The G7 is a gathering of heads of State from some of the world’s most wealthy nations. From 10th to 13th June they met in the UK (the host country) in a most beautiful seaside location in the county of Cornwall in the far South-West of England.
Why was this important? Well, since the Coronavirus pandemic began eighteen months ago, it has been one of the first face-to-face gathering of any of the world leaders. Decisions taken there are likely to influence the planet in multiple ways for years to come.
At this summit the prime areas for discussion were flagged as – a global response to the pandemic, the economy, climate change and security issues. Each of these had to some extent been looked at in detail in advance by the respective Governments’ ministers responsible. So at the summit corporate commitments were made, some of which have been announced, some probably will never be!
At previous similar summits over the past 25 years, there had been a gathering of praying people from the different nations somewhere in the vicinity of the summit. This year, because of the Covid restrictions in place within the UK, this was deemed not possible.
So why pray about political decisions? Firstly Scripture informs us that “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” In other words, the advance of God’s kingdom is directly related to our praying for those in authority.
We are also aware that, whenever the kings of the earth come together, so do the principalities and powers arraigned against us and Christ. Some want Satan to rule this world. We don’t. So it is imperative for us to pray, in order that Satan doesn’t have His way, but rather that the kingdom of God is advanced throughout the world. Christ is king over all the earth.
This year a Global Prayer Summit came together in a way that was different from anything attempted before, and on a scale that was global. For each of the four days there was an online “virtual” season of prayer for 12 hours a day, led by prayer leaders mostly from within the UK, but with some significant help from elsewhere, and parcipation from many nations. Many of those involved had little experience of praying about global issues, so for some it was a steep learning curve. A total of over 500 people participated in hour-long slots during the 48 hours of prayer – some multiple times – during the four days. A few prayed through the night in their country. All of this was coordinated by the World |Prayer Centre team in Birmingham, England, to whom a big “thank you” is due. Their expertise and previous experience in this kind of summits was pivotal.
But it all began in Cornwall. For the past five months a group of church and ministry leaders have been meeting weekly online to pray, at the invitation of the local MP who was responsible for hosting this prestigious gathering in his Parliamentary constituency. Throughout that time he has seen how prayer, in relation to the issues as they emerged, had been answered. Consistently we had prayed for the presence of God, Father, Son and Spirit to be experienced. That these world leaders would become aware of the God of creation, as they looked at the incredible beauty of His creation; or the needs of the poorer nations and peoples as they considered the way to combat poverty and the pandemic.
In addition, God had led several groups to walk and pray, do on-site prayer in various locations, and to join together to pray. Teams of young people engaged creatively. The churches in the area had mounted a witness, with crosses erected in the streets, with rubbish nailed to them! And on the Sunday beforehand, an online prayer evening brought together over 200 Christians in Cornwall from many expressions of church – hosted by the MP!
Contact was made with a team of chaplains to the more than 5,000 police who had been drafted into the area to look after security issues. They testified that it was a mostly peaceful summit. None of the anticipated violence and trouble materialised. Instead the police were welcomed, blessed practically and spiritually and went home with glowing reports of their time in Cornwall. The word “open heaven” was mentioned a number of times – both in prayer and in the response of those on the streets.
The Prayer summit leadership had in advance set up connections with people on the ground who could provide information for prayer as and when necessary. Most of that, in the event, was not needed. The Prayer Summit itself was interspersed with worship, led prayer, declarations, Scripture, break-out rooms, simultaneous audible prayer. We had consistently prayed “Your kingdom come…Your will be done….On earth, as it is in Heaven….” We had declared an “open heaven” over the area – and so it proved to be – naturally and spiritually. So we praise God for the answers.
This theme continued throughout the summit.
So what of the future? Well there are many other gatherings of world leaders occurring regularly. Maybe God will lead you, wherever you are, to plan or be part of initiatives to pray throughout such summits – for the leaders and the decisions they make to be in accordance with God’s agenda and purpose for this planet, and not man’s.
God is calling us to be better disciples. How do we do that?