Without question, the Lord’s prayer is surely the most famous prayer of all time. Many of us will have learnt it at church or Sunday school, others will have recited it in a school assembly, and many millions will have used it as part of their daily devotionals with the Lord.

Every word of every phrase has been commented upon, interpreted, explained, meditated upon multiple times, and yet every utterance remains profound and invites the believer praying it to a closer relationship with the Lord. The opening words Our Father” not only acknowledge to whom we come in prayer but remind us that as lavishly loved children of God (1 John 3:1), we share one divine heavenly Father with all our Christian brothers and sisters across the globe.

The greatest commandment given to us by Jesus in Mark 12:30 – 31 explicitly revolves around relationships, firstly with God and then with one another: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no
commandment greater than these.”

The truth is, the latter commandment is surely an outworking of the former. The more we determine to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, the easier it is to love others. Likewise, the deeper our understanding is of what Jesus has accomplished for us by laying down His life in order to reconcile us to the Father, the more we should be stirred with a passion to share the gospel with those who don’t yet know Him. Truly, it’s Christ’s love which compels us to no longer live for ourselves, but for Him. It’s His love for us that stirs up a relentless passion in a believer for making Him known to others.


Back in November 2019, I had the immense privilege of attending the World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia. Towards the end of the
conference, just as my body was in the full throes of jet lag and my mind saturated with the teaching we’d received, a woman called Mary took the microphone in what had until then been a mere business meeting.

It wasn’t long before my eyes were welling up as she spoke of her deep gratitude that many generations ago, missionaries from Wales had arrived in Northeast India with the sole purpose of sharing the gospel with her people. Such was the impact of what they shared, that at one stage an estimated 80 per cent of the Mizoram population had become Christians.

Mary’s testimony is, of course, not unique. Wales was once renowned for being a missionary sending nation, with scores of men and women giving up their lives on these shores to share the gospel across the world. However, by today, with a few exceptions, we are predominantly a missionary receiving nation. At the Evangelical Alliance’s base in Cardiff, we share office space with (amongst others) Missional Links Wales, which is a core initiative of Evangelical Alliance Wales. Out of the many connections he has with churches in the USA, their founder and director Rob Burns has been running internships for nearly 20 years, enabling young Americans to work with local churches to bring spiritual transformation in multiple towns and cities in both south and north Wales.

Nehemiah, an example

As I enter my second year as director of the Evangelical Alliance in Wales, I’ve been both captivated and challenged once again by the account of Nehemiah. Here was a man living in the citadel of Susa, far removed from the city of Jerusalem which had been demolished by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies. On hearing from his brother Hanani of the physical state of Jerusalem’s broken-down walls, it’s burntdown gates and of those who had survived the exile, we are told that that Nehemiah sat
down and mourned, fasted and prayed for some days.

The level of ownership and responsibility Nehemiah takes over the spiritual and physical condition of Jerusalem is profoundly challenging. I wonder when you and I last mourned, fasted and prayed for the condition of our towns, cities and nations? There are days when even watching the news can be difficult as we hear reports of the rise in mental health illnesses, suicide, human trafficking and the many beautiful souls who have died in transit to other countries. What about the increase in homelessness, or the fact that many live in such poverty that they rely on foodbanks for emergency packages of food? Does it trouble you and me that so many church buildings across the UK lie empty while a nation goes about its’ business not knowing that there is a God in heaven who loves them, has great plans for their lives and longs to be in relationship with them?

Let’s not allow ourselves to become so accustomed and accepting of the condition of our nation that we become numb. Nehemiah’s passion for God’s people turned
into prayer and action, and I’m convinced that this is a template for how we too should approach spiritual transformation. When the time finally arrived for Nehemiah to approach the king and request that the walls be rebuilt, Artaxerxes asks him a critical question: What is it you want?” (Nehemiah 2:4). Knowing
what we want for our towns and cities surely informs our prayers. What is it that we want for the nations?

What Nehemiah wanted was an opportunity to rebuild. Not only was he willing to take ownership before God for the state of the city and of God’s people, he was willing to be used in a practical way to do something about their restoration. I think there’s a challenge for us all here in that Nehemiah was fully prepared to be a part of the answer to his own prayers. As Nehemiah declared his willingness to rebuild (Nehemiah 2:17), the people replied, Let us start rebuilding” (Nehemiah 2:18), and they began the work together.

At the end of 2019, we established four regional HUBS in the south, west, mid and north of Wales and invited a number of key leaders, whether church leaders or
bi-vocational Christians, to speak into the work and vision of the Evangelical Alliance in Wales. In order for us to ascertain a broad representation of the church here in Wales, we deliberately invited leaders from a broad range of evangelical theological viewpoints, men and women, Welsh and English speakers, and representatives from black and ethnic minority churches. We were so humbled and inspired by the willingness of people to partner with us and with each other for the sake of the gospel. We can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us as we look to work together to make Jesus known.

The truth is that if we’re going to see spiritual transformation across the UK, then we need to work together. The Bible describes us as being one body (1 Corinthians 12) with each part of the body designed to play different parts and contribute different things. Nobody has ever lived this day, this week, this month before. The world is looking to the church to rise up and be all that she has been created and called to be; a people who are able to read the seasons, pray fervently for their villages, towns, cities; a people who love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength; a people who love their neighbours as themselves; a church who loves those who don’t yet know Jesus; and a people who are willing to bring transformation in society in whatever sphere of influence they have been placed in. A church that works together to make Jesus known.