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Caroline Newbold1 
Caroline Newbold

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.   1 Timothy 2:1-2
Being hit by a coronavirus pandemic can be classified as a traumatic event and there are recognised stages to trauma.  Usually at first people pull together and help one another and we’ve certainly seen that, but the second stage is anger and now there are lots of questions being asked of the Government particularly and this has spilled out into strong feelings about other issues too.

As I reflected on this I was struck by how Jesus called the Pharisees to account – he did not accept the status quo but always challenged injustice because he was on the side of the poor and powerless.  The prophets in the Old Testament had a lot to say about the evil of inequality and about caring for our fellow human beings, but the Bible also clearly tells us to respect our leaders and support them – there’s a fine line to be trod here.

I recently read an interview with the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in which he said, ‘At the moment we’re quite understandably keen to hold the government to account about their handling of the pandemic.  But it doesn’t hurt to remember that we all take decisions on limited information, and all get sidelined or misled by judgements that look quite clear at one point and turn out not to be.’  He talks about how we are all human, take risks and make mistakes but we somehow expect our leaders to be above that which is not realistic or fair.

I’ve been challenged to remember to pray for those with great responsibilities recently; not only for the Prime Minister and those in the Cabinet, Civil Service & the NHS but also for our local politicians who have enormous challenges ahead of them in balancing budgets and making sure that the vulnerable continue to receive support.  We serve God first and our values at times may clash with those of the kingdom of this world but one thing we can all do is pray and that very often changes our perspective.

A prayer with actions for our national and local leaders, from 24-7
Place your hands on your head and ask God to give wisdom as they make decisions to protect people.
Cup your hand over your ear and ask God to bring excellent advisers to guide them.
Open your hands in front of you and ask God to give them the ability to communicate clearly to the public.
Let’s pray particularly for Rupa Huq, James Murray & Julian Bell today.