Let’s use the opportunity of #GivingTuesday to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive – be it today or at any other time of the year.
EU officials, politicians and diplomats met in Brussels for the 2015 European Prayer Breakfast. The aim of the 370 participants, to “gather together around the person of Jesus Christ” and pray for the issues the continent faces.
Jesus told his disciples to agree in what they asked for and His Father in heaven would do it. And then, he said the famous words: “When two or three gather in my name…” This was the core message of the 18th European Prayer Breakfast held in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, last week, on Wednesday 2 December 2015.
The aim of the European Prayer Breakfast (EPB) is to “gather together around the person of Jesus Christ” to “pray for European leaders and the issues we face on our continent”.
As it has been happening for eighteen years now, the EPB gathers every year around a breakfast table more than 300 European officials, Members of the EP, diplomats, politicians, lobbyists to deepen friendships and pray together.
“Our planet is much bigger than Europe”, prayed in the opening of the event Mr. Jerzy Buzek, former Prime Minister of Poland and also former President of the European Parliament, “help us be the salt of the earth, and let us be your light”. “May your word spread in our countries and change us”.
The participants were asked to pray freely with their table neighbours about the topics that concerned them the most. However, the main topics that were heard both among the tables and the speakers were the refugee crisis and the violent attacks that happened in Paris the weeks before.
REASONS NOT TO BE AFRAID
“Fear” was perhaps the most uttered word but the message was nonetheless hopeful. Ms. Tove Videbeak, former Member of the Danish Parliament, spoke about the importance of Jesus’ encounters and how he told his disciples not to fear.
“The only fact that he had come should have been enough!” She explained what Jesus’ authority was in saying this and she reminded that “only Jesus is the Prince of Peace”.
The motto verse of the EPB was Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”. “Jesus is with us”, insisted Ms. Videbeak.
Mr. Ben-Oni Ardelean, Member of the Romanian Parliament and Secretary of Foreign Affairs also discussed the passage in talking about the power of unity (when two or three gather) and the power of prayer in “pouring out the desires of our hearts”, as he cited examples of Daniel and Noah.
The EPB had a record of participants: 370 in total, 50 more than the previous year. However, around 100 of the EPB assistants had to watch the EPB from a different location due to the security measures that restricted the amount of people allowed to enter the European Parliament.
Nevertheless, there was a live streaming of the event for the assistants that gathered in the Chapel of the Resurrection, 200 meters away from the Parliament where they had their own musicians and a longer time together with spontaneous prayers.
After the Prayer Breakfast, a panel debated on the refugee crisis and the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Mr. Friedrich Bokern, Co-Founder and Director of Relief and Reconciliation for Syria stated that “Europeans are not the ones who have the answers” and he encouraged the audience to change their language, as he quoted Jesus “those who exalt themselves will be humbled” (see Luke 14:11, Matthew 23:12).
The Panel had two refugees from Iraq and Syria that shared their experience of the war: “We cried while leaving the country we may not see again”, said the Iraqi refugee, a calligrapher from Mosul. “We came to Belgium because it is a country of humanity and peace”.