Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Praying about the British Referendum

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Praying about the British Referendum

Article excerpt

How natural it is it not just for Britons but also for others around the globe to have a genuine interest in the upcoming referendum on that country's leaving or remaining in the European Union - a referendum that could have a profound effect on Britain, on Europe, and on much of the world. Whether you are in the thick of the referendum debate within British society or a distant but caring observer, prayer can make a world of difference.

Prayer, the way Jesus practiced and taught it, isn't rooting for a particular outcome. As illustrated in the Lord's Prayer, true prayer starts with spiritual facts that already exist. The opening words of that prayer, "Our Father," affirm that we are one family, while its closing words, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory," state emphatically that this universal family of man is under His supreme government (Matthew 6:9, 13). We best contribute to progress relative to any election or referendum by staying close mentally to such spiritual facts and letting those facts shape human events.

However, it may be hard not to have definite views regarding a fundamental change to your country. Thinking through issues, possibilities, and ramifications in a clear, well-informed way is really what we're called to do. And the civility with which people deal with different, even opposing views, is a primary mark of maturity within a person or within a society.

In Canada, where I hail from, Quebec held referendums in 1980 and in 1995 on the province essentially becoming its own country. While there was heated discussion at the time of each of the votes and the decisions were close, most significant was the peacefulness of the process and the democratic acceptance of the outcome.

At the time of the second referendum, when I was living in Canada's capital, my prayers led me to ask: What gives me my sense of identity? …

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