Thursday, 30 June 2016

Unexpected Consequences

Anyone who spends a while with sincere Christians will become aware eventually that praying for someone, and especially telling them that you will pray for them, is not always without a certain agenda. It can often provide a psychological gloss for resentments and hostility, and a means of avoiding dealing with them. What you find yourself doing is praying that the other person will change their mind, fall in line with your agenda, and do what you would prefer they did. 

Of course this kind of praying is hopeless. If you're genuinely going to pray for someone, you must make an effort to understand where they're coming from, enter into their thinking, and desire the best for them regardless of what may have gone on between you and them, leaving the exact outcome to God.

Our doctrine tutor at college once said that he strove not to slag off any politician who he hadn't prayed for, a statement which has always remained with me. I do mention the Government and Opposition in my prayers, at least in general terms if rarely calling to mind individuals within them. However, at the moment I find it especially hard to be charitable, especially to the two posh boys who have plunged this country and more obliquely the rest of the world into chaos by pursuing the feud they began in the playground forty years ago. So I have done my best to pray for Mr Cameron and Mr Johnson over the last couple of days, aware, as they presumably are, of the colossal effects of the gamble they have, from their different directions, both taken.

And now the careers of not one but both of them are apparently over. Both have lost the game; both are humbled by failure - at least outwardly. I will say only that this puts a very strange complexion on my prayers.

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