Normal prayers for abnormal times

A Q&A with Tearfund Ambassador Pete Greig

Pete Greig is a bestselling author, pastor and one of the founding champions of the 24-7 Prayer movement. Pete’s latest book How to pray: a simple guide for normal people, published by Hodder Faith, is out now.

Why did you choose the subtitle, ‘a simple guide for normal people’?

Lots of books about prayer are over-complicated. The teachings of Jesus are really simple, accessible and story-based. So this is for normal people, this isn’t for wild-eyed, hyper-spiritual people. This is for new Christians. It’s also for people who have been around the block a few times but still find prayer difficult.

Many of our readers will be praying for big global issues and injustices, how would you encourage them in their intercessions?

I think that the greatest strength at Tearfund is its foundation of praying people. That’s far more important than the strategy and budget. You have these extraordinary heroes who quietly bring the needs of the world before the Lord in prayer. That’s the great powerhouse of Tearfund. The Apostle Paul says that our battle is not against flesh and blood. It’s not even against natural disasters or corrupt political systems. It is against the principalities and powers in high places. We have to engage on Earth, and Tearfund does that brilliantly through partnerships around the world.

How can people be more effective in praying for the big issues facing the world?

When trying to intercede, firstly get informed. That’s where things like Tear Times are so valuable. It’s very hard to care about a situation if you don’t know about it. Jesus tells us to love our neighbours. Well, if you don’t know their names and you don’t know their lives, it’s very hard to pray for them. Get involved. Get informed. Get inspired. Notice God’s word for a situation. What does God say about rebuilding a village that’s been destroyed by a cyclone? The Bible is full of promises and indications of what God might be saying.

Climate change is a huge and worrying issue. How should people pray in response?

Climate change is arguably the greatest, most urgent crisis we are facing in the world right now. I believe that climate change is fundamentally an issue of the human heart – it is spiritual as well as political – and so we must engage prayerfully as well as practically. First, we must pray big ‘top-down’ prayers, for politicians and multinationals to exercise wisdom and courage beyond their own personal and territorial ambitions. This requires a miracle! Secondly, we must pray small ‘bottom-up’ prayers for local environmental issues.

Pete Greig was interviewed by Peter Shaw for Tear Times – Tearfund’s free magazine. Click here to get your copy.

Peter Shaw