WORLD – The International Lutheran Council (ILC) is calling for prayer following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III.

Queen Elizabeth II reigned more than seven decades on the throne, faithfully serving God and His people in the vocation of monarch to which she found herself called. Along the way, she earned the love and respect of people across the globe. ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt, Bishop of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, expressed his “deepest condolences to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth” during this time of sorrow.

The ILC has members churches in four nations over which the Queen served as monarch: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Several other nations in which ILC churches are present also have ties to the monarchy through the Commonwealth of Nations.

In a statement, Chairman George Samiec of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in England (ELCE) praised the Queen’s long service “in the role in which she found herself as a follower of Jesus Christ,” and encouraged prayer especially “for His Majesty The King and all members of the Royal Family in their time of grief.”

“In this time of mourning, let us remember the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II marked by service in the name of the King of Kings who sacrificed Himself for all,” he said. “May our lives always be marked by service to one another. And may the crucified and risen Lord of Lords whom Her Majesty served be gracious and merciful to us all.”

Chairman Samiec, who also serves as the ILC’s Europe Region representative, offered the following prayer:

Almighty and gracious God, we give You thanks for Your loving kindness shown to Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth the Second, who having finished her course in faith, now rests from her labours in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life. Amen.

Similar sentiments were expressed by the leaders of ILC churches in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In a statement, Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) President Timothy Teuscher thanked God for “all the blessings You granted Elizabeth, our Queen, during her long earthly life, for her many years of dutiful, sacrificial service to our nation and all the nations of the British Commonwealth, and especially for calling her to faith in Christ and preserving her in the confession of His holy name.”

President Teuscher is also Vice Chairman of the International Lutheran Council and the ILC’s North America Region representative.

Bishop Paul Smith of the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand (LCA/NZ) likewise issued a statement, giving thanks for Queen Elizabeth II’s “faithful Christian leadership both in the Commonwealth and throughout the world” and her “long faith-filled reign over us.”

Queen Elizabeth II regularly made reference to her faith in Christ throughout her reign, especially during her annual Christmas messages. “History teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves,” she noted in her 2011 message. For this reason, she said, “God sent into the world a unique person—neither a philosopher nor a general (important though they are)—but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith.”

“It is my prayer,” she concluded, “that… we would all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.”