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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

‘Holy Spirit is wind of God blowing our sails,’ says Cardinal Nichols, as Trafalgar Square fills with prayer

Trafalgar Square was turned into #TrafalgarPrayer last weekend as thousands of Christians from across London united in prayer and worship.

The event on Pentecost Sunday 9th June marked the culmination of Thy Kingdom Come 2019, the annual prayer campaign launched by the Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury and York, in which Christians are invited to pray for their friends and family to know Jesus Christ.

During the event, Cardinal Vincent Nichols recalled walking in the Peak District in Derbyshire many years ago and compared spotting a hidden underground river to the Holy Spirit.

“I realised that all the flowers, trees and vegetation that I had seen, had been drawing on this unseen water. It was the hidden source of their growth,” he told the thousands of Christians gathered in Trafalgar Square.

“So too with the Holy Spirit. Largely unseen, mostly unacknowledged, the Holy Spirit of God is the source of so much beauty, generosity and fruitfulness in our landscape, which can sometimes appear to us as barren and parched. But when the Holy Spirit breaks into sight, as we can sense today, it is wonderful to behold and so encouraging.”

The cardinal recalled how, as a youngster, he would watch tall ships come in and out of the River Mersey in Liverpool, with their crews manning the rigging and three tall masts carrying the billowing sails which moved the ships through the seas “calmly, firmly and without fuss”.

“We think of the Holy Spirit not only as refreshing, life-giving water but also as wind and power,” he continued.

“The Holy Spirit is the wind of God blowing into the sails of the Church, moving her forward, on course towards the Kingdom where our fulfilment lies, announcing hope, calmness, purpose, service, as her witness on this pilgrimage in our world.

“Today we pray: ‘Thy Kingdom come’. We pray especially for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We pray for refreshing water for our parched world, which, drawing on that hidden source, still manages to be so fruitful in compassion, charity and service.

“We pray for the great wind of the Holy Spirit to fill our sails and urge us forward, not only to the Eternal Kingdom which is our destiny but also in the witness we give to the reality of that Kingdom, here and now: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

“Today we pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that together we may serve that Kingdom with integrity and love. May the Lord bless us today and always, that we may servants of His Kingdom and heralds of His Gospel in both word and deed. Amen,” the cardinal concluded.

At the afternoon festival, families sang and danced along to music, performed by Matt Redman, Kingdom Choir, Lou Fellingham and Sounds of New Wine, and joined together in prayer at the main service, which also included prayers and words of wisdom from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Archbishop Angaelos, Pastor Agu Irukwu, Reverend Trey Hall and the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally DBE.

Picture: Thousands of Christians from across the faith attended the event in Trafalgar Square.