A petition has been launched calling the Prime Minister to hold a National Day of Prayer in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The organiser of the initiative, evangelist David Hathaway, urged the PM to call the nation before God, noting that "historically only prayer has delivered this nation from a time of crisis, as evidenced in both in the First World War in 1918 and even more so in WWII".
Hathaway added that "when we have no human answer to the coronavirus which has devastated both health and our economy" we must "seek God’s answer".
The CitizenGO petition has garnered almost 3,500 signatures by Saturday morning, with a provision goal of reaching 5,000. Hathaway, a former foreign missionary, also called for the day to be dedicated to praying for the persecuted church.
"When even our government accepts that Christians are the most persecuted minority in the world, it is time for us to once again demonstrate our need both nationally and individually for God’s help," he wrote.
The official petition statement reads in full:
"We, the undersigned, request that you call for a National Day of Prayer on a suitable Sunday. That to facilitate this, you allow the churches to be open for prayer and worship without restriction, for this specific and important day.
"We ask you to remember and recognise the strong Christian heritage of this nation and the power of prayer, which is greater than any other power on earth.
"During the last war King George VI and Parliament called 7 days of Prayer and history shows the result was immediate and incredible – the first Day of Prayer on March 27th 1940 bringing the miracle of Dunkirk, and later, on September 8th 1940, delivering Britain during the Battle of Britain in the air.
"We remind you that the legal autonomy of the Church was enshrined when 800 years ago King John in the first clause of Magna Carta, ‘granted to God, and by this present Charter have confirmed, that the Church of England shall be free and shall have all her rights and liberties inviolable, forever.’ This autonomy was in more recent times confirmed by The European Court of Human Rights. Because of this, the courts in Germany and France overturned the wholesale lockdown of places of worship, as did the churches in the USA, yet our government sought to prevent a similar legal challenge in the UK – although after Brexit we have adopted all these European laws into our legal system.
"While Government and the NHS bring help and can heal the body, only God can bring healing to the inner ‘man’ of soul and spirit, which is the eternal part of ‘man’ and is recognised as suffering increasingly as the result of the pandemic.
"At this critical time when the coronavirus – Covid 19 – has not been eliminated, we have economic crisis, uncertainty and great pressure in government and on the whole of society, we believe that only when the nation returns to its spiritual roots and calls upon the God of the Bible, will this nation be restored.
"God has spoken in the Bible, saying, ‘When I send a plague among My people, if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray… I will hear from Heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land’! 2 Chronicles 7:13-14. We request you accept this petition and call a Day of Prayer for the nation. We will be courageous and unite with you to accept the only answer to deliver this nation."
A separate petition was launched in March, also asking the prime minister for a National Day of Prayer. The petition started by Susan Hawkes has received more than 65,600 signatures.