Rev Dr Clifford Hill

THE SCOTTISH REFERENDUM HAS BEEN HAILED as a triumph of common sense. But I believe it was a triumph of prayer!

Forty-five per cent of the people of Scotland were pushing the nation towards the edge of an abyss. If they had succeeded in getting a ‘Yes’ vote they would have destroyed the whole United Kingdom. It was a bit like wanting to change the wallpaper in one room but ending up by pulling the whole house down.

Britain has faced great danger in the past as in 1940 when one nation after another in Europe fell to the Nazis and the whole of our army was trapped in France with the German Panzer divisions powering down upon them. The whole nation was called to prayer.

Miraculously, the Channel was calm and cloud cover prevented the Luftwaffe attacks. Over 300,000 men escaped from Dunkirk in little boats and the nation was called to prayer again for a day of thanksgiving.

We should be having a day of thanksgiving now for answered prayer. All over the United Kingdom in the final two weeks in the run-up to the Referendum prayer groups were mobilised to intercede before God to save the nation. Ten days before the vote Issachar Ministries, for whom I work, sent out a call to prayer which reached tens of thousands of Christians. It quoted the famous ‘Mother Barbara Prophecy’ given to her by an elderly Russian monk in 1911 foretelling the Communist revolution and the fate of Britain. This was at a time when the British Empire ruled a third of the world.

Part of the prophecy read: –

“Not one country will be without trial but do not be frightened of anything you will hear. An evil will shortly take Russia and wherever this evil comes, rivers of blood will flow… In the last days Germany will be divided in two. France will just be nothing. Italy will be judged by natural disasters. Britain will lose her Empire and all her colonies and will come to almost total ruin, but will be saved by praying women. America will feed the world but will finally collapse…”

I do not know whether this prophecy referred to the Scottish Referendum but I do know that there was an incredible amount of prayer, especially from women’s prayer groups such as the Lydia Prayer Fellowship, and I believe in the power of prayer.

Despite the godless state of Britain, I believe God has not finished with our nation. A spirit of division has been running through the nation for 40 years resulting in a high rate of divorce and family breakdown which has caused great suffering and had a devastating effect upon the lives of millions of children. That same spirit of division, dividing families and communities, was driving Scotland towards divorce from the rest of the UK but I believe that the prayers of multitudes of believers actually saved the nation from disaster.

There were also good things coming out of the Referendum in galvanising the whole population to think about the history of the Union and how we are governed. That same discussion that brought nearly 90% of that electorate into the polling booths needs to take place in the rest of the United Kingdom.

We all need to think about our relationships with each other, issues of justice, and the distribution of resources. We have the opportunity now of re-examining the constitution of our four nation coalition so that not only Scotland but also England, Wales and Northern Ireland can not only live together, but enjoy close and loving relationships as in the best of families. Allowing God to be at the centre of our national life is the only way this is going to be achieved.

So what is God now saying?

Two days after the referendum I believe I received a ‘Word’ from God which has been sent to our prayer partners.

I have a picture of Christians in churches across the land giving thanks to God for hearing their prayers, and politicians in Westminster dancing for joy, because they believe the nation has been saved from the social and economic devastation of the breakup of the United Kingdom.

This is what the Lord says to the people of the United Kingdom who are rejoicing that the people of Scotland have saved the Union by voting ‘No’ in the Referendum. Do not think that you are now safe to do as you like and return to your old ways. The word given to the Prophet Jeremiah at a critical point in the history of Israel is relevant to Britain today.

“Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’ – safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 7.9–11).

There is a spirit of division that has been driving the nation for 40 years bringing divorce to millions of marriages and untold suffering. It has brought Britain to the very brink of disaster. But that spirit is still active in the nation and will bring division to every region of the country unless the institutionalised injustices of the past are dealt with.

The great debate that began in Scotland will encompass the whole United Kingdom and will bring division in every region and every community unless a new spirit of love and concern for each other replaces the spirit of division and divorce. The commandment of Jesus to his disciples was to love one another as he has loved us. This is the opportunity for Christians to be creatively involved in changing the direction of the nation away from greed and corruption and self-centred interest to caring for one another. It may be the last opportunity for the Church in Britain.