U.K.‘s The Independent was agog at Tony Blair’s speech on religion at the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 6.

The piece recorded Blair’s words about a boyhood spiritual awakening and noted that his press secretary used to tell reporters, “We don’t do God.”

Blair described an experience he had when he was 10 years old. “That day, my father — at the young age of 40 — had suffered a serious stroke,” he told the audience. “His life hung in the balance.” He described being sent to school where his teacher knelt and prayed with him.

“Now my father was a militant atheist,” Mr. Blair said. “Before we prayed, I thought I should confess this. ‘I’m afraid my father doesn’t believe in God,’ I said. ‘That doesn’t matter,’ my teacher replied. ‘God believes in him. He loves him without demanding or needing love in return.’”