Leading evangelical groups have urged Christians to pray for marriage in the light of Government plans to redefine it.
The call for prayer has been jointly issued by CARE (Christian Action Research and Education), Christian Concern, the Evangelical Alliance and The Christian Institute.
A statement released by the four groups said: “The place of marriage in society is being hotly debated within Government and in the media, and the prayers of Christians are needed now more than ever.
“The campaign to stop marriage being redefined may go on for years, and it is important to keep going. Prayer will be needed every step of the way.
“But there is a particular need for prayer now because the Government is currently analysing the responses to its consultation. More than 100,000 responses were sent in, which is a tremendous number.”
The groups say that open prayer is encouraged, but they have also suggested a written prayer for use throughout the nation:
We thank you for the gift of marriage which you established at the dawn of time, to be a blessing for all generations throughout the earth, down through the ages.
We pray that you would fill each and every marriage with your love and grace, and that every husband and wife would know the joy that comes from sharing and giving.
We thank you for establishing marriage to be a secure and stable environment for raising children.
We pray for all those who do not enjoy those blessings, remembering that you are a father to the orphan and a husband to the widow.
We pray, as you have commanded us, for those in positions of civil authority.
We pray that our Government will act with wisdom and righteousness, upholding marriage as the voluntary union of one man to one woman for life, for the common good of all people.
And we pray for your church, that it would speak out in support of marriage with gentleness and kindness, but also with courage and confidence.
In the name of Christ Jesus our Lord we pray. Amen.
Nola Leach, Chief Executive of CARE (Christian Action Research and Education), said: “This is a crucial time for marriage in our nation.
“It is right that Christians should be earnestly praying about the issue, thanking God for the gift of marriage and praying that it is not redefined in law.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said: “We want to see millions of Christians up and down the land praying that marriage remains between one man and one woman. Prayer is real, and prayer works.”
Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: “Thousands of evangelical churches are compassionately involved in community projects because they care about people’s lives.
“Supporting the true meaning of marriage is part of that compassionate concern. We would encourage Christians everywhere to pray about this crucial issue.”
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “Children do best when raised by their married mother and father, which is why the Government should be supporting marriage not redefining it.
“This is one of the defining issues of our generation, and Christians throughout the land should be repeatedly praying about it.”