The value of prayer


Margaret Brown is one of The Resident’s longest standing contributors and has lived in the Algarve for more than 20 years. As well as Point of View, she also writes Country Matters twice a month.

IF PROOF were needed that history repeats itself, one has only to remember that after the 1914-1918 war, in the USA and Britain, there was a period of prosperity and excess known as ‘The Roaring Twenties’ when share prices rocketed and urban society became somewhat dissolute.

The 1929 Wall Street Crash was followed by the Great Depression – over 1,600 banks failed and unemployment reached 12,000,000 in the States. Agriculture was in a dire state, bankruptcies were followed by a rise in suicides. European countries followed in America’s wake but with the increasing threat from Nazi Germany, by the middle 1930s a major war was on the horizon and Britain’s industries were kick-started by the decision to re-arm: unemployment began to fall, purchasing power increased and some prosperity returned.

Having benefited from a programme of ‘Lease-Lend’ during World War II and with the help of Marshall Aid, Britain slowly regained prosperity under successive Labour and Conservative governments following a period of short working weeks, strikes and labour unrest. Through fear of nuclear annihilation to date a third world war has been avoided but the risk remains. Social and economic breakdown has taken longer to materialize this time round, but many of the root causes mirror those leading up to the Wall Street Crash and a similar downward spiral seems likely.

What has this to do with faith in God? It appears that in Paris, executives and traders are attending a daily lunch time Church service. In Britain the Church of England website carries a ‘Prayer for the current financial situation’ with 8,000 hits to date. In Wall Street, morning prayers are said and pavement prayer meetings arranged outside the Stock Exchange.

Prayer at anytime about any problem is valuable but this begins to look like shutting the stable door after the horse has gone. If it heralds a return to traditional values, thank God for that.