On July 5, more than 700 MPs, members of the House of Lords, and church leaders met to pray at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in Westminster, England.
Reverend Les Isaac spoke to the assembled group: “At the center of our lives is Jesus, and the desire to be like him and fulfill his purpose here on earth. Many men and women are quietly showing service, in humility and compassion, for the common good of the community, of society, of their city and of their country. ”
At the front table, right under the lectern, was an empty chair. Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, joined the breakfast but left after the opening song. The news broke that morning by a former senior official who objected to Johnson’s previous denial about whether he knew about allegations of inappropriate behavior from a government minister.
That night, two of the government’s top ministers resigned — Sajid Javid, secretary of state for health, and a few minutes later Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer. And within 48 hours, Boris Johnson announced that he would step down as leader of the Conservative Party and therefore also as prime minister.
My colleague sat at a table with Sajid Javid at that breakfast, who stayed all over the place. In a statement at the House of Commons on Wednesday, Javid opened by saying, “Yesterday, we started our day together. You, me, my worthy honorable friend the prime minister, and the members right across from this house — when we broke bread at the parliamentary prayer breakfast. ”
“And we all listened, to the words of Reverend Les Isaac, who spoke about the fact that responsibility comes with leadership. The responsibility to serve the interests of others than yourself and to seek the unity of your party, of your community, and, above all, of your country. “
Javid, who described himself as a Muslim heritage but not practicing, has since confirmed that while listening to this sermon he decided to resign from the government. This apparently caused a chain reaction, after which more than 50 other members of the government stopped.
Although we cannot say whether a sermon led to the overthrow of a government, it seems to be a contributing factor. That said, Javid’s motivations for the resignation may have been political as well, as he is currently fighting to replace Johnson for the role of PM.
Most of the politicians who stepped down mentioned the need to restore integrity in our government. Ever since conducting a criminal investigation into violations of COVID-19 regulations at the center of government, Boris Johnson’s premiereship has often seemed on the brink of collapse.
In the UK political system, prayer holds an important place. Each day, prayers are uttered at the beginning of sessions in the Commons and with the Lords. In the central lobby, set on the tiled floor are the words of Psalm 127: 1 (in Latin): “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders have labored in vain.”
As an evangelical advocate in the UK, I believe that Christians have a particular responsibility to pray for our country.
I have attended several prayer breakfasts over the years, in Westminster and other UK parliaments. In March, I joined many in the Welsh parliament as we prayed for a resurrection in the country — a prayer that needs more of an answer than who our current prime minister is.
We are now waiting to see what comes next in the UK after the resignations. The UK political system does not directly elect its prime minister; he is the only person considered to be the best leader of the majority in parliament — in effect, the leader of the largest party.
Thus, the choice of the next prime minister is in the hands of the Conservative Party. Members of the parliamentary party will vote for themselves and decide on the top two candidates, who will then be voted on by the broader party members in the summer.
This political crisis is not uncommon because it is not really about policy priorities. Rather, it is a widespread feeling that integrity has emerged in those in charge of the highest offices of public life.
Over the past nine months, a series of political crises have examined the motives and integrity of those in high political positions. An attempt to change the rules associated with misconduct in public life in the fall of 2021, followed by revelations about Downing Street parties of organizing rules prohibiting them, all contributed in a massive decrease in confidence.
Therefore, as we look forward to the coming leadership election, we must focus on restoring trust and re -establishing the truth as the foundation. Isaiah 59:14 says, “Therefore justice is turned away, and righteousness standeth afar off; truth stumbles in the streets, faithfulness cannot enter. “
In times of massive political turmoil, even the most modest statements are threatened by rumors of partisan favor. But standing up for justice, advocating righteousness, speaking for truth, and relying on honesty must be a boundary we reject below.
Along with their policy platforms, I hope that opponents of leadership will make a significant play on how they lead differently and work to restore trust in government. The words can be incredibly hollow. We have all heard apologies that are overly concerned or mildly blamed elsewhere.
In the same way that a meaningful apology needs to be substantial, promises to improve how government works need to be supported by evidence that goes beyond words.
Trust begins with a commitment to reality. It is a sad accusation in so much public life that we accept a dichotomy between public and private — where a person’s private actions, recklessness, infidelity, and infidelity are not considered relevant to their public. duty. But someone who can lie to the person closest to him can lie in public.
Integrity is shown through long -term action, not just through someone’s words. We must tamper with the policies advocated by political leaders and their track records in delivering them. However, just because leaders are effective and hold the political stances we agree on should not be a free pass for them to act as they please.
The Christian social critic Os Guinness often speaks about doing the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way: We destroy our testimony of Christ if we promote usefulness and validity rather than integrity. And after all, it was in apparent defeat that Christ triumphed over death.
I don’t think we will know the full impact of the words uttered at the recent parliamentary prayer breakfast, either from the stage or around the tables. Regardless, prayer is a powerful weapon, and we should not underestimate its impact on the lives of our nations.
Danny Webster is director of advocacy for the UK Evangelical Alliance, working to represent evangelical Christians in government and inspire them to engage in all areas of public life.