House of Prayer

I just received the May newsletter from Faith Church in Findlay, OH.  The lead article, by Pastor Michael Martin, talks about the importance of prayer and I’ve copied it here, straight from the Pastor’s Desk.

Every once in a while I sit down and evaluate my spiritual progress. During that time I often find there is something I need to correct. It is usually something important, but I have let it slip. I found one of those areas for myself this week, and I wanted to write about it because I think it can apply to the church’s ministry too: Prayer. I know, we all pray individually. We also read prayers together in worship. I suspect though, if we are honest, very few of us would confess to feeling we are good at prayer and pray enough.

Jesus covered every need and reason to pray in the words recorded in Matthew 7:7; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. If there is a need in life we need but ask. He assures us that when we do, it is given. Sometimes there is something we don’t understand. In such a case we are invited to seek. For some reason, the necessity of seeking becomes part of the answer. I have been told before that we shouldn’t ask God why? It seems to me though that in the invitation to seek there is also the invitation to ask why. Sometimes, we don’t necessarily need anything and we don’t have any questions, but we feel the need to be in the presence of our Savior. We want to feel his warm embrace and hear his encouraging words. In these times Jesus bids us to knock. When we knock the door is opened and we are welcomed in.

I do need to increase the duration and the quality of my prayers. I feel the Lord is asking us as a church to increase our prayer life together. As he cleared the temple Jesus quoted God’s words from the Old Testament, My house will be called a house of prayer. We pray, but are we a house of prayer?

I am going to concentrate on this subject in my articles this summer. It will be the focus of a few sermons as well. I also plan to put it into action. I would like to start by having a designated time we could come together and pray for the church and each other. When our worship time changes to 9:30 in June, I plan to go into the sanctuary or a side room at 9:00 to pray. My goal is to pray for 15 minutes and then go out to fellowship before we worship. You are welcome to join me. Do you have a suggestion for a better time, one that would work better for you? Let me know. I will already be praying for you, but I would love to pray with you.

If you cannot join in one of the times of corporate prayer, I ask that you pray on your own. Pray for me. Pray for the church. Pray for your needs. Pray for your friends, your family and your enemies. Spend time with the Lord. Send him a knee mail. Just pray.

FAITH WALK, a message from Michael Martin

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1


NISCU Funding

NISCU is an organisation which has operated in the North West for about 25 years. They go into schools and bring the good news of Christ to children and youth in both primary and secondary schools.

Matt Rich, who works with secondary schools for NISCU, has been sending out letters to all the Furness area churches about funding their Furness operations. Some of the larger churches, which previously supported the charity, now employ their own youth workers. Most areas and schools are not blessed with these resources and the NISCU is able to fill the gap here as well as supercharge those areas which already have access to youth workers.

The charity (246661 previously) has recently changed its name and number so if you look up the number above, you’ll be able to learn something about their operations.  The outstanding need of the Furness team, if covered solely by the Furness Anglican community, is equivalent to £62 per church per month.  Matt is going to look into getting an interactive programme to tally fundraising to date.  June 6th is the decision date for planning their future spend.

Let’s pray together about the work of NISCU and lift it and the children whose lives are being changed to God in prayer.  Father God, glorify your name in this place.  Amen.


Grace and Awe

The banner on this web-site is a portion of tarantula nebulae, an immense star forming region in nearby galaxy The Large Magellan Cloud first seen by Fernando de Magellan in the southern sky on his journey crossing the ocean.  It is only 180,000 light years away in the constellation of Dorado, named after a fish that rapidly changes colour when it dies.

This is a Hubble photograph and I find it truly awesome.  The same God whose grace has given me life has created the truly amazing constellations of stars in the sky.  We can’t see them in vivid colour but He can.  What awesome views are His and yet He has time for us here on planet earth.  In fact, He came to us in person.  Father God, we praise your holy name.  Amen.


Our Advent Blessing

Praise the Lord

     Praise the Lord from the heavens

Praise him in the heights above.
       Praise him, all his angels,
Praise him, sun and moon,
       Praise him, all you shining stars.
 Praise him, you highest heavens
       And you waters above the skies.
 Let them praise the name of the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.

