Prayers for Prince Philip and the royal family

Special prayers have been made available and an online book of condolence opened by the Church of England following the death of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip.

Tributes and messages can be shared on the Church of England’s website here.

The following prayers have also been made available from the Church of England: 

A prayer from the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference:

Lord God

We give thanks for the long life of Prince Philip, for all that he has contributed to our nation and beyond, and for his support of our Queen. We pray that he will be at rest trusting in the grace of God.

We remember before you Her Majesty the Queen and her family praying that they will know your comfort and strength in the days to come.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A prayer from the Church of Scotland: 

Almighty and everlasting God, ‘the life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.’

But You are forever, from everlasting to everlasting, and we put our trust in You for You have promised never to leave us nor forsake us.

Loving Lord, in this last year, through the worst of a global pandemic, we’ve been face to face with our fragility and vulnerability, perhaps for some of us as never before.

Against that backdrop of hurt and loss, we give you thanks for the life and service of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Some are called to the front of the stage, others to supporting roles and we rejoice in the way he supported Her Majesty the Queen through all of the years of her reign.

We remember, too, his work supporting charities and, perhaps most memorably for young people for over sixty years, his patronage of The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

In this hour of loss, we offer our heartfelt prayers for Her Majesty and her family. Comfort them in their loss, bind up their wounds and grant them the consolation of a store of treasured memories. Grant Her Majesty the peace that comes from knowing you and which passes all understanding.

These and all our prayers we ask in the name of Jesus, who through his life, death and resurrection offers us hope instead of despair, life instead of death.


A prayer from the English Cathedrals Association: 

Discounted Books at TGC21 (In Person and Online)

Book lovers who attend 2021’s The Gospel Coalition National Conference and Women’s Conference—either in person or online—will be treated to steep discounts on books and resources from more than 20 different publishers. There will be featured areas for TGC speakers’ books, bestselling Bibles, Spanish titles, and gospel-centered resources for children and parents.

For ease, we’ve created two landing pages for each event, with a carefully curated list of books:

Before you hit the road, board a flight, or log in, we want to make you aware of several of these book deals. But whether or not you’ve registered for the events, we want to make these discounts available to all our readers.

Rebecca McLaughlin, The Secular Creed: Engaging Five Contemporary Claims (TGC, 2021)

$11.99 (25 percent off)

In this house we believe that:
Black Lives Matter
Love Is Love
Gay Rights Are Civil Rights
Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
Transgender Women Are Women

You may have seen signs with some of these messages in your neighborhood. They offer us an all-or-nothing package deal—in short, a secular creed.

In this provocative book, Rebecca McLaughlin helps us disentangle the beliefs Christians gladly affirm from those they cannot embrace, and invites us to talk with our neighbors about the things that matter most. Far from opposing love across difference, McLaughlin argues, Christianity is the original source and firmest foundation for true diversity, equality, and life-transforming love.

Trevin Wax, The Multi-Directional Leader: Responding Wisely to Challenges from Every Side (TGC, 2021)

$11.24 (25 percent off)

Today’s threats come from every direction. How can we faithfully respond? 

Many church leaders assume the most dangerous threats to God’s people will emerge from one side of the field. But when they scan for attacks in only one direction, they leave Christians vulnerable to different dangers.

The church needs what Trevin Wax calls multi-directional leadership—leaders who combine dexterity and discipline. In short, leaders today must demonstrate faithful versatility. Wax applies multi-directional leadership to the most contentious issues facing churches right now.

Unity and truth can still triumph in a divided age.

Ivan Mesa (ed.), Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church (TGC, 2021)

$12.74 (25 percent off)

“I’m deconstructing.”

Yet another social-media post announces departure from the Christian faith. The cause could be sex, race, politics, social justice, science, hell—or all of the above. For many, Christianity is becoming implausible, even impossible to believe.

While it might be tempting to leave the church in order to find answers, Before You Lose Your Faith argues that church should be the best place to deal with doubts. Featuring contributors such as Claude Atcho, Rachel Gilson, Jay Y. Kim, Brett McCracken, Karen Swallow Prior, Derek Rishmawy, and Jared C. Wilson, this book shows deconstructing need not end in unbelief. In fact, deconstructing can be the road toward reconstructing—building up a more mature, robust faith that grapples honestly with the deepest questions of life.

Dave Harvey, The Plurality Principle: How to Build and Maintain a Thriving Church Leadership Team (Crossway, 2021)

$12.58 (30 percent off)

Essential to every healthy church is a biblical model of leadership. In the New Testament, church leadership is built around a team of elders working together, each bringing his own unique skills and gifts to the cause of shepherding the flock God entrusted to them. However, in many churches today the principle of plurality in leadership is often misunderstood, mistakenly applied, or completely ignored.

