Each day, we should all say a 1-minute prayer for America

Published 1:53 am Saturday, May 29, 2010

“Someone has said if Christians really understand the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.”

That’s the first line of an email that’s been circulating on the Internet since 2007.  It goes on to say that during World War II an advisor to Prime Minister Winston Churchill organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a particular time set aside to pray one minute for the safety of England, its people and peace.

Then, the email asks Americans to pray at 8 p.m. each evening for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens and for a return to a Godly nation.  My interest in history and belief in prayer gave me two reasons to research the facts and faith of the English people.

The advisor to Churchill was W. Tudor Pole, an English author, adventurer and businessman. During World War II, he reportedly campaigned for what became known as “The Big Ben Silent Minute.”

It is said that the 9 p.m. chiming of Big Ben took about one minute. Pole believed, “If enough people joined in this gesture of dedicated intent, the tide would turn and the invasion of England would be diverted.”

“The chimes were broadcast each night on the BBC radio at the beginning of the nine o’clock news. Pole suggested that the hearing of the chimes, either in person, or on the BBC should be accompanied by one minute of silent prayer for those who had been killed that day in battle, as well as remembering all who had been killed in the war,” according to the historical research about the one-minute prayer

Churchill supported the idea. Members of what was later called “The Big Ben Movement” publicized the minute of silent prayer and rededication.  Setting aside this minute to pray became a source of inspiration not only in Britain, but also throughout the empire.

Interestingly enough, a group called the Lamplighter Movement grew out of the “Big Ben Silent Minute” when the BBC no longer broadcasted the 9 p.m. chime. W. Tudor Pole felt that in place of the sound, there should be light.  He suggested “continuously burning amber lights be lit with dedicated intent.”

Pole was an old man by the time the first amber light was lit and dedicated on a midsummer day in 1964. History records that Pole “passed the torch,” asking his old friend Sir George Trevelyan to be the custodian of the movement.

F.B. Meyer once wrote, “The great tragedy in life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the Lord instructs Christians, those who bear His name, to “humble themselves, and pray and seek (His) face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Would you be willing to set aside one minute each day to pray for America?