Let us look at this prayer line by line
26th April 2016
The Church of England has released a prayer for the EU referendum campaign. The prayer is for use by churches and individuals ahead of the vote on 23rd June.
We feel this is a good prayer. It is regrettable that there have been comments critical of our Archbishop. Lord Tebbit is right in saying that there is ambiguity - in some people's minds, about this prayer and confusion in their statements. The EU effects all of the world and we might pray for all of the world when considering our referendum decision.
Let us look at this prayer line by line.
God of truth,
give us grace to debate the issues in this referendum
with honesty and openness.
Not only must it be a Eurosceptic's plea that honesty and openness should prevail but what worth has a referendum decision, even for us, if it is gained by deceit?
Give generosity to those who seek to form opinion
and discernment to those who vote,
We might go futher and pray that we ourselves might engage in deep reflection and attempt to discern and abide by God's will before we seek to form opinion. And who could disagree that our intention when we speak should be generous? The manner in which we all conduct ourselves in this referendum should be as Jesus taught us.
that our nation may prosper
of course - and not even primarily in monetary terms.
and that with all the peoples of Europe
This is where my enthusiasm for the Arch-Bishop's prayer really builds because it as a blow against the harm the EU is causing to my neighbour that a vote for Brexit really matters. The prayer says peoples, plural, of Europe. This is the eurosceptic view. And the error of confusing the EU with Europe is avoided. And with the peoples of Europe, of course: it is for a better kind of "with" than the regime of the EU that our cause is all about.
we may work for peace and the common good;
With all my heart, yes! There is more to peace than just not being in a shooting war. If we sincerely believe that the EU has put its ideology, its idolatry, of the Euro before a care for the misery of the people from Ireland to Greece, then surely our first hope must be for real peace. We see tensions and hatred building up in Europe today because of the injustice of the Euro and the babylonian shifting of people called free movement of labour. Let us pray for all who are shifted from their homes.
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Because we should not, in our arrogance, forget that all that we think is right or wrong in the affairs of men is subject to a higher purpose.