Prayer at the City Hall

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks around Belfast as people have reacted to the ‘fleg’ decision. There have been protests and there has been violence and disruption.

Yesterday morning several hundred people lined up around Belfast City Hall for a five minute prayer vigil on behalf of the city.

Two observations about it:

  1. Leadership. A range of ages was represented in the crowd. But one of the striking things, as Steve Stockman has already observed, is the fact that the leadership of this event came from young people. It was not my generation (or that of people slightly older than me) who made the call. It was three young men. Three young leaders had the vision and concern to call for the event.
  2. Next actions. I noticed a couple of friends on Twitter who were struggling a little with the event. These are men who lead churches in difficult parts of the city and country. They were wondering what would happen if some of the people from the prayer rally went to work in the places they work. Of course none of us knows how many of the City Hall pray-ers is actively involved in serving in an inner city area. But without taking anything away from a very positive initiative, and without seeking to undermine the value of prayer (as Wesley said: ‘prayer does not equip us for the greater work – prayer is the greater work), there is a challenge to those of us who were at the City Hall not to allow five minutes of prayer to make us think that we have done our bit and it stops there. I’m reminded of Nehemiah’s story that started with prayer and went on to involve rubble and stones and walls and gates.

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