I have a confession to make. The night before the Brexit referendum, I prayed for divine intervention, suggesting one possible thing to the Lord (meaning the triune God of Christianity), in the context of a general prayer for Him to do something. I suggested His causing freak weather on polling day, affecting areas of the country where intended Remain voters were in the majority.
The overall agenda of my prayer request was divine intervention sufficient to procure, by a narrow margin, the result to the Brexit referendum that enabled God to bring about His good purposes, causing least suffering.
It was a very specific prayer. I prayed for a near fifty-fifty split of the vote, although not so close that there would have to be a recount. I asked this so that there would simply have to be a process of reconciliation between the two sides, Leave and Remain, or so I hoped. I thought if either side won a resounding victory, there would be bitterness and disappointment. The two sides had been at each other’s throats somewhat during the campaign period.
As Remain were ahead of Leave in the opinion polls, I prayed that if God wanted the side that won to be Leave, as I suspected He did, because I suspected that He wanted the final outcome to be that the UK left, He might perhaps choose to accomplish this purpose without interfering in the free will of voters. I suggested storms and floods that kept voters away from the polls in parts of the country where Remain had a majority.
The rest, as they say, is history. The news reports on the morning after included both apparently unconnected stories, both the weather and the narrow and unexpected victory for Leave in the referendum.
I believe my prayer for freak weather was answered. I was reminded of this event when recently the press gallery of the House of Commons was flooded.
This is not the first time that a freak weather event and a newsworthy event in the country’s history have coincided. I believe the so-called “hurricane” happened the night before a stock market crash. I didn’t pray for that coincidence, but I did pray for this one. I expect somebody prayed for that, and that somebody else prayed for the recent small flood in the House of Commons.
I do realise that theologians are likely to have criticisms as severe of my approach to prayer in this context, as unbelievers are of the fact that I pray at all. But I am telling the truth. I wasn’t trying to be clever. It was a very simple, child-like sort of praying I did. I doubt I am the only one to have prayed along these lines either.
I repeat my prayer. “God, please do something. And, if there is anything you want me to do, please cause me to realise what, and help me to do it. Amen.” Who will join me in that prayer? Who said “Amen” after reading it?