Prayer Walking in Stockholm

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Olof Palme’s Grave, decorated for May Day

Day One

After introductions were made, we spent time in worship.  We are a small team here in Stockholm, only six of us: three from Operation Capitals of Europe (OCE) and three locals, of which two are pastors.

Lars had a vision that Stockholm’s spiritual state was a thick grayness in the atmosphere.  He understood that this spiritual grayness speaks of the tired heart of Stockholm.

One local informed us that Sweden is outspokenly secular humanist.  The Swedes will tolerate everything but the truth.  When truth is spoken, especially from the Bible, it is labeled as intolerant.  Ironically, the most intolerant people are the ones that scream about intolerance.  And this discussion comes at an interesting time: tomorrow Sweden celebrates 250 years of Free Speech and Freedom of the Press.

There is also an attitude that fathers are unnecessary, so single women may now be inseminated to raise a child alone.  Strangely enough, a contradictory law allows both parents to stay home with a newborn.  Gender neutral marriage has also been made law.  And the strangest thing of all is that the government is currently discussing legalizing marriage with a corpse: necrophilia.

As a result of all these things, family ties are weakened, especially between parents and children.  No doubt all this has contributed to the spiritual grayness and the tiredness of Stockholm’s heart.

The flood of refugees[1] and the many rapes perpetrated against Swedish women has caused Swedish public opinion to swing from welcoming refugees to closing all their borders.  And if the refugees appear lawless, they are a reflection of the spiritual state of Sweden, itself, best described thusly:

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit, (Judges 21:25, NIV, emphasis mine).

So there were plenty of issues to pray into.  First we went to Stortorget, in the heart of the old city.  In this central square there was a massacre of the nobles and bishops.  One of our hosts told us about the Swedish tendency to embrace only one point of view at a time.  This speaks of resistance to change or other points of view, which is no doubt what led to the massacre because they were progressives with an opposing opinion—tolerance of everything but a different point of view.

After prayers there, we walked to the King’s Palace.  One local told us that the king had broken with centuries of tradition when he told the Freemasons that he would not be their Grand Master.  This year the king turned 70—in this Jubilee year, the king had his own jubilee.  We prayed for the king, proclaiming long life to him.

Then we walked to the Freemasons building.  The Masons had moved to another building, and their building had then been occupied by the army, and is now the courts building for the Justice Department.

Then we walked around the whole island of the old city, which is shaped like a heart, proclaiming revival to the tired heart of Stockholm.  I noted to Angela that we were doing CPR: Christian Resuscitation Proclamations.

Day Two

As observed before, today marked the 250th anniversary of Free Speech and Freedom of the Press.  So after a time of really glorious and joyful worship and prayer, believing that the spiritual grayness seen over Stockholm would be broken by joyful worship.

We prayed, believing that God will raise up City Fathers, who truly have a father’s heart, in the government.  I believe that if the church praises joyfully, it can help birth the new beginning.  The church needs to rejoice prophetically for these things.  The Christians of Sweden need to have God’s heart to pray for the city.  Especially at this confusing and dramatic time for the Swedish government.

We started our prayer walking at Gustav Adolfs Torg square where there had been an uprising concerning free speech.  It was in this square that 144 farmers were massacred by the army on their way to Parliament.  The scandal caused by this massacre actually convinced the Parliament to establish free speech and freedom of the press.

The number 144 is interesting because it is twelve times twelve times, or twelve squared.  Twelve, being the Biblical number of government.  We prayed, asking for freedom and openness, with a Nineveh style repentance:

When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.  This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.  But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth.  Let everyone call urgently on God.  Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows?  God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened, (Jonah 3:6-10, NIV).

One person saw a volcano of righteousness erupting from the Parliamentary Prayer Room.

We prayed for a spirit of ministry to serve one another and the people of Sweden with true servant leadership.

Humanism and its tolerance of everything (everything but Christianity) is especially toxic because it is subtly evil, and doesn’t appear to be evil.  Yet, in the face of Sweden’s secular humanism, I feel hope.  God wouldn’t have brought us here to pray if the situation was hopeless.  I can’t wait to see Sweden emerge from its spiritual slumber, shake off that gray cloud, and truly know: God is good!

[1] I wrote about the many, many homeless refugees in Finding Refuge in Stockholm.

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