We thank you for the many, many blessings we have simply because of where we live in Europe. Thank you for the relative safety, comfort and freedom that we enjoy.
But we see Europe is being shaken. So many of our certainties are disappearing.
Whole towns and regions feel left behind economically. People are angry.
The sudden arrival of refugees has upset many. Islamic terrorism has made this worse.
Some nations reassert their identity in ways that rightly worry their neighbours or their ethnic and religious minorities.
Some politicians promise simple solutions but these are usually too simple to be trusted. Meanwhile, other politicians carry on as if there aren’t any problems, and many people don’t trust them either.
Politics, from across the political spectrum, is often getting angry and intolerant. If this gets worse, we could be in big, big trouble.
There is so little trust.
But…, we trust in your sovereignty and ask that you help us to be light in the darkness.
Even if their arrival can be a challenge, we thank you that our nations are where so many migrants and refugees want to come. Thank you for all the amazing work to welcome these vulnerable people with the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ. Help us to keep going.
And we cry out to you for Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, and other places where violence & persecution make people’s lives utterly desperate. Please Lord save lives.
Please help us to be peace makers, bridge builders and hope bearers to the angry, the scared, the ignored, the poor and the vulnerable, whoever they are.
Help us to examine our own fears and frustrations, to forgive, to pray and to seek positive solutions.
Help us to value those who are very different to us. Help your Church to welcome people no matter who they are. And help us especially to welcome the most vulnerable, including the foreigner.
We know it is possible that there will be more terrorism. If so, help us to be people of hope and peace in the darkness.
We know it is possible there may be more attacks on individual Muslims, migrants and refugees. And we certainly know it is likely that some of the media or politicians will scapegoat these people unfairly. Give us the courage to be vigilant in prayer, in defending the weak and in condemning shameful words, actions or policies.
We know that more Christians will be told to shut up because we dare to express our faith in both word and deed. Help us to be bold in witnessing to the truth anyway, but always acting with grace.
Help us to discern what you want our nations to be, especially what values and virtues will honour you and bring Shalom to all.
Europe’s challenges are huge. Lord, please be merciful. And help us to step forward as salt and light, to play our part and pointing people to you, the King of Kings.