'Pray for Fabrice Muamba'
- not a written prayer on a prayer tree in one of our churches - although I expect there are some there too - but a prayer printed on banners and T-shirts of adoring football fans and a prayer on the lips of those who were at the match where his heart attack occurred.
We in the churches talk so much about society being secular, non-believing or atheistic. I suspect that is the position of only a moderate number of people. Whatever else happened on that football pitch, people felt the need to pray at that moment and beyond, to bring their grief, sorrow, incomprehension and hope to a God that may seem to be hitherto undiscovered in their lives, or at least not explicitly acknowledged by an outward profession of faith.
It happened that a cardiologist was present watching the game and with the stewards' agreement he ran on to the pitch to assist and it is probably through his intervention that Fabrice has had a better chance of survival. When interviewed later by the media this doctor talked about his own faith too as a practising Christian.
Out of such a horrific and tragic incident, the presence of God emerges - not in a church nor through official religious leaders, but through the heartfelt need of ordinary people. Pray for Fabrice Muamba.
Bishop of Dorking, the Rt Revd Ian Brackley