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World News

Sajid Javid confirms sermon at Prayer Breakfast led to his resignation as Health Secretary

by Donna Birrell

The Conservative Party leadership contender Sajid Javid has confirmed that a sermon given at a Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, which was sponsored by Premier at Westminster last week, made him decide to stand down as Health Secretary. His decision was the first in a wave of Cabinet resignations which eventually led to the resignation of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Javid said he had been wrestling with his conscience for months but that a sermon read by Rev Les Isaac had prompted him to take action :

"I made my decision then, sitting there listening to his sermon, and I just thought, it’s about integrity, it’s about a duty. If you haven’t got confidence in the boss, you owe it to yourself and the country to tell the boss nicely that you can’t serve and that was it."

Rev Isaac is the founder and CEO of Ascension Trust and also a pioneer of Street Pastors. His sermon referenced Psalm 23 :4 "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod a nd your staff, they comfort me."

He also spoke of Jesus expecting us to serve in humility quoting Philippians 2:8 : "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!"

Singer-songwriter Andy Flannagan was leading worship at the event which heralded the start of the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief. He told Premier the presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable :

"It's quite remarkable. It felt really significant. There were what you might describe as holy moments where God's presence was just irresistible. It was profound and powerful.

"It was an incredible little period of time. Quite a few MPs afterwards articulated to me that they just hadn't had time to stop and pause and reflect. You know, it's the first time in three years they felt that they had real space to sit in a place of beauty and reflect and I think what they were describing was God's irresistible presence.

"Something seems to have happened and many people have reported it and we were kind of guessing at it during the week but this morning, it's been confirmed by Sajid Javid in his own words.

"I think we can be encouraged by what's happened this week, as a result of our prayers.  During the  prayer breakfast, we sang Praise my soul, the King of heaven and there were 160 MPs and 30 members of the House of Lords there, more than we've ever had. It’s not often you can sing those words, "angels in the heights adore him", when you've actually got angels in the heights above you looking down on the incredible carved roof of Westminster Hall. The architects put those there as an intentional reminder of where ultimate authority lies.

"As Jesus said to Pilate, you have no authority, but it was given you from above. I think things happen when we put God in our place, and we are on our knees, and we realise we shouldn't be number one, I think things happen when he's lifted up, and when we acknowledge his supreme authority, but also, when we're on our knees in the presence of the one who knows it all, it renders us more likely to realise that we don't know it all.

"Therefore there might be just some shreds of humility, and the chance of listening to the voice from the other side of the fence, from the other political tribe. We need to pray as well as for stable government, we need to pray for more unity and more truth in the public square and more humility."

You can read more from Les Isaac’s sermon at

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