Dave Harvey encourages church leaders to prioritize plurality for the surprising ways that it helps churches to flourish. This book not only builds a compelling case for churches to adopt and maintain biblical elder pluralities guided by solid leadership. It also supplies practical tools to help elders work together for transformation.

Jeff Robinson, Taming the Tongue: How the Gospel Transforms our Talk (TGC, 2021)

$9.74 (25 percent off)

It’s been estimated that the average human being utters between 10,000 and 20,000 words per day. Consider that fact in light of Solomon’s words in Proverbs 10:19: “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent,” and you have 10,000 to 20,000 opportunities to sin. We are fallen people, and we utter fallen words. But we serve a communicating God. In Taming the Tongue: How the Gospel Transforms Our Talk, Jeff Robinson reminds us how in the gospel the Lord gives us a remedy for our troubled talk.

Melissa Kruger (ed.), Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Who We Are in Christ (TGC, 2018)

$7.99 (50 percent off)

Who am I? It’s a question we all ask ourselves at some point. Depending on the season, we focus our identity on our job performance, marital status, personality type, or social network, among other options. However, there’s a larger question to consider. Who does the Bible tell me I am in Christ?

From the wisdom and perspective of insightful authors—including Jen Wilkin, Hannah Anderson, Trillia Newbell, and Jen Pollock Michel—we’ll seek to answer this question.

Elliot Clark, Evangelism as Exiles: Life on Mission as Strangers in Our Own Land (TGC, 2019)

$8.44 (35 percent off)

Suffering and exclusion are normal in a believer’s life. At least they should be. This was certainly Jesus’s experience. And it’s the experience of countless Christians around the world today.

No matter your social location or set of experiences, the biblical letter of 1 Peter wants to redefine your expectations and reinvigorate your hope.

Drawing on years of ministry in a Muslim-majority nation, Elliot Clark guides us through Peter’s letter with striking insights for today. Whether we’re in positions of power or weakness, influence or marginalization, all of us are called to live and witness as exiles in a world that’s not our home. This is our job description. This is our mission. This is our opportunity.

A church in exile doesn’t have to be a church in retreat.

Melissa Kruger and Kristen Wetherell (eds.), 12 Faithful Women: Portraits of Steadfast Endurance (TGC, 2020)

$7.78 (40 percent off)

Trials have a way of changing us, for better or worse. They can humble us or harden us. They can make us run to God or away from him. Perhaps your trials have resulted in a closer walk with him, or maybe he seems far away. Often, God strengthens our faith through the witness of courageous Christians who’ve gone before us.
Be encouraged and challenged by these 12 portraits of faithful women who steadfastly endured many trials—including physical pain, persecution, infertility, loneliness, and oppression—and who, in their various sufferings, found Christ to be an all-sufficient Lord and Savior, steadfast, faithful, and true.

20 Quotes from Jen Wilkin on the Ten Commandments

The following quotes caught my attention as I read Jen Wilkin’s insightful new book Ten Words to Live By: Delighting in and Doing What God Commands (Crossway, 2021). For a limited time, it is on sale for only $7.49 through the TGCW21 bookstore.

The first word [she uses this synonymously with “commandment”] serves as the umbrella statement for the other nine. If we obeyed the first word, we would automatically obey the others. (28)

The second word portrays idol worship as progressive: do not make, do not bow down, do not serve. The second word portrays idol worship as contagious, causing trouble for generation after generation. The second word portrays God as zealous for his glory: deeply committed to being worshiped as he deserves. His jealousy is right and righteous because it is inflamed by the denial of what is rightly his. (34)

Any time we take the attributes of the gods the world around us worships and apply them to God to make him more palatable and less threatening, more accommodating and less thunderous, we produce a graven image. We whittle down his transcendence, we paint over his sovereignty, we chisel away his omnipotence until he is a pet-like version of the terrible pagan god we would never be so foolish as to bow down to. (39)

To misuse the name of the Lord—to take his name in vain—is to misrepresent the character of God. . . . Doing so misuses his reputation to suit our own ends, speaks of or to him without accuracy or due respect, and miscredits him for self-serving actions done in his name. To misuse the name of God is to commit an act of defamation against Yahweh himself. (49–50)

More than the deliberate cessation of work for the purpose of decompressing, Sabbath is the deliberate cessation of any activity that might reinforce my belief in my own self-sufficiency. In contrast to cultural ideas of rest marked by self-care, Sabbath rest is marked by self-denial. (65)

There is no such thing as a noncommunal sin, and there is no such thing as a noncommunal obedience. . . . Personal sin always results in collateral damage. . . . Personal obedience always results in collateral benefit. (68)

We remember the letter of the Sabbath command by resting from labor. We remember the heart of the Sabbath command by laboring for the rest of others. (70)

