Northern Ireland is one of the few countries left in Europe where abortion is still a criminal offense, but all that is set to change in the next few weeks. Our local government has not been functioning since January 2017 (it’s a long story!), and in recent months there has been increasing pressure on Northern Ireland to conform to the ‘progressive’ standards of the rest of the UK and Ireland and legalize abortion. Human rights NGOS like Amnesty International have weighed in on the debate, condemning our current laws as ‘cruel’ and anti-woman. Diverse political groups who usually can’t agree on anything have found, in abortion, an area of common ground. Unless our devolved government can get itself up and running before the British government’s October 21st deadline, then some of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe will come into immediate effect here, along with laws to introduce same-sex marriage (because why stop at just one abomination?).
For many Christians in Northern Ireland, the pace of the proposed changes and the dogged determination of the liberal left has blindsided us. For too long, we’ve lived in a comfortable ‘Christianish’ bubble where we’ve benefitted from a churchy culture that still shows deference to religion, without us really having to count the cost. Until a few years ago, you’d have been forgiven for believing that Northern Ireland was essentially a Christian country, or at the very least a good whitewashed tomb of a place. Now that the true spiritual state of our country has come to light, there is a clear need for Christians to be vocal and unapologetic in our allegiance to King Jesus and his laws. Now is not a time for silence or cowardice. We cannot sit back and wait for the storm to blow over or watch from afar as our country jumps headlong into national sin. And the good thing is, Christians across the countryare speaking out. They’re using this time of uncertainty to proclaim Christ to their neighbours. Across Northern Ireland, believers are crying out to God to show us mercy and to heal our land, perhaps with more urgency and passion than we’ve ever shown before. Praise God!
Brothers and sisters, pray for us. Pray that God will intervene to stop the evil of abortion and same-sex marriage being written into law here. Pray that our local politicians will be able to get Stormont functioning again before October 21st. Pray that believers will continue to be shaken out of our spiritual apathy and comfort for the glory of God. And if you can, pray with us on our Day of Prayer on October 21st. For those based in Northern Ireland, Lisburn RP church will be open all day (7am-7pm) for individual/collective prayer. And if you’re reading this from afar, please still join with us in prayer. God is sovereign and good and holy. Let’s pray with confidence and hope that He will heal our land, and that whatever happens on October 21st, it will all be only for the glory of His name.