When Ben spent time praying in Germany, just down the road from COP23, God inspired him to keep praying and to have faith that the impossible can happen.
I love our prayer room at COP23. It’s in a Baptist church ten minutes from the conference centre, where world leaders are meeting for the UN’s climate talks, and it’s inspiring.
We’ve used the Renew Our World prayer guide to set it up with different prayer stations for different aspects of climate change, like the refugees represented by the suitcase, or the toy plane for the accidental damage our lifestyles cause.
Praying there last night I remembered the story of the big cross at the Ffald y Brenin retreat centre in Wales – they wanted to put up a big wooden cross in a place where it was going to be very difficult, as it needed to be sunk into solid rock, but they found it went in easily and stayed up. I felt challenged to pray that God would implant a permanent calling to stop the world overheating in the hearts of each delegate from each government at the climate talks, in a similarly unlikely way to the cross sunk into the rock.
Many delegates and governments already are passionately committed to action on climate, to stop people going hungry and being hit by floods and disasters, and preserve the rest of God’s creation that he made and gave us the task of caring for. For many it’s just a job though, and for some they’re at COP23 to frustrate any progress.
But prayer is powerful. Without prayer I can’t see how we’d have got the historic Paris Agreement on climate in 2015, when all the world’s countries but two agreed to limit the temperature rise to below 2 degrees, and as near 1.5 degrees as possible, as we asked for but I wasn’t expecting. I was also surprised and encouraged when one of the Fiji team who hold the presidency of the talks said the same thing – we wouldn’t have got this far without prayer.
And, I found again in our prayer room, prayer changes us, reconnects us to God, restores our hope, and reminds us how the world really is if we’re seeing it out of perspective. So I’m ready to pray big prayers again for each government to turn their Paris Agreement promises into real action, quick enough to work.
I’m even ready to pray that ordinary people wake up to the need to change our lifestyles and hold our governments to account, and for the church around the world to lead the way.
Join us, and let’s keep praying for our world (and us) to be renewed.
If you’d like to pray but don’t know how – or would like some new ideas – check out our prayer guide, available in Spanish, Portuguese and English