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24 January 2013

Please pray: marriage campaign reaches crucial period

We are asking for your prayers, as we enter a crucial period in the campaign to defend the historic meaning of marriage.

Can you also encourage your church to join with other Christians across the country in a day of prayer for marriage on Sunday 3 February?

The government will tomorrow publish its bill which will seek to redefine marriage.

But the bill can't become law unless it is backed by parliament – and that is by no means a foregone conclusion.

The government may very well say that people who believe in historic marriage have nothing to worry about. But we're not convinced their proposed protections will work. Just last week, European judges failed to protect registrar Lillian Ladele's beliefs about marriage by ruling that she couldn't opt out of civil partnership ceremonies.

On 5 February, MPs will have their first opportunity to debate and vote on the bill at what's called the second reading stage – a crucial moment for the whole campaign.

We don't need an outright win at this stage – so don't worry if the bill passes this first hurdle – but it is important that as many MPs as possible vote no.

A healthy no vote, even if it's not an outright majority, will put added pressure on the government to drop its plans to redefine marriage.

So that's why we are asking for your prayers. Please pray:

  • That marriage will not be redefined, and that it will be promoted in society for the good of all.
  • That as many MPs as possible will vote against the bill to redefine marriage.
  • For the Coalition for Marriage group as it campaigns to defend the historic meaning of marriage.
  • For politicians and others in public life to have the courage to stand up for their conviction.
  • For the news media, that they would report the issue widely, fairly, and accurately.
  • That the consequences of redefining marriage would be publicly known and properly discussed.
  • That people would not face discrimination, in the workplace or elsewhere, because of their sincere beliefs about marriage.

Open prayer is encouraged, but this written prayer may also be of help:

Heavenly Father,

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 good of all people.

We pray for our nation, as our government seeks to redefine marriage. We pray that these plans would fail.

And we pray for ourselves, that we 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.

Yours with respect and appreciation,

Steve Clifford, general director