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Walk for truce: making a difference at the 2012 Games

The National Prayer Breakfast unearthed a few gems this year ... and I found myself on a 7-mile prayer walk

It was a privilege to be able to join hundreds of others in the Great Hall at Westminster on Tuesday for the 2012 National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast.

Carrying the theme 'A World in Union' in honour of the 2012 Games, it was great to hear from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, one of Britain's outstanding Paralympians and winner of 11 gold medals and six London Wheelchair Marathons.

There was powerful symbolism of the unity of believers at work as prayers were led by Simon Hughes MP, Nicky Morgan MP and former Labour MP Andy Reed. Nicky won Andy's Loughborough seat at the 2010 election.

Singer and actress Tabitha Webb delivered a spine-tingling version of A World in Union, and the keynote message from Bishop of London the Rt Rev Richard Chartres delivered gravitas in spades.

But the biggest thrill of the day for me was discovering more about the Olympic Truce, and the dogged and typically British campaign led by Lord Bates of Langbaurgh (above) to see the Truce become much more than a symbolic gesture.

The Durham-based Tory peer took a short seminar where he gave a self-deprecating account of his adventures and progress on this campaign, including his at times madcap 3000-mile walk from Mount Olympus in Greece to London.

Months of getting very little response from politicians left him at times despairing until during PM's questions in June 2011 David Cameron pledged full government and diplomatic support for the Truce, calling it "an historic opportunity".

In October 2011, a resolution presented by the UK Government for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was proposed to the UN General Assembly and signed and co-sponsored by all 193 member states. The foundations are being laid for something that it is hoped will grow and flourish in the next decade.

Some 40 of us joined Lord Bates for a seven-mile prayer walk from Parliament to close to the Olympic Stadium in East London, and as we walked, talked and prayed, there was a sense that God is on the move. Tectonic plates are shifting, and things can change.

Even what to some looked like a crazy idea from a well meaning but not terribly organised Tory peer can be blessed by God.

"We live so comfortably within our limits, we have no idea what we're capable of," he said.

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Oh, and I forgot to mention – the seminar featured a 10-minute interlude while all attendees had their photo taken holding an Olympic torch. Unlit, of course.

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