Photography by Geoff Crawford

Theresa May joins 170 Peers and MPs at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast

Theresa May became the third Prime Minister to attend the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast at the Houses of Parliament, earlier today

 

The Prime Minister eschewed division over tomorrow’s Brexit debate in the Commons and joined with 470 other Peers, Members of Parliament and church leaders, in prayers for the country, its leaders and for the poor and marginalised.

Looking relaxed, Mrs May joined in hymns including an acapela version of Psalm 23, and took part in reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

In a written statement, the Prime Minister said that ‘the Christian gospel has transformed the United Kingdom, with its values and teachings helping to shape the laws, customs and society of the country.’

She added that the Prayer Breakfast was ‘an excellent opportunity both to celebrate Christians’ ongoing contribution to this country and to reflect on the role Christianity can play in contemporary public life.’

And, she urged those attending the annual event to continue their ‘engagement as Christians in public life for the common good of all’.

The keynote speaker, Tim Keller, a Presbyterian pastor from America, echoed this statement saying that Britain had ‘been shaped by Christianity’.

‘The ethos that we all take for granted, is the fruit of the Bible and Christianity,’ he said, adding that ‘what society needed’ was ‘millions of people who have been shaped by the self-giving of Jesus Christ.’

He added that, ‘British society should let Christians be different, and Muslims be different. They should not say, “You must be secular”. Christians benefit society more when they are not just like everyone else in society.’

The event was attended by 170 Members of Parliament from all sides of the House, Peers, the Speaker and Black Rod. They included Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Tim Farron MP, Rt Hon Ian Blackford MP and Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP.

Ian Blackford MP, who chaired the event, said it was ‘very significant’ that the Prime Minister had attended.

‘I’m delighted that the Prime Minister was here to show her support,’ he said. ‘The National Prayer Breakfast is the highlight of the year for Christians in Parliament.’

Tim Farron MP, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, described the event as ‘massively inspiring and genuinely moving’.

He encouraged Christians to get involved in politics. ‘Don’t let my experience put you off,’ he joked. ‘For me, if I wanted to be consistent and to not car crash my faith, I had to step down. But the glass ceiling for Christians in politics is relatively high.

‘Christianity is, and should be, counter-cultural,’ he said. ‘If you are not getting a bit of stick, you are doing something wrong.’

Bible Society was principal sponsor of the National Prayer Breakfast. Its CEO, Prof Paul Williams said the event was ‘encouraging and moving’.

‘We want to encourage the Church to recover confidence in the Bible,’ he said adding that through that Christians would be able to ‘help preserve what’s good and draw out what’s best in society.’

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