Church of England’s bishops issue call to prayer as UK citizens head to the polls

Posted May 22, 2024

[Church of England] The bishops of the Church of England have issued a call to put prayer and participation at the heart of the General Election campaign as the United Kingdom prepares to go to the polls.

Speaking after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced he is seeking a dissolution of Parliament ahead of an election on July 4, Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Stephen Cottrell urged people to set aside time amid the heat of the coming campaign to reflect and pray for our nation and our world.

They also issue a plea to everyone to put “good grace and a commitment to truth and integrity” at the heart of the campaign.

The Church of England is launching a campaign known as #PrayYourPart – to promote prayer and participation in the life of our nation and communities, both as voters and as citizens.

A series of daily thematic reflections written by bishops, drawn from the Bible and exploring major themes will be published shortly, covering the final three weeks up to polling day.

They will be available as a booklet, through an app, in audio form for smart speakers, as free opt-in emails and through social media.

Throughout the coming weeks a range of Christian voters from across England will be invited to share what they are praying for for the nation, through a series of videos under the banner #PrayYourPart.

Video – Archbishop of York

Archbishops Welby and Cottrell said: “The coming General Election is a critical moment in the life of our nation, which will shape our future by electing those who will make decisions affecting generations to come.

“It is a time for us all – people of all faiths and of none – to ask important questions about what kind of country we want to be.

“We are facing epic challenges both in our country and our world: from questions of war and peace, to poverty and injustice and very future of the Earth God has given us.

“Faced with such huge questions, our instinct as Christians is to turn to God in prayer and so we want to put prayer at the very heart of this campaign.

“We are therefore inviting everyone who is willing to dedicate the next few weeks as a time not just to think about the big questions but to pray for our nation and our world. And we want to invite everyone to think about how we all can play our part both as voters and, more broadly, as citizens.

“We would add a plea that no matter how big the issues as stake over the next few weeks, this will be a time marked by respect for one another, for good grace and a commitment to truth and integrity.

“It is our prayer that, even in the heat of the debate, we will treat each other with respect and kindness.

“And we give thanks for the dedication of all who stand for public office in service of our communities – often at great personal cost – and those who support the process.”