Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A Difficult Decision

Today a very difficult decision that I had been delaying just kept banging and banging on the doors of my consciousness. At last I allowed it entry and realised it couldn't be delayed any longer.

So I have made that decision, albeit with a heavy heart, and I now need lots of prayer to enable me to carry it out, and to do that well and effectively.

Lord, I feel it is you who have kept this issue alive in my heart, and I beg your help and protection now to carry out the decision that I have made.

Dear friends, if you are reading this, please pray for me! God bless you all.

Friday, 18 April 2008

When God has other ideas

It's interesting how a day can go entirely differently from the way you planned it, but still be better in every way!

Today I was "set back" in my work programme by meeting a friend after Morning Prayer, and asking if I could accompany her on her walk with her dogs. This was a stunningly beautiful walk, even if the weather was a bit brisk today, so I was glad I did that.

My friend asking me about how my studies are going reminded me that I hadn't heard back from my tutor since submitting my last assignment. I thought it was time I got worried about this, so I phoned him, and learned that he hadn't received it! Having hastily re-sent it by e-mail, I was most relieved to get his comments back by the end of the afternoon, thus freeing me up to attempt the second of the assignments for this module.

So working on the second assignment occupied the afternoon.

This evening I was going to Youth Church anyway, and had the most brilliant time. I think the members did, too - at least, I had great difficulty getting them to go home, and we finished over half an hour late!

So thank you, Lord. Please help us to make Friday evenings a really positive experience for our members. Please help us also to get the Christian message across in an interesting and attractive way.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

A scary moment

As I was walking on our local park, a big brown dog noticed that I had a pocket full of dog-style titbits, and went for me. He was trying to knock me down, bite my hand, tear my coat open - it was really scary. Then my friend the golden retriever with whom I was walking spotted what was happening and came to the rescue. I was really impressed, because every time this big heavy and muscular looking dog approached me again, my friend just shoulder-charged him and knocked him to the ground. In the end, the baddie gave up.

I worked off the adrenaline rush by chipping paint off one of my blank-blank metal windows! Not all the paint, needless to say. That will take DAYS!

I'm hoping to get a good number of hours in tomorrow, and actually get something finished. That would be nice. Please Lord, would you help me to make real progress here?

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

So much love!

My friend Anita and I went to Tiger's funeral this morning. A Romany funeral is rather a wonderful occasion, because everyone who is in any way related will be sure to come, as well as friends, so of course, the church (the big Parish Church) was packed out. But nobody goes in until the coffin arrives. Today the market place and the church lane were lined with grieving Romany people, so recognisable in their solemn black, with gold jewellery glinting brightly in the spring sunshine. I was overcome anew by love for these neglected people, and prayed that the Lord would use today to reach their hearts, since the Church has historically made so little effort to share the Gospel with them.

After the funeral service, everyone follows the hearse on foot to the cemetery, which is often, as today, lined with still more people. The grief of the family was so intense as to be almost tangible, and Anita prayed for God to send his peace and his angels to comfort them, Lord, I pray that your peace will rest on that grieving family tonight, and your angels surround them.

My prayer was for all these people to be protected from the evil one, and to come to know and follow Jesus. I pray now especially for the brother-in-law, who is responding to a call to ministry, to be able to support them, and give them hope in God's promises.

We saw some of those promises fulfilled as we attended the Annual Meeting at St Mary's tonight. God has honoured their tithing by keeping their income at a level where everything necessary is paid for, including, most unusually, the whole of the parish "share". He has also confirmed his call to serve the young people of the benefice by providing a miraculous number of new volunteers to help in the work of the "God Squad" for teenagers. Thank you, Lord!

As I stood in the market place this morning and felt that love surge through me, I knew it was so enormous, so unconditional, so full of warmth and compassion, it was a foretaste of God's love, not only for the Romany people, but for all of us. It is so miraculous, so amazing, so divine, that I am just filled with awe and thankfulness. Thank you, Father.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Romany health, literally a life and death issue.

Today I heard about the early death of a Romany woman aged only 44. I am so grieved to hear of so many deaths at such young ages in the Romany community.

Gypsy Travellers from all groups with a nomadic culture and identify have far worse health status than the mainstream population (For academic evidence, please see:
Sadly and almost incredibly, those who are settled into houses have worse health status than those who regularly travel, although house dwelling may be effect, not cause.

Father God, I pray for the family of this young woman, and the family of E, who was buried today, that they will be aware of you being very near to them and that you will comfort them in their grief. Strengthen them as individuals and families to seek and find ways to improve and protect the health of those who survive. I pray especially for E's widow, and for T's children, that you will watch over them and be their protector and refuge.

