Debra and Frank Green
Praying for those in authority is one of the church’s responsibilities, so it wasn’t difficult for us to agree on this as a theme for one of our evenings. We invited local councillors and MPs, and surprised them as they took to the stage by thanking them publicly for serving with diligence and enthusiasm. We told them that their hard work was appreciated not only by us and others in their constituencies but also by the Lord himself.
Aside from our personal views or persuasions, we all recognised that each of our guests that evening deserved the loud and sustained round of applause that happened spontaneously as Debra finished her introductions and opening comments. One by one, they recounted similar tales of long hours and demanding workloads. A common thread was the lack of appreciation each person felt, although none was complaining, simply accepting that this was par for the course.
There were tears in the eyes of most of them as they received our words of gratitude and praise. One former MP told us later that this was the first time in his long history of public service that he’d attended a meeting where nobody wanted something from him! He was certain that the same applied to our other guests as well.
Despite the fact that few, if any, of those who’d accepted our invitation were Christians, they were all happy to be prayed for publicly. We prayed for their families and personal lives and were surprised at how open some were. The human side of their public persona consistently showed as they opened up about challenges and pressures they were experiencing.
The most remarkable aspect of these [sorts of] gatherings is the atmosphere of openness and honesty that permeates them. You get the impression that the MP feels really safe, and even that this may be the only time they ever get the chance to share such personal and sensitive details about their lives.
From chapter 4 of City Changing Prayer – insights from Manchester’s impacting city-wide prayer movement, published by Kingsway/Survivor 2005