The fifth word is the hinge point in the Decalogue at which the discussion of showing honoring moves from God (1–4) to human authorities (5) to one another (6–10). . . . The Ten Commandments deal with matters of heavenly submission, earthly submission, and mutual submission—in that order. (76, 77)

Because the church is the family of God, we need be at no loss for fathers and mothers to honor. Nor need we be at a loss for spiritual orphans to parent. If your family of origin was a painful one, the family of God can be a haven and a recompense. If your family of origin was a happy one, how much more so the family of God? (83)

It is not just the pace that changes with the sixth word, but the focus. Having given five exhortations to honor God and elders, the Ten Words now turn their attention to the business of honoring one another as fellow image bearers. We progress from discussion of how we relate to our heavenly Parent, to our earthly parents (human authorities), to our brothers and sisters (our neighbors). Essentially, the last five words will speak to the proper treatment of siblings. (89–90)

Contempt may win followers, but it is not pastoral. It masquerades as righteous anger, but it is, in fact, self-serving and self-elevating. It may make a point, but it always has a victim. (96)

Lust itself is an act of contempt, reducing someone to a source of sexual gratification and nothing more. If the sixth command prohibited regarding our neighbor as expendable, the seventh prohibits regarding our neighbor as consumable. (102)

Satan has succeeded in convincing believers that lust is just something to be managed instead of something to be slain. (105)

Our offending eyes and hands and feet and ears and lips and tongues and noses serve at the pleasure of our hearts. What our hearts delight to do, our members rush to accomplish. (106)

Delight yourself in lawlessness, and your disordered desires will govern you. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you new desires. (109)

There are two ways of living: as a taker or as a giver. When it comes to matters of wealth, do you perceive yourself as a terminus or a distribution point? If a terminus, you will labor without rest to acquire that which you cannot keep. If a distribution point, you will labor to give away that which was never truly yours to begin with. When we hear others praying for their daily bread, does it occur to us that we might be the means by which that bread is supplied? (120)

While flattery, silence, and misattribution are the subtle pickpockets of reputation, reviling stands in the lobby of First Reputation Bank spraying bullets and sacking the vault. In the modern church, perhaps nothing attests more to our current levels of biblical illiteracy than our casual, thoughtless, and frequent commission of the sin of reviling. (128)

When the good name of our neighbor is run through the mud, the silence of his friends can be as brutalizing as the reviling of his enemies. We must not use the command to be slow to speak as an excuse for never speaking (James 1:19). God help us if we claim to be wise in our silence, when in fact we are masking cowardice. . . . There are times when we are unsure whether to speak or remain silent. But if we know our words are needed and yet withhold them, we are as guilty of bearing false witness as the reviler who began the lie. . . . Who trades in sinful silence? Satan. He likes nothing better than the silence of those who know they should speak. When we silence truth-tellers, or remain silent ourselves when called to speak courageously, we conform to Satan’s image instead of to the image of Christ. When false witnesses speak  against our neighbor, we must speak up to bear true witness on their behalf. (131, 132–33)

Idol-making, Sabbath-breaking, dishonoring authority, murder, theft, adultery, and slander can all be identified by an onlooker, but not so covetousness. Covetousness hides in the heart. The Ten Words progress from “Don’t do it” to “Don’t say it” to “Don’t even think about it.” (139–40)

The Bible provides us a lengthy cautionary tale about comparison to our neighbor. We might title it “Keeping Up with the Canaanites.” It shows us that Israel as a whole soon forgot the tenth word in a rush to compare with her neighbors. In a scene that reads like a middle schooler asking for the latest pair of shoes, Israel asks God to give her a king like the other nations. God decides to teach his people contentment the hard way, by giving them what they want. (144)

The great loss of a covetous life is that it keeps love of self as our primary concern. . . . What is more like Satan than to want what belongs to another? (147)

The paradox of August Caesar and the paradox of Jesus Christ

Tom Holland

The following is an extract from Tom Holland’s latest book, Revolutionary, which explores who Jesus was and why He still matters: 

His coming was foretold by prophecy and his birth heralded by miracles. Only narrowly did he escape a massacre of the innocents. Laying claim to the great mission of his life, he received the blessing of his divine father. Gathering followers drawn from obscurity about him, he scorned the pretensions of monarchs. He condemned those who had offended against his father to a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth; he preached to a war-ravaged world a message of brotherhood and peace.

Many rejected him, but many accepted him as their Lord. In the end, not even death could hold him in its chains. Cheating the tomb, he rose and ascended into heaven. There, seated at the right hand of his father, he reigned in divine majesty. Meanwhile, on earth, his disciples did not forget their risen Saviour. Across the known world, the memory of him was cherished in people’s hearts. This, so it was proclaimed in Galatia and in Thessalonia, in Corinth and in Rome, was ‘euangelion’: ‘good news’.

