Please pray that Theresa May will protect religious liberty

Dear supporter,

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – 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 men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

1 Timothy 2:1-4

With the appointment of a new Prime Minister today, please pray for those in authority.

As Paul says in these verses, we are to pray for those in the Government that we “may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” and that men may be “saved and come to a knowledge of the truth”. Paul is making the point that governments can make it easier or harder for Christians to live out their faith and to share the Gospel.

Since we care deeply about these things, let’s make sure we pray for those in authority to allow Gospel freedom.

Protecting Gospel freedom

Whilst we pray for the peace and prosperity of our country (Jeremiah 29:7), I believe that at this time we should also specifically pray for Gospel freedom. And one of the greatest threats to this freedom is the Government’s counter-extremism policy.

Theresa May is in many ways the architect of this policy. We can expect that as Prime Minister she will pursue the same line.

It is therefore important that we pray that she might be given wisdom as she chooses her ministers, and decides on the details of the Government’s programme.

We strongly support combating Islamist extremism. It has to be fought. Christians are right behind our law enforcement agencies in doing this. We should pray for their success.

But the Government’s definition of extremism is far too wide. Many commentators agree. Under the current definition, being socially conservative could be wrongly classed as extremism. This puts Gospel freedom in jeopardy. Already in schools, Ofsted inspectors – tasked with countering extremism – have been asking Christian teachers about their personal beliefs on same-sex marriage. This is the same Ofsted which the Government thinks should inspect Church youth groups.

The forthcoming counter-extremism Bill could make matters much worse if the current vague definition is not radically tightened up. Without a clear and targeted definition, we fear the new 'Extremism Disruption Orders' could be used to silence preachers and the new closure orders could be used to close down church premises. The Government knows there are many civil and religious liberty concerns. Let’s pray that they get it right.

Pray for all those in authority

Finally under our Parliamentary system it is not good for our country to have a weak opposition.

Until the recent turbulent events, Labour MPs were set to strongly oppose those aspects of the Government’s counter-extremism Bill which Christians are also concerned about. But if the opposition is disorganised this is much more difficult. So let’s pray for a strong opposition.

Please pray for our Prime Minister and our MPs, that they may protect freedom for the Gospel.

Yours in Christ,
Colin Hart
Colin Hart
The Christian Institute