The 80th Anniversary of D-Day

On the 6 June people in Britain and other nations will commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. But there would have been no D-Day without God’s gracious overruling in the amazing deliverance at the time of the Dunkirk evacuation four years earlier. Across the Channel 350,000 Allied troops were trapped by the advancing German army and if they weren’t rescued, then Britain would have been invaded. The country was on the verge of total defeat and panic was beginning to set in.

At the time of the Dunkirk crisis, on 26 May 1940, King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer. In his broadcast to the nation the King called for the British people to turn back to Almighty God in a spirit of repentance and plead for divine intervention. Millions of people across Britain responded to his call and flocked into churches humbly praying for deliverance. There was a queue of people a quarter of a mile long trying to get into Westminster Abbey to pray for divine intervention. People knew they needed God’s help.

Immediately following this National Day of Prayer two remarkable events occurred. Firstly, a violent storm arose over the Dunkirk region grounding the Luftwaffe which had been killing thousands on the beaches. Secondly, a great calm descended on the Channel, the like of which hadn’t been seen for a generation, which allowed hundreds of tiny boats to sail across and rescue 335,000 soldiers, rather than the estimated 20–30,000. God’s response to the National Day of Prayer was so clear and so dramatic that people referred to it as ‘the miracle of Dunkirk’ and Sunday 9 June was officially appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving.

However, Britain in 2024 is very different spiritually and is an increasingly godless nation. The crisis of faith in many churches has led to a massive decline in attendance and in the number of true believers. Church leaders focus on political issues rather on proclaiming the good news of Jesus. Some political leaders arrogantly affirm “we don’t do God!” Young people know little about Jesus and how knowing him personally dramatically transforms our lives. The idea of calling on God to help us personally and nationally doesn’t seem to occur to many. But the Bible gives us a wonderful promise that encourages us to seek God in prayer: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

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