Well, the demolition job is well and truly complete, and we wait to see how the new tenants will sort out the mess.

I get the feeling that economic growth will prove the least challenging of the new government’s problems though, given the findings of the latest British Social Attitudes report. This has revealed that we’re as critical of how we are governed as we’ve ever been, and trust and confidence in politicians has been ‘significantly undermined’.

It seems that a record 45 per cent ‘almost never’ trust any government to place the needs of the nation above the interests of their party, and as many as 58 per cent say ‘almost never’ trust politicians of any party to tell the truth when they’re in a tight corner. This is a really serious issue because disillusionment and cynicism can give rise to all sorts of unpredictable and unwelcome consequences. Indeed, some might argue we are witnessing some of these already.

I will obviously be encouraging people to pray for those who govern us but that obviously prompts the question: what should we be praying for? As I’ve pondered this I have reached the conclusion that we could do nothing better than pray that our new government, indeed the entire political elite, will truly become better listeners.

King Solomon would serve as a good role model. The Bible tells us that when God asked what He could do for Him Solomon replied that he wanted a discerning (literally listening) heart so that he could govern His people and be able to distinguish between right and wrong. God, we are told, was delighted to hear this so much so that Solomon was promised that he would have ‘no equal among kings.’ Wouldn’t it be great if history were to judge our new government and especially our new Prime Minister as ‘the best ever’?

I have come to the conclusion that anyone who wants to be a successful leader should cultivate the art of listening. We need men and women who will listen to these findings and tease out the implications of all that has happened over the past few decades. Sadly, the late Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks concluded that it is common to find leaders who speak; it is rare to find leaders who listen. But listening often makes the difference (Sacks Lessons in Leadership). Dare we hope for something better?

I would go one step further and suggest that we would benefit so much more if those who govern us spent time listening to God too. This would take humility of course, and it would demand courage as well as faith. But I’m a Christian and I know miracles can and do happen!!

This presents the church with a massive – if exciting challenge. For if we truly believe that ‘God’s way’ is ‘the best way’ we need to do more than pray, and we must engage in ways that go far beyond voting if we want to see our national life shaped for good. That’s why I was delighted to read that recent research has shown that there are ways in which evangelicals are significantly more likely to engage with politics, and long may this continue. 

Above all though, let’s pray that we will all listen to what God is saying to us as a nation at this critical moment in our history