Empire Called To Prayer


By KING GEORGE VI, of Great Britain

Broadcast to the British Empire, June 6, 1944

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 515.

FOUR years ago our nation and empire stood alone against an overwhelming enemy with our backs to the wall, tested as never before in our history, and we survived that test. The spirit of the people, resolute and dedicated, burned like a bright flame, surely, from those unseen fires which nothing can quench.

Once more the supreme test has to be faced. This time the challenge is not to fight to survive, but to fight to win the final victory for the good cause. Once again, what is demanded from us all is something more than courage, more than endurance.

We need a revival of the spirit, a new unconquerable resolve. After nearly five years of toil and suffering, we must renew that crusading impulse on which we entered the war and met its darkest hour. We and our Allies are sure that our fight is against evil and for a world in which godliness and honor may be the foundation of the life of men in every land.

Not Unmindful of Shortcomings

That we may be worthily matched with the new summons of destiny, I desire solemnly to call my people to prayer and dedication. We are not unmindful of our own shortcomings, past and present. We shall ask not that God may do our will, but that we may be enabled to do the will of God. And we dare to believe that God has used our nation and empire as an instrument for fulfilling his high purpose.

I hope that throughout the present crisis of the liberation of Europe there may be offered up earnest, continuous and widespread prayer. We who remain in this land can most effectively enter into the suffering of subjugated Europe by prayer. Thereby we can prophesy the determination of our sailors, soldiers and airmen who go forth to set the captives free.

The Queen joins with me in sending you this message. She will understand the anxieties and cares of our womenfolk at this time and she knows that many of them will find, as she does herself, fresh strength and comfort in such waiting upon God.

She feels that many women will be glad in this way to keep vigil with their men as they man the ships, storm the beaches and fill the skies. At this historic moment surely not one of us is too busy, too young or too old, to play a part in a nation-wide, perchance world-wide, vigil of prayer as the great crusade sets forth.

If from every place of worship, from home and factory, from men and women of all ages and many races and occupations, our intercessions rise, then, please God, both now and in the future not remote, the predictions of an ancient song may be fulfilled:

"The Lord will give strength unto his people, the Lord will give his people, the blessing of peace." [Psalm 29, Verse11.]