Choices that will have a lasting effect

Jun 6, 2017 | Flashpoints, World Watch

which path to choose in the General Election

We are sending out this summons to an additional prayer push on the anniversary of D Day – the landings in Normandy that rescued Europe from a deadly peril. As you receive this today, set your heart to play your part in helping rescue Britain and Europe from old yet ever renewed dangers.

With the nation facing its choice on Thursday June 8th to elect a new government, I was reminded of the phrase: ‘Wer hat Wahl hat Qual’ – ‘Whoever has a choice has agony.’ Poignantly, the word wahl also means ‘election.’ Most of us are finding it extremely painful to see the nation so riven, and many are still anything but clear as to where to cast their vote. Despite the brief breaks in electioneering that have followed the Manchester and London attacks, much of the campaigning has been singularly bad tempered – vitriolic even.

Let’s be under no illusions: there is a huge spiritual as well as a political battle being waged for the soul and future of this country. With the polls now predicting a tighter than anticipated outcome, and with much that is seriously askance in the outlook and practice of both main parties, the Lord knows that one set of choices will undoubtedly prove better for the greater number of people in the long run. Let’s play our part by praying with real vigour and authority for His best to come to pass.

Let’s start by focusing on the Lord

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
For the word of the Lord are right and true;
He is faithful in all He does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
He thwarts the purposes of the peoples,
so that their hands achieve no success.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of His heart through all generations.
(From Ps. 33:1-10)

How wonderful to serve One who is far above all party spirit and political rivalry.

His plans and purposes are not confined to the length of a particular parliament, and His righteousness is not subject to the trends of the moment. His justice ‘rolls on like a river,’ and is not dependant on hastily written manifestoes and specious promises to lure last moment votes. There is no rivalry or sectarianism in His government – but there is moral and spiritual clarity and a passionate desire for truth and justice.

Issues to consider:
Who aligns themselves with who and what?

The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12).

I am planning to say something in the coming weeks about the importance of who Britain ‘cosies up to’ in terms of trade deals in the aftermath of leaving the EU, but right now there are issues regarding the allegiances and alliances of the leading political candidates but right now there are issues regarding the allegiances and alliances of the leading political candidates. For it is these, along with the underlying philosophies that they espouse, which will determine the direction they will take us in.

This is a far from simple matter, but worth asking nevertheless: so far as possible, can you trace the roots from which present day beliefs and policies derive?

On a wider scale we cannot but wonder whether even the Church at large really understands the nature of the spiritual battle that is being waged, and is willing to declare things as they are. There are plenty of vigils being held to honour the dead but few calls from the Church to pray about the spiritual battle we find ourselves in.

In all this there is a great need to be vigorous in prayer. I have found the phrase ‘the sword of the Lord’ coming to mind several times in the last few days – along with a military image from the height of the Falklands War. It was in May 1982 that elite British forces landed on the east side of the island and made a heroic crossing on foot, ‘yomping’ their way to what turned out to be an unexpectedly easy victory against considerably stronger forces. Just as we poured out our hearts back in 1982 for the Lord to move in power to intervene, I sense a similar rightness in doing so again for Him to move now – whatever that looks like in its outworking! There are many forces at work that would oppose the cause of the Kingdom of God.

At ground level, we are in a situation of asymmetric warfare; with those who are launching their suicide attacks here often being deeply embedded in our own country. Unlike in Syria and Iraq, there is no capital city or stronghold to capture; or any senior spiritual figure to refer matters to.

And whereas every casualty and fatality is deeply mourned at this end, ISIL regards their soldiers as expendable pawns who have been taught to regard themselves as martyrs who will receive a heavenly reward for killing innocent citizens – who they call “civilian crusaders.”

It is obviously important to avoid making hasty decisions prompted by popular clamour. An old Latin Maxim reminds us that whatever we do, we should do cautiously and with a view to the end (the outcome) – the very opposite of a knee jerk reaction.

Praise God for those who deliberately went out to embrace Muslims in Manchester last week.

As we pray into the choices that are to be made, we are praying that the Lord will not only extend mercy but also confound that which is being planned and plotted in darkness.

Although the phraseology may sound old fashioned, provided that we are entirely clear that we are praying on a spiritual dimension and not in a narrowly patriotic or partisan way, some of us may feel comfortable to use the words of the second verse of the National Anthem with regard to present dangers: “Confound their politics, frustrate their knavish tricks, on Thee our hopes we fix”.

Thwarting – and Heart Warming

I love the word ‘thwarting’ that the psalmist uses in Psalm 33:10 (cf Job 5:12).

Are we not all praying that the Lord will not only thwart and foil terrorist attacks but bring many with radical leanings to a vivid awareness of who the Lord Jesus really is? See: Muslims turning to Christ – a global phenomenon.

We really can thank the Lord for all that has been uncovered and forestalled in recent years. Let’s call on Him now to bring the light of Christ into many Muslim homes right across the United Kingdom and far beyond.

Let’s pray, too, for the police and intelligence services, and for the many investigations that are underway into all a huge range of ‘suspect’ individuals. It is worth remembering that only something like ten percent of those reported as having jihadist tendencies are being followed up, for obvious lack of resources. Pray for the Lord to be in the ‘triage’ assessments.

It can only be right, too, to pray for the so called ‘dark web’ to be exposed, and no longer available for evil purposes.

No one is pretending that these are anything other than exceptionally difficult challenges, not least when it is a matter of dealing with people who are thorough-going jihadists in outlook, but who have not committed any actual crime.

I also have a burden that it is prison where so many are radicalised to the jihadi cause.

See: Warning over Islamic radicalisation in England’s prisons.

Another important area for prayer is for robust ethical debate concerning where the limits of free speech should lie. This applies not only in terms of de-encrypting material on What’s app and jihadist websites, but even whether such material should be allowed to appear in the first place.

Much wisdom and success please Lord, for all concerned; this truly is a global matter.

Wherever your personal political allegiances lie, may the outcome of this election enable more of the Lord’s will and purposes to be done – and more – not less – of His kingdom to come.


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