I pray that you would motivate our whole nation to eliminate the exclusion and prejudice that results in this terrible, lethal inequality in health.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The God Squad

The God Squad is the name the members invented for our benefice's Youth Church. The first meeting of this new term was yesterday, and we had a lovely time. Thank you. Lord!

I want to pray for all the helpers and all the members, that we may all give glory to you during the time we spend together at God Squad, and that we may come out alight with the love, joy and peace that are the fruits of the Spirit. May we also learn from your Holy Spirit to show patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I also want to pray for all services tomorrow, in our benefice and in P & G's parish, that God's presence will be awesomely felt at each one. May hearts, minds and lives be touched and renewed, Lord.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Multiple Sclerosis

Today I was talking to someone I care a lot about who has MS, and was saddened to learn that there are people who do not accept that it is a disabling condition. If only these people were right! The truth is that a person with MS does not know from one day to the next what part of their body's functioning - which the rest of us can just take forgranted - is going to be affected next.

The basic facts are available from the MS Society web site at:


My prayer today is for research to show the way to a cure, or at least effective treatment to halt the progress of the condition. Dear Father, I find it impossible to believe that it is your will for thousands of your children to live permanently with pain and disability, and yet I know that so many do. I thank you for those who do so with courage and cheerfulness and ask your special blessing for them. I pray that you would enable our medical researchers to find a cure and/or an effective treatment for MS. I pray also that you would empower your church to pray to you for healing and especially for release from pain.

Finally, Father, I pray that you would enable us to bring good cheer, peace, comfort and affirmation to those we know who experience pain and disability, so that we ourselves may be a blessing to them, and a channel for your loving care.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

A normal day - praise God!

For the second day running I spent most of the day crawling behind laundry equipment and climbing on my stepladder, trying to reach all the parts of my utility room to paint it with white emulsion. So I do pray that God will help me get all this done quickly and well. I certainly need the prayer - I'm no expert in this area!

This evening my friends and I met to plan the next meeting of our Youth Church. We have asked for God to be totally in charge, and we especially prayed for everyone to come out of it feeling that they've had a fun evening.

And as I think of the utter normality of my life, and how my worst problems are so very minor, I pray again for Iraq and her people. Lord, please help the security forces, of whatever nation, and the people who are working for lawfulness and order, so that the people of Iraq can go about their work and their leisure in peace.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Robert Mugabe

How does one give up power?

I've never held power, so I can only imagine, but everything we know from history seems to suggest that it is very hard indeed to let go of power. Media discussion assumes that the failure to announce the results of the Zimbabwe elections is due to Mugabe's unwillingness to give up power.

So today, my prayer is for Robert Mugabe. Lord, your child Robert needs to know that you are always on the side of justice. If he hangs on to power that has been voted away from him, then he will answer to you, if not to his fellow countrymen.

Father, I can imagine that he may be terrified at the possible consequences for him personally of a loss of power. Please Father speak courage to his heart, and assure him of your willingness to forgive if he will only repent, and of your fatherly care, if he will only trust you, and do what is right.

Lord and Creator of all, we cry out to you for the suffering people of Zimbabwe. Let there be a new beginning, we pray. May justice and peace begin to be built, and may your kingdom come, in Zimbabwe, and throughout all the earth.

Monday, 7 April 2008


My prayer today is for Zimbabwe.

According to the BBC News pages hundreds of thousands of people and possibly as many as 3 million (25%) have left the country to seek work in South Africa. Now the country seems to be holding its breath, awaiting the announcement of the results of the recent elections. Oh Lord, I do pray that the whole election process will proceed without violence and with fairness. I pray that the country may develop new leadership to take her out of the terrible economic disaster she has been experiencing. I pray also for neighbouring countries, that they will be able to manage the effects of Zimbabwe's instability on their countries, and that the flood of economic refugees will not destabilise their economies.

For current news, please see:

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A lovely day

I had such a lovely day today, with a happy walk with my doggy friend, some time in my garden and my first visit to the puppy-training class.

I let the big pup off the lead today for the first time, and it was wonderful to see him run and play and enjoy himself. He did come back most times I called him - eventually!

My plans for the back garden are starting to come together and it was a special pleasure when the estate agent said, "The gardens sell these houses."

Puppy training was brilliant! I did a successful "Sit and stay" and a successful "Stay and come" with the big puppy.

All of this has made me turn back to the theme of "theological reflection" to see where God is in all this. Somehow I keep coming back to the theme of liberation and a growing conviction that God wants us not only to be free , but to be active participants in our own liberation. How I arrived at these thoughts would take too long to tell but I want to pray for everybody who feels trapped, enslaved,shackled,confined, held down, held back, helpless,hampered or impeded. Lord Jesus, your mission was to set the captives free, and I pray that you would enable each one of us not only to be free, but to walk in and trust that freedom as a gift of your free grace.