Once again we have been reminded in Northern Ireland that we cannot afford to be complacent.  The violence at the end of June and the early part of July has shown us that terrorism is never far beneath the surface.   For many years now I have felt that God will not allow us to move forward without Him.  Indeed any future without Him will be a very poor future indeed.   I feel that He is also insisting that we move forward together.  A lot of work remains to be done to bring that about.

The word repentance has also come back to me strongly over the last few weeks.  Both communities still behave at times in ways that bring the reputation of this country into disrepute.   Surely when people abroad hear about Protestants and Catholics in conflict the Christian cause is damaged.  Do we need to say sorry to God for that?  I believe we do.  We could begin by saying sorry to God privately for the misdemeanours of our own section of the community.   Opportunities may come to say sorry more openly.  That will require courage and humility.  But most of the repentance can be done quietly in our own private prayers.   I believe that when we do that we can receive forgiveness o f God, and this power can be released into the situation here.   More of us need to take repentance seriously. 

But we also need to keep recent violence in perspective.  Divine Healing Ministries has organised Seven Years of Prayer for Revival in this land.   We have already completed two years.   There are some very encouraging signs.   The visit to the Republic by Queen Elizabeth the Second was a big success.   Hardened political commentators said they could not believe how quickly the peace process is moving.  The elections in May went off relatively quietly.  There were some very mature debates on T.V.   Bishop Harold Miller said he could not remember any time before in his ministry when so many events were so well attended that people had to be turned away.   In February there was a big conference on revival organised by Rev James Burnett.  At the evening session the Waterfront Hall was filled to overflowing.

I would also say that all the prayer for revival and specific prayer for particular situations meant that violence at Ardoyne on July 12 was not nearly as bad as anticipated.   This year the violence ended after one night, unlike the last two years when it went on for three days.

I believe God has already started to answer prayer for revival.  We need to keep on praying so that the promise we feel the Lord has given us will become reality, that revival will come at the end of seven years of prayer.  It is worth making any sacrifice in order to bring that about.

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