As a city with a fascinating history, there is a deep well of London spirituality that guides our capital, and can inform our intercession for it. Central London actually comprises two cities; the City of London (around 2000 years old) and the City of Westminster (around 1000 years old). These two cities have very different origins, purposes and personalities, but together form the core of the modern metropolis of London.
City of London
The City of London was begun by the Romans. They built a trading centre on the banks of the River Thames shortly after their invasion in 44 AD, and named it Londinium. It quickly became the largest town in Britannia. The business of London has therefore always been business. The City of London remains as a financial and business heartland, containing the London Stock Exchange and the Bank of England, and has become one of the financial capitals of the world.
City of Westminster
The City of Westminster is now synonymous with political power, with 10 Downing St and the Houses of Parliament, but it has a very different origin. The first building on the site was a Benedictine monastery, which was built up into an Abbey by King Edward the Confessor in 1042 AD. To keep an eye on his “West Minster” he also built a royal palace nearby, which became the main home to the English monarchy, and therefore the centre of political power. But before Westminster was a political city, or even a royal city, it was a holy city.
The origins of London and Westminster are therefore in making money, and in worshipping God. But Westminster’s purpose has been shifted from serving God, to exercising political power. As Jesus stated, “No one can serve two masters… he will hate the one and love the other… you cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24). These origins continue to exert a huge influence over London spirituality to this day.