Connecting with Culture
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In addition, a quarter (24%) of UK adults say they have watched or listened to a religious service since lockdown, 5% of whom say they have never been to church before. Some churches are seeing double, sometimes triple, the number of people watching their Sunday meetings online that would normally attend in person.
Tearfund released this research (which received a huge amount of media coverage) on the same day that The UK Blessing was unleashed over the country. That was completely coincidental, but it felt an extraordinary day when matters of prayer and faith were talked about across both traditional and social media channels.
I am struck by Augustine’s prayer, ‘You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you’. Could it be that as the noise and busyness of normal life have subsided, restlessness has started to surface and, faced with new fears and uncertainties, hearts have started to turn to God?
I find this research encouraging because it is my experience that prayer and practical action go hand in hand in responding to any crisis. We have seen a wonderful outpouring of practical action in our society and I believe we need an accompanying movement of prayer.
The research tells us that people are inevitably and understandably praying most for family and friends, and Tearfund is calling people to broaden that out to pray for both our global and local neighbours, and for our government as it makes key decisions around how to stimulate the economy. It is crucial that we use this opportunity to reboot our economy along lines that are climate resilient and socially fair.
So let this research give you a new courage to offer to pray for people you know who are struggling, or invite them to watch an online service. And let’s also turn our prayers and actions beyond our immediate horizons to remember that we are part of a global community.
Dr. Ruth Valerio is Global Advocacy and Influencing Director at Tearfund.
Tearfund have recently launched a resource called The World Rebooted to help church leaders and their congregations explore how they can help positively shape the reboot of our society and economy. Find out more here.