Prayers in Parliament

A colleague, who shall be nameless, has suggested in a Westminster Hall debate that the prayers said in the main chamber at the start of the day should be abolished or at least moved to Westminster Hall, the second chamber. The grounds for this argument was that prayers take up a precious three minutes of the parliamentary day better spent on other, more temporal things.

My view is that, quite apart from the fact that these prayers are beautifully poetic and traditional, they provide a short opportunity to meditate or even collect one’s thoughts at the start of the day.

Irrespective of one’s religious view, is three minutes in 24 hours too much to think about God, the creator of all that is? Is three minutes too long for the members of the National Executive to pause and remember their place, their duties and their responsibility for wellbeing of their nation?

Christians, I believe, must be prepared to stand up for their belief in public life. If they don’t, their views will fast be marginalised or driven out because they would be considered eccentric to hold them – even in a nation with a Christian heritage.


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