own preferred outcome being accepted. But the way the debates have been carried on is a much worse problem that can cause us to lose hope. In fact “debates’ is a generous way of describing the simplistic shouting matches. Strong and extreme opinions are pushed and so few are really listening to any other views.
One key problem in all that has happened over Brexit is the fear of speaking out uncomfortable truths. People have grown used to being told by politicians they can have what they want and avoid unpleasant choices. It has been difficult for any political leader to admit “If you want X you will have to give up Y!”
Yet that is the truth. No one can “have their cake and eat it,” as the saying goes.
So how do we respond?
First, by stirring up the hope that comes from fixing our attention on Jesus. In Heb 6.18-20 we find that “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us…” (The Message).
Without a hope inside we cannot pray. Without praying we cannot expect to see His kingdom come and His will being done on earth as in heaven.
Let’s pray for one another as Paul did (Romans 15:13) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
Then let’s pray for our city and our nation, with the hope that reaches far beyond politics and the things that can be seen.