       His love endures forever.
 With thanksgiving, in the spirit of St. Andrew,

       We meet around the table to celebrate this advent season.

Come Lord Jesus come.

       Come Lord Jesus come.
Bless this place, bless this food, bless your children near and far, bless our hearts, minds, bodies and souls with your peace, and love and grace and joy.

Come Lord Jesus come.

       Come Lord Jesus Come. Amen



Transformed Lives

If you believe that Jesus lives today, if you believe that he is here, in this place, now in the 21st century, then one way we can put this faith into action is to pray for God’s transformational power to give new life to his children.  Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray for God’s children.  And when you have a story to tell, proclaim it  (see encounter) to the world!


Isaiah Rumblings

To say that we have been on a roller coaster over the last week would be an understatement.  In final fits of agonised wondering, the prayers for Sunday were revealed on a train journey from Birmingham.  Perhaps they were inspired by the recent UCB reading notes focusing on Isaiah.

Heavenly Father,


How our plans have been foiled.  Over the last week, so many of your children have been on seemingly fruitless ventures.  Trains to nowhere, journeys impeded by snow and ice, children happy with glee at school closings, failed technology at every turn, and markets continuing their melt down to unknown levels.  It would seem that man’s hell bent path of folly has finally been called.  So God you have our attention now.  We’re listening.  Take off our blinders that we can see and open our ears that we can hear.  It’s clear that the world isn’t going to fall apart if we don’t make it to our destinations.  All praise and honour and glory and power are yours forever and ever.


Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.


Father God, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  We are your salt and light.  So why is your house here on earth cold and dark?  Why is there dust in the corners?  Why are the walls of our hearts dingy?  Have we all been too busy to honour your true house with joy and praise?  Are we too uninspired to show others the path to your door?  All seeing, all knowing God, you will build your church and your kingdom with or without our help.  Make your home here in this beautiful village.  Come down and seat yourself in the cradle of the Old Man.  Blow the cob webs away from this place with your piercing and powerful light.  Let us rejoice in praise with your choirs of angels each and every day.


Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.


Heavenly Father,


You are shaking our foundations.  Throughout time civilisations have come and gone.  Is ours on the way out?  Capitalism, the great market that is worshipped around the world has been manipulated to the brink of destruction.  The world is bloated by too much debt backed by empty assets which were packaged and sold off by moneychangers whose only care was for the day.  Oh, we’ll survive.  We’ll get through the current mess.  But what will we learn and are we just setting ourselves up for the ultimate meltdown to come? Woe, said the angel.  Babylon has fallen.  Whether this is sooner or later depends on whether we have a change of heart.  Heal our hearts Help us to turn from our wayward ways.  Heal our land.  Walk with us.  We are your people.  You are our God.


Merciful loving Father, we pray for your children who are suffering at this minute.  There are many who have lost their jobs.  There are many who have lost their homes.  While our lives have been disrupted by record cold and snow others are suffering from record high temperatures, drought and forest fires.  In the middle of all this chaos, you are with us.  Take us by the hand and lead us to your green pastures.  We are your sheep.  You are our shepherd.  This morning we pray especially for Phyllis, Nancy, Eunice, Pat and Peter.  Pour your warm and precious healing balm on these your loving children.  Renew their strength so they will run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.


Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.


Father God to each of us you have allotted a different time.  Though we each have our own time, our time overlaps with millions of other souls in your world.  We who are the living, in the here and now, have a tendency to think that the world will end if we don’t act.  We try to pack as much as possible into a day.  We think that time at rest is time lost.  On this your Sabboth Day, which you created for man, let us listen for you and move with you so we will only move when you say move and only act when you say act and only speak when you say speak.  Lead us together Father God.  One day, there will be no more time on this earth.  One day, we’ll join your great banquet with all time for all time.  What a joyous day that will be when we can hear, well done, good and faithful servant.  Lead us Good Shepherd in our time to your promised land.


Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.