At once a man and a god, mortal and immortal, Augustus Caesar stood at the centre of the fastest growing cult the world had ever seen. The very name awarded him by his countrymen proclaimed his ambivalent status as a human being who had simultaneously partaken of the divine. ‘Augustus is what our fathers call anything holy. Augustus is what we call a temple that has been properly consecrated by the hand of the priests.’ To worship him as a god was to consecrate one of the great convulsions in world history. His rise to power amid the implosion of Rome’s traditional republican form of government was an authentically transformational moment. Ronald Syme, in his classic account of the process, went so far as to describe it as the ‘Roman revolution’. Over the course of many decades, a people who had always defined themselves by their contempt for kings were brought to submit to the rule of a general, an imperator, who had been victorious in almost everything he did.

Augustus, as an imperator, an ’emperor’, wielded power that was indeed of a revolutionary order. The dominion he governed was vast beyond the dreams of a Pharaoh, and the armed forces he had at his command were on a scale fit to have put Alexander’s in the shade. Never before in history had any man enjoyed such fame across such an immense expanse of the world. Within Augustus’ own lifetime, no living Roman had ever appeared on a coin minted in Rome; yet by the time of his death, the face of Caesar had become familiar in even the remotest corners of the Empire, wherever money might be handled, and taxes demanded. ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ Itinerant street preachers in Galilee might ask the question and know the answer.

Yet Augustus, for all the novelty of the order that he founded, did not care to cast himself as a revolutionary. Novae res – “new things” – were regarded by most Romans with deep suspicion.

Augustus himself, who in almost everything save the scale of his ambition was deeply conservative, had far too much respect for tradition to proclaim a year zero. In the wake of the civil wars that had brought him to power, during the session of the Senate that saw the decree passed which defined him as ‘Augustus’, there were some senators who had pushed for him to be given an alternative name: Romulus. The allusion was to Rome’s founder, the man after whom the city was named. There was to be no second founding, however. Augustus had no wish to recalibrate the Romans’ understanding of time, which numbered years ab urbe condita: ‘from the founding of the city’. There could be only the one Romulus, only the one starting point for the city. The revolution over which Augustus presided was – if a revolution at all – like the turning of a wheel.

The centuries passed. The world did not stay still. Rome’s rule over the western half of her empire melted away. Rome itself was sacked. Barbarians planted their kingdoms in what had once been imperial provinces. In one of these, a realm named Northumbria, in a library close to the crumbling fortifications that once, centuries previously, had constituted the frontier of Roman Britain, a scholar by the name of Bede set himself to fashioning a new understanding of time. Rome’s fall had not prevented chroniclers from continuing to use the formula ab urbe condita, and Bede, steeped in the learning of his predecessors as he was, employed it readily. Yet it left him dissatisfied. Seven centuries on from the lifetime of Augustus, he could see – infinitely more clearly than the emperor himself had done – that the fulcrum of time was indeed to be identified with a point in his reign. Drawing on calendrical tables compiled some two centuries earlier by a scholar from the Black Sea, Bede began to measure years from this same point: anno Domini, in the year of the Lord.

The Dominus, however, was not Augustus. By Bede’s lifetime, the memory of the emperor had become a hazy one, blotted out by the blaze of a very different man. This Lord had not ruled an empire, nor commanded armies, nor had his face minted on coins. Instead, he had been born in the utmost obscurity, lived a life tramping roads and fields, and died a squalid death, nailed to a cross, a convicted criminal. Yet his death had not at all been what it might have seemed. So, at any rate, in Northumbria, it had come to be believed.

There, when a poet saw a cross in his dreams, he could know that it was no ‘fracodes gealga’ – no ‘felon’s gallows’. The implement of torture that to the Romans had symbolized the power of the conqueror over the conquered, of the strong over the weak, of the master over the slave, had been transformed, in the imaginings of the Northumbrians, into the very opposite. The paradox of Augustus Caesar, the warlord who had become a god, could not compare with the paradox of Jesus Christ, whose birth in the reign of Augustus as a subject of the Roman state had marked – so Bede believed – the moment on which all of history turned, and who, by his agonizing death, had served to redeem mankind. The cross, that terrible gallows, had become a tree of glory.

At the fair sight, I saw that lively beacon

Changing its clothes and hues; sometimes it was

Bedewed with blood and drenched with flowing gore,

At other times it was bedecked with treasure.

No wonder, then, that the figure of Jesus should have haunted Northumbrian dreams.

Today, a millennium and more since the time of Bede and the author of ‘The Dream of the Rood’, he lives in the dreams of more people than ever before. Across the planet, over two billion believe that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, Light of Light, very God of very God. 

From ‘Revolutionary’, the latest book by Tom Holland, out now from SPCK priced £19.99.