Adam Northcroft
Let’s find out how to pray again

Instinctively human beings call out to God when things get desperate.

We don’t need teaching how or convincing that it’s right, we just do it. In war, grief, danger or difficulty, humans cry out for help. And typically, it’s God we go to for that help even if previously we doubted.

This heart-felt response has been observed by many over the years including US president and WW2 Allied commander Dwight D Eisenhower who famously said there are no atheists in foxholes (on the battlefield).

And many who have called out have known real answers. There are numerous examples of this. One that should be well known follows the Day of Prayer called by King George VI on May 23, 1940, just prior to Dunkirk when the evacuation of over 300,000 British and French troops was urgently needed to protect Britain from Nazi tyranny.

The response was huge as British people gave themselves to prayer. Congregations swelled and there were queues of people trying to get into church on that day.

Shortly afterwards Hitler inexplicably ordered his tanks and soldiers to stop attacking Allied forces. For three days they just waited giving vital time for escape and is an instruction that still baffles historians to this day. On top of this the sea became unusually calm enabling civilian boats to cross the channel, rescue the troops and allow the ‘miracle of Dunkirk’ to unfold.

This isn’t the only time in British history when a Day of Prayer has been called for and heeded with remarkable consequences. In the days just before the 1588 Spanish Armada the country responded to the threat with a call to prayer and fasting. According to Richard Hakluyt, the great geographer, during these times “all people throughout England prostrated themselves with humble prayers and supplications unto God”.

History shows the Spanish encountered unexpected difficulties after this including unfavourable winds and unseasonably rough seas that drove them north after the famous fire ships attack by Sir Francis Drake, and so rescuing the nation.

Today many feel uncertain and insecure due to the political situation. Brexit has left people feeling very worried and others see that politicians simply do not have a clear answer to the problem.

We need to learn from our past and start to pray again, rediscovering what many of our ancestors understood and saw was essential.

Britain needs to stop thinking about prayer as a meaningless evening ritual to comfort worried children and see it for what it is – a powerful thing that enables you to connect with your maker and be part of His ability to change history.

Let’s put down our phones and see what happens when we pray to the one who the bible tells us has been given “all authority in heaven and earth”.

  • Hope Church has just begun a 21 Days of Prayer programme. Come and join us.