In Praise of Grace

Today’s service was Harvest Sunday.  Our theme was forgiving our neighbour which was beautifully encapsulated into We reap what we Sow.  To be forgiven, we must forgive.  This is the crux of the matter.   Grace was flowing freely in our service.  In fact, it was totally overwhelming at times.

So that others may be blessed, the following are our Harvest Prayers:

Heavenly Father,


The sight of the mist rising slowly against the powder blue sky and deep furrows of the old Man is breathtaking as reflected on the sheet of glass called Coniston Water.  Suddenly the light shines so brightly through the mist that the old oak tree at the bottom of the lake is a picture of illumination, it’s roots firmly planted in the earth but cushioned by the lush dewy green grass inhabited by a flock of sheep.  I am brought quickly back to harvest Sunday.  I see in the tree a perfect object of your creation.  It’s limbs are always in touch with you as they rise up to the heavens above.  All who see it see a part of your glory.  All who look to it see what happens to the wise.  All who look to it see how we could be if we were as balanced as that tree, in perfect harmony with the earth around it and in constant communion with you.  Father God, help us to have our feet firmly planted in your word and keep us in constant communion with you.


Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.


As I look to the tree I see a swallow soaring.  I am reminded of a scene of swallows sitting on a wire last evening.  How do they organise themselves so perfectly?  How do they all know exactly what to do?  Those swallows soaring through the heavens are constantly in your care.  Cushioned by soft billowy clouds and helped along by gentle breezes and strong gales, it is by working together as a team that they can manage a journey of thousands of miles not just once but twice a year.  What can your church learn about working together from those swallows.  A strand of three fibers cannot easily be broken.  Let us sow the seeds of respect, encouragement and love for one another.  Bless our talents and use them for your glory as we work together in your kingdom.


Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer


As I walked on top of the moorland yesterday, I came upon a sea of glittering diamonds.  As my eye focused on just one of those precious gems, I suddenly saw every colour in the rainbow magnificently glowing in a prism more lovely than any earthly gem.  Reflected light on one drop of water was a show stopping paradise.  Your light is even brighter and more lovely than that beautiful prism.  We are the salt and the light.  When your light shines through us, we can shine your light on the world around us.  When we keep close to you, we are effective.  Shine your light Lord Jesus, shine it brightly that our harvest will be full.


Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.


Hazel, in her prayers a few weeks ago reminded us that one drop of your blood can wash away the sins of the world since the beginning of time.  Imagine the power of wiping out every sin from all time with just one drop of blood.  It is more than I can understand.  I am overwhelmed.  Imagine what you can do through us in our daily lives if we forgive our brothers as you forgave us.  Keep us strong as we go out from this place sowing the seeds of forgiveness.  Keep this drop of blood flowing in our hearts and minds as we sow your fields and reap your harvest.


Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.


When we call to you, we tap into the great power that created the earth and all the heavens.  We have our feet firmly planted in the earth like the old oak tree at the foot of the field.  We have a higher view like the swallows in the sky.  We have the light of the world as the prism of glory in a drop of water.  When we forgive one another, we see the power of a drop of our saviour’s blood in a transformation that exceeds all expectations.  It is awesome.  It is miraculous.  It is our faith.  Silently now, we bring all of our thoughts, needs, and prayers to you.


Heavenly Father, heal us, help us, deliver us, renew us, we are your people.  You are our God.  Let us walk with you as we live and work to your glory.


Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.


Standing in the Gap

Ezekiel 22:30  “I looked for a man among them who would build up a wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”

The above passage is from yesterday’s UCB readings. Lately I have been reading the lessons from the NIV verson of the Women’s Devotional Bible published by Zondervan Press which also has 365 devotions for the year.  There was one specifically for the passage shown above and it is so powerful, I would like to share it with you here.

Author:  Kathi Mills

Looking back on my life prior to my conversion in 1974, I realize now there were many intercessors on my behalf.  In addition to my own dear family who prayed for me faithfully, I remember one instance in particular when God burdened the heart of a woman I hardly knew to pray for me.

