Markets turn to prayer on Great Crash anniversary

Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:15pm EDT
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By Laurence Fletcher

LONDON (Reuters) - Plunging world stock markets have produced reactions from bewilderment to terror among traders, but one group believes the financial crisis requires an altogether different response -- prayer. On the anniversary of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, a cross-denominational 100-strong group of Christians united in City Temple Church in London's financial district on Wednesday to pray for an end to market instability and ask God that economies should not enter a 1930s-style Great Depression. Carrying a banner depicting a huge lion -- symbolizing the biblical Lion of Judah, or Jesus -- with one paw on a bull and other on a bear, the group then headed to the London Stock Exchange, epicenter of the UK's quaking financial system.

In tandem with teams in New York, Dublin and Amsterdam, Christians stood in small groups or marched round the Stock Exchange's premises in the shadow of St Paul's Cathedral, asking God to intervene in the turmoil of recent months and praying for those affected by the credit crisis.

"I'm not a doomsday prophet, I'm not speaking judgment," said American Sharon Stone, founder of Christian International Europe and co-ordinator of the group.

"We believe God is God of the economy also. We're praying for mercy that there won't be losses of jobs, that there won't be losses of homes and that any greater crisis will be averted."

The group, which had come from all over the UK and included workers from the London Stock Exchange and the International Monetary Fund, comprised Anglicans, Catholics, Pentecostals and other Christian denominations.

This demonstrates an increased willingness amongst believers to work together and to roll up their sleeves as the crisis bites, said 54 year-old Stone, a church pastor since the age of 19.

"This is the easiest prayer gathering I've had in 35 years," she said.

HUNGER   Continued...

<p>A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 29, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>