The night is nearly over; the day is almost here,
so let us cast off the deeds of darkness
and put on the full armour of light. (Rom. 13:12)
We know that what Paul wrote in connection with church circles: Here is a trustworthy saying: whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. It is important that we remember our national leaders too. (1 Tim. 3:1) It is an extremely tall order for our leaders and politicians not only to keep fully up to date with all these varied threats in Russia-Ukraine, China-Taiwan, Israel-Iran and elsewhere, but even to come up with solutions to them. Especially when you consider just how many critical domestic situations they have to be devoting their attention to, and directions they need to be looking in. It is easier to respond to a mob forming on the streets in Belfast (or over the Police Crime Bill) and to devote attention to Covid-related matters than to face the sort of things I have been describing in the posts above. Ultimately, however, they may be the very ones that most urgently need attending to.
We thought you might also appreciate this Easter offering from various Christian MPs and peers. It is always good to pray for our leaders!
Father, at this time when pressures are ramping up in so many different directions, we ask for Your hand of mercy to be outstretched – yes, Lord, mercy beyond anything we deserve; and that You will watch over all these developments, military and economic alike, as nations vie for supremacy in cyber spheres as well as in military hardware and technology.
We ask You too that You will anoint appointed leaders and diplomats and experts in their varied fields to do more good than harm in the way they seek to counteract these threats; to avoid unnecessary provocation, and yet to stand firm for truth, and for the rights of those who are being oppressed. Protect from these and all other dangers we pray, in the name of the One who is one day coming to rid Planet Earth of all evil.
There has been renewed interest In recent weeks, and coverage of, the chequered but ultimately-vital-for-the-protection-of-the-West life of Winston Churchill. Field Marshal Viscount Lord Alanbrooke, the master strategist of World War II, worked as closely with him as anybody, but found himself constantly frustrated by Churchill’s tendency to redirect his focus again and again onto some particular initiative, which caused him to fail to set that matter within a wider context. Often, he suspected, this was because he did not want to see the wider picture! We all have blind spots that hinder both ourselves and others. As you can imagine, Churchill’s intense preoccupation with more limited specific objects made working with him exceptionally challenging. In his memoires, ‘The turn of the tide’ Alanbrooke described him as being both irreplaceable and indispensable. He also wrote,
‘But I wonder if any historian of the future will ever be able to paint Winston in his true colours. It is a wonderful character, the most marvellous qualities and superhuman genius mixed with an astonishing lack of vision at times, and an impetuosity which, if not guided, must inevitably bring him into trouble again and again . . . He is quite the most difficult man to work with that I have ever struck, but I would not have missed the chance of working with him for anything on earth.
‘Unbounded genius, unrelenting energy, dogged determination, a refusal to accept defeat in any shape or form, vast personal courage, a deep sense of humour, and an uncanny first faculty of inspiring respect, admiration, loyalty and deep affection in the heart of hearts of all those fortunate enough to work in close touch with them. With that memory as a background, I shall to my dying day thank God for the great privilege of having been associated with him during those momentous years.’
With so many crucial challenges facing the world at the moment, now is an important time to pray for our leaders to be able to see the wider picture, and to avoid focusing too narrowly on minor matters. May the Lord enable Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and other key leaders to see things neither through rose-coloured filters nor partisan short-term ones.
Lord, not everyone can aspire to perfect 20/20 vision, but we are asking You to adjust the vision of our leaders wherever they are in danger of misreading situations. Raise up those like Churchill who ultimately were so greatly used to find ways forward.
And for all of us, Lord, with our ability to misread situations, pass our thoughts and feelings though Your own filtration systems: the inscape of our thought life, and the landscape of our feelings that all play their part in determining our mental and spiritual outlook so that we may see and act as clearly as possible, we pray.
Remove all filters that distort true sight, and all wayward perspectives that climb like creepers and stifle like bindweed and ivy.
Strip down, and set free so that with sharper vision we may discern the forces and influences at work right now – and live and pray accordingly; following what is right and permitting that which is wrong to lose its appeal.
Yes, input and refresh – and broaden our perspective
to Your glory – Holy, pure and living One,
to see and know what truly fits and belongs.
Yes, Father of lights, and Spirit of joy,
expand our capacity to receive your love,
For it is in Your light we may see light;
with You is the fountain of life,
and today we would come
to drink and drink our fill.