I was in a hospital, far from home and family, drifting in and out of consciousness.  Several times I became aware of a woman’s voice praying for my salvation, as well as for my physical healing.  At one point I heard a doctor describing my condition as critical, warning that I might not survive.

It was then that I recognized the voice of my intercessor once again as she spoke out in faith, “Doctor, I respect what you say, but I cannot accept it.  I’ve been praying for Kathi and I believe she will not only recover, she will walk out of here and live for God someday!”

Before long, I did walk out of that hospital, returned to work, and learned that it was my boss’s wife (I had only met her twice) who had “stood in the gap” for me.  When I tried to thank her, she responded with a confident smile, “Don’t thank me – thank God!  He has great plans for your life.”

Soon after that I moved away, never to see her again; but five years later when I gave my life to Christ, I remembered her – this faithful woman of God who never saw the results of her prayers for my salvation, but who believed God to answer those prayers in his time.

We often give up too easily on God in our busy lives.  Peter, a few Sundays ago, talked about the bright sunshine that we see when we get high enough in an airplane regardless of how many clouds obscure it from below.  Like the sun, which is ever present, Jesus is always there for us.  It is only we who move away.  Keep on praying and keep on intercessing.  Go to Revelation 8: 1-4 and see how God responds to the prayers of the saints.  God is alive yesterday, today and tomorrow and we are part of his great kingdom not just in the here and now but from all ages to eternity.


Elephants Never Forget

It has just been reported that Senator Edward Kennedy is to have surgery for a malignant brain tumor followed by chemotherapy.  In a statement, the senator committed himself to doing everything in his power to get Barack Obama elected President following his treatment.  To say that the senator is optimistic would be an understatement.  With elections looming in November, that is a swift positive recovery.  Whatever one thinks about the election or the candidates, I want to pray for Teddy and his entire family but especially Caroline who must be on her knees night and day praying for this man who is so close to her.

My heart goes out to Caroline especially.  What a sad story for a child to lose a Father so publicly and then her Father’s brother and then her Brother and her Mother. Of course this has all made Caroline a strong woman and a fighter.  Such trials as this, one wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Accompanying the statement about Senator Kennedy’s treatment was the obligatory reference to Chappaquiddick.  This was a sad chapter in his life which took place almost 40 years ago.  No matter what he has achieved since, no matter what wonderful things he has done, he is always dragged down by reference to this moment.

What is it about this world that constantly wants to tear down everyone and everything?  We’re imperfect creatures and we make mistakes.  No one is immuned.  There that’s it.  So what’s the big deal and what’s the story and why can’t elephants ever forget?

As Christians we have Freedom in Christ.  We have an advocate in heaven.  The dragging down of sin is finished with the blood of Jesus on the Cross.  We can move on.  If only the world would get the message, we would all be transformed.

Heavenly Father, bless Senator Kennedy, his family and friends.  Hold him in your hand.  You aren’t finished with him on this earth.  Use him to your glory, especially during this trial.  Pour your healing light and love on his body, mind and soul and make those elephants forget.

In the name of Jesus, Amen.



On Sunday, the headline that China arms destined for Zimbabwe were seeking safe harbor in Mozambique resulted in the following intercessions:

Heavenly Father, We pray for those who work for peace and good government.  This morning we lift up to you Zimbabwe.  The harsh regime of Mugabe has resulted in horrible suffering and loss.  You created each one of us with talents and gifts.  We pray that your good gifts will be put to full use across this land.  Strengthen your children with your revelation to know the way out.  Imbue the international community with wisdom to know how to help this land and its people.  Bind and heal the wounds of malice with your love and light.  Release your children from their bondage.  Let them live life to the full to the praise and glory of your name.   Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Today, the BBC headlines read:

Zimbabe Arms May Return to China

A ship carrying weapons to Zimbabwe is likely to return to China after neighbouring countries refused to unload it, says the foreign ministry.

Thank you Heavenly Father that You hold us in Your hand, that we can come to You, that You hear us, that You heal us, that we can trust in You.  Thank you for the prayers of Your saints who know that we can come to You through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of Your name.  Amen