Sadly, France is also known for its radical secularism. France's revolution occurred shortly after the United States', but with an extremely key distinction: While the American Revolution was based on freedom OF religion, with no religion having state dominance, France's was based on freedom FROM religion. In many ways, the French Revolution was the pinnacle of the Enlightenment and truly was about man exalting himself. The heritage in each country today continues to define the distinction: In the U.S., the general assumption is that of an "open public square" where religion is concerned (despite very real concerns about silencing many expressions, the legal rights do still exist), in France the picture is of a "naked public square". Religion is completely a private matter and not subject to public expression.
Today we have additional insights from the Finn living in France who wrote yesterday. Please read these as well, then watch the video for our prayer time together.
- Less than two weeks ago, France got a new President, Mr. François Hollande. Pray for his personal salvation and that he would make wise and godly decisions as the head of the country and in the important position he has in the leadership of the whole of Europe. Pray that France and Israel would stay on good terms.
- "Laïcité" or secularism is considered an important value of the Republic. People don't often wish to talk about religious convictions publicly, as they are seen as a private matter. Municipalities also have rather strict policies as to evangelism in the streets and other "religious" public events. Pray for creative and wise solutions for Christian initiatives and that missionary work would not be hindered furthermore. Pray for the Church to increasingly embrace friendship evangelism.
- Pray for a revival and a renewal in the traditional Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant. They need to have a freshness in the Spirit in order to win back their youth, now mostly turned to atheism or humanism. Praise God - there already are some very lively communities, born from the ashes of certain monasteries, for example.
- Linked to the previous point: Pray for the unity and reconciliation between different churches and denominations. We believe the Global Outreach Day on June 2nd (www.globaloutreachday.com) can be an opportunity to bring Christians together for a common cause.