The Democratic Party made history last night by confirming Hillary Clinton as the first woman to be nominated by a major party for the presidency. Her husband told the story of their first meeting and life together, encouraging the crowd and the millions watching on television to trust her as someone who gets things done.
While democracy made headlines in Philadelphia, its enemies continued to do the same around the world. French President Francois Hollande declared the murder of an eighty-five-year-old priest in Normandy to be an ISIS-inspired attack. Police had identified one of the killers as a suspected terrorist, but they failed to stop him. Authorities have flagged more than ten thousand radicalized individuals in France.
Their country is by no means the only nation under siege. Syrian state TV is reporting that forty-four were killed in a massive bombing there. Suicide bombers killed thirteen people in Somalia. Israeli forces have killed the Hamas militant responsible for a drive-by shooting that killed a rabbi earlier this month. And that’s just this morning’s news.
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the challenges we face? What can we do?
The obvious answer is to pray. Scripture is clear: “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). If we ask, it will be given to us (Matthew 7:7). John Wesley believed that “God will do nothing on earth except in answer to believing prayer.”
But it’s easy to wonder if praying together actually changes the world. So consider this: During the dark days of World War II, British Major Wellesley Tudor Pole proposed what became known as the “Silent Minute.” He suggested that people devote one minute each evening at 9:00 to praying for peace. Both King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill supported the idea.
On Sunday, November 10, 1940, BBC radio began broadcasting the chiming of Big Ben as a signal for the Silent Minute to begin. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt encouraged the Silent Minute, which spread across land and sea to battlefields, air raid shelters, and hospitals.
After the war, a British intelligence officer was interrogating a high Nazi official. He asked him why he thought Germany had been defeated. The official replied, “During the war, you had a secret weapon for which we could find no counter measure, which we did not understand, but it was very powerful. It was associated with the striking of the Big Ben each evening. I believe you called it the ‘Silent Minute.'”
In 1994, a British group revived the Silent Minute. It has become a global movement, with more than 124 million daily participants. Each evening at 8 PM Central Standard Time (9 PM Eastern, 7 PM Mountain, and 6 PM Pacific), I will join millions of others in praying for our nation and the upcoming election. I invite you to join us, beginning tonight.
Max Lucado noted, “When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works.” We can do no greater work than praying for Almighty God to work. Do you agree?
NOTE: Nick Pitts, our Director of Cultural Engagement, is reporting this week from the Democratic National Convention. For more, see our Facebook page.