Thousands of evangelical Christians across this country and the world Tuesday will pray for faithful leadership, wise understanding and courageous action on climate change. Spearheaded by Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, 35 organizations in 10 countries will gather on the Global Day of Prayer for Climate Action to express their love for God, their neighbor, and the world that God entrusted to us to protect.
Surprising to some, we are coming together to pray about climate change because of our faith, not in spite of it. For too long, this issue has been so heavily politicized that minds are made up before it is considered from a spiritual and moral perspective; this is too important an issue to be avoided because some have branded it with unhelpful political rhetoric.
We chose to host one of our flagship prayer gatherings at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte precisely because our collective response to climate change is a gospel-centered issue. At first glance, the idea of joining the Rev. Billy Graham’s library to a call for action on climate might seem strange. It’s not.
The Lausanne Movement for worldwide evangelization, sparked by Billy Graham in 1974, is all about “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.” In that spirit, the Lausanne Global Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel states that “creation care is indeed a gospel issue within the lordship of Christ” and that our faith compels us to respond to the climate crisis with an “urgent and prophetic ecological responsibility.”
As Billy Graham himself said, “Why should we be concerned about the environment? It isn’t just because of the dangers we face from pollution, climate change, or other environmental problems – although these are serious. For Christians, the issue is much deeper: We know that God created the world, and it belongs to Him, not us. Because of this, we are only stewards or trustees of God’s creation, and we aren’t to abuse or neglect it.”
As evangelicals, we are called to action wherever there is conflict between people and the environment. We recognize that we cannot do this well if we are not committed to tackling climate change at its root causes.
Joining us is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a leading climate scientist and evangelical Christian. Hayhoe is a perfect example of how seamlessly the worlds of faith and science can intertwine. She reminds us that it is not the science but political and ideological barriers that hold us back from acting on climate.
Inaction on climate change is not an option. We are calling evangelicals to join us in prayer Tuesday, because we firmly believe that prayer can provide expansive common ground for Christians to approach climate change with seriousness, dedication, and hope.
Rachel Lamb (rachel@yec
action.org) is the national organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action.