By Charles Gardner —

Presence Praise in the streets of London (YouTube screengrab)

The presence of the Lord was powerfully felt in the heart of London this Easter in what is seen by some as a spiritual breakthrough.

The capital has been swamped by months of rebellious protests, particularly by the pro-Palestinian marchers in the wake of the October 7th massacre of Jewish people in Israel.

But a team of Dutch Christians under the banner of Presence, a movement aimed at bringing Christian worship onto the streets of Amsterdam and other European cities, came to London on Maundy Thursday night to lift the name of Jesus beside government buildings in Whitehall.

“Jesus is the Answer” and many other songs of praise to God resounded down the busy thoroughfare as musicians and singers raised their voices in worship.

Young man worshiping in London (YouTube)

It was in stark contrast to a protest earlier in the day that saw a pro-Palestinian group occupy the entrance to the Department of Business and Trade after staging a fake accident to divert security as they called for an arms embargo of Israel.

The singers were stationed on the pavement beside the Cabinet Office, opposite the Ministry of Defense and just round the corner from No 10 Downing Street, the residence of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The joyful praise and worship continued for over two hours, interrupted now and then by prayers and proclamations, boldly declaring the Lordship of Christ over London after so much chaos and disruption in recent months.

Many of the songs had an Easter theme, with much focus on the cross and the blood Jesus shed in order to reconcile us to God and each other.

Exuberant worship (YouTube)

Prayers were particularly directed at the people of Israel and the Jews in the UK who have been feeling greatly intimidated by the exponential rise in antisemitism since the Gaza War broke out.

Presence leader Wim Hoddenbagh, on at least two occasions, turned towards Downing Street to tell the Prime Minister (a practicing Hindu) that Jesus loves him! He further made a point of thanking the Jewish people for giving Jesus to the Gentile world while prayers were also said for the city’s homeless.

So uncharacteristic of the many rallies held in London was the complete absence of hostility – just praise, prayers and, clearly, the presence of God in their midst.

Further such events are planned in other parts of the UK, and they hope to return to London.

With the BBC criticised for dropping a traditional Easter service from its prime channel1, suggesting they were thus playing down the importance of Christianity to the nation, perhaps we should take that as a sign for the Church to take more responsibility for their own message in the way the Dutch believers have done.

It is surely time to challenge the darkness that has come over our land since we decided that we knew better than God how to run our affairs. We turned our backs on the Ten Commandments and, in the face of increasing immorality, made up laws to reflect our changing culture.

Explaining the motivation for the Presence movement at a recent event in Amsterdam, Wim referenced the way the prophets of old used the weapon of worship to bring down enemy strongholds. It was the answer to Paul and Silas in prison, to King David hiding from his persecutors; why Jericho fell and why the godly kings of Israel sent worshippers out to battle ahead of the soldiers!

It’s time to build an altar of worship to God, he said. For the battle is not ours, but his!


1They have decided not to cover the service from King’s College, Cambridge, as has been the tradition for many years.

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