Category: Prayer

Light and Warmth and Covenant of Grace

Anemone De Caen

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from His glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the Saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1: 11-14 NRSV

October, and the rainy, dark days are here. And if that were not enough to plunge us into gloom this year we have a Pandemic as well.

My older friend sent a message “Been thinking of you she said. Wear something bright with lots of colour… work with some colour… if you have some spare time.”

Many years ago I discovered for myself the therapeutic power of my watercolour paint box and my waterproof coat is bright red. The last of the red roses sing out to me in the garden, and my red breasted friend the Robin is there every morning waiting for his breakfast to appear through the kitchen door.

I chose the red Anemone de Caen which are planted out from September to November in the U.K. to flower around March to April (around Eastertide) for this post simply because when I look at it I think of the Lord who has rescued us from the power of darkness and bought us into the kingdom of light.

Now that makes my heart sing out for joy however dark the day! I hope yours also. Moreover I find that the warmth and light of Adonai are not just on the outside but inside also. The Lord of all grace is not waiting for some future date to transfer His sons and daughters into the kingdom of His beloved Son, it is done now …. the red blood of Jesus has bought for us Eternal Redemption.

Oh dearest Lord,

In the shelter of Your wing,

You cause our heart to sing

Out with joy.

In your light we see light.

And we are warmed in your love;

Wrapped around in Your embrace,

And Your covenant of Grace.

Always Jean

Prayer: The Good Way

“Look to the crossroads”

“Stand in the ways and see,

And ask for the old paths,

Where the good way is,

And walk in it:

Then you will find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah 6:16 (NKJV)

Whether our years are few or many. All of us at some time in life come to a crossroads and often we find the ways are not as clearly marked as we would wish for and there are no guarantees that we shall find what we desire by following this path or that.

Perhaps we may look and choose the “Road Less Travelled By” (Robert Frost) setting off hopefully and Cross Roads left behind, then suddenly we aren’t so sure… How do we know just which is the good way?

Many set off with a strong sense of vocation, and certainty of the road to take. Many more do not.

How do we find certainty

Mark’s Gospel, full of immediately’s, or straightaways, has this little account:-

“Now in the morning, having risen a long time before daylight, he (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place and there He prayed.

And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.

When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”

But He said to them. “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth’

Mark 1. 35-38 (NKJV)

When the Holy Spirit points out to us the good way, of Prayer way we should “immediately” take it. It is a quiet way and a lonely way but it is the way our Master took, His feet never left it not even surrounded by great crowds …. and from that good way…. He gained direction for the coming days.

Lord be with us today in the good way

That we may leave behind yesterday’s town and regret

And see tomorrow’s town, purpose and hope

Amen.

Always Jean

Fortunate and blessed

I am fortunate, I am blessed with a large garden~ My own little wilderness

During the past few few days, I have spent much time out in my wilderness, chopping, pruning, digging, planting and just sitting, looking, listening

Just sitting, I have been visited, by small elusive birds, cheekier and noisier larger ones and the butterflies

Orange-Tip
(Anthocharis cardamines)

Birds, looking for food in their eating place, the little ones careful to avoid the bigger, bossier ones and a squabble, and the spring butterflies searching for nectar amongst the flowers. All at peace. All at rest.

Why can’t the world always be so quiet, so calm at rest?

I am distracted by thoughts of Elijah being fed by the ravens and because it is sunny, and hot my butterfly thoughts flitted back to a visit to Italy, Subiaco and Santo Speco where Saint Benedict lived as a hermit, in a rocky wilderness of his own. Saint Benedict also had help from Ravens. A hard, difficult climb to his cave, here was another man of God … on the run: like Moses from Pharaoh, like Elijah, like David from King Saul. Sometimes harsh, wild places are to be preferred to harsh, wild, angry kings and enemies.

Statue of St Bendict
Entrance to the cave where he lived.

I recalled thinking at that time, what a hard and difficult way to live! Sitting in my chair, with my kitchen door and food and clean water a few feet away; it was not easy to picture, to imagine the rigours of life lived in such unfriendly environments of true wilderness. From the beginning the wild places, wilderness and desert have been not only the hiding places but also the birthing places of God’s people. It was in the wilderness that the people of Israel were shaped, where John the Baptist cried out to make straight the way of the Lord, where Jesus was tested by Satan and prevailed.

I have an idea that no one truly chooses to live in the wilderness but that our Father chooses them and then the wilderness to prepare them until ready, equipped, character formed, strengthened and empowered they are ready for the next stage of their life, and Life in Christ is never going to be easy.

Right now, there are millions of God’s children who with no regular public worship, feel kind of lost, in some kind of wilderness of our own. We are not lost. The Shepherd knows where each lamb is. In His time, the Lord will bring us out, a people ready.

Father, through all our wandering be our guide. Teach us that the safest place to be, is that place where You are. You are, and You alone our Rock, our Strength. It is You who provides our Daily Bread and water from Living Fountains. Neither fierce heat by day, frosty cold by night, plague, storm, the enemy without or the enemy within can overcome your children and You make us more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Come, and sit awhile

My church, part of the Church of England, and our sister churches have now paused Public Worship Services, following the guidance from the U.K. Government. Strangely this has meant a week of frantic busyness for one or two of us. Our church is an older church most are over 70 years old, and we do have a large proportion of those at risk, yet for many, no church service is a great disappointment

I have hope, and it is I feel it is more than hope that out of and through the present circumstances, the Lord will draw His church as the master sword smith, tempers the finest blade, by drawing it from the flame and then by plunging it in water.

‘Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted amongst the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46.10)

As my tasks diminish, I know, that it is time for me, personally to ‘Come, sit awhile’ in the Presence of the One who cares for me, and for you.

I shall be praying for all my loved ones, and for you – Coronavirus has called us to battle – but the virus will not have the victory – the battle is the Lord’s

“Don’t Fast From Me“

Lent Day 3

The world is a Messy Place. We all have a hand in its mess. One afternoon last week, I came home after a midweek Morning Service in church, I had so much to do, but didn’t. I could only sit and weep, inwardly. Someone I had spoken to that morning had been so hurt (not by me, I am glad to say) that he a grown man, about my age had exploded in anger, anger with tears in his eyes.

The person who had caused the hurt had no idea, that a thought she had for good reasons, would have caused such hurt. She is herself caring for a close relative, a relative who is terminally ill. So offence taken and deep hurt felt … over what in actual fact was, a good thought and decision made for the good of many, by another hurting soul. The many included the man himself. I cried for his hurt, I understood totally the friend who had made a good decision and the reasons for that decision.

I cried because life can be so messy, painful, for misunderstood motives for the hidden things of the heart.

Hearts are unreadable. Even our own hearts can deceive ourselves. Satan our enemy can take the best of our thoughts and twist and bend them to suit his own purposes, hurt and bad feelings in the Body of Our Lord Jesus.

Yes Christ loves us, cherishes us as His very own self. Yes we know we should love one another. Yes, a big positive yes from me here, we do in all truth love one another… but our enemy, the chief Mess Maker takes our good intentions, our best thoughts and turns them, bends, twists and throws them in our paths as stumbling blocks of the first magnitude.

Part of Lenten Discipline is fasting. Many things are fasted from these days, one friend has given up her beloved Facebook; she reckons that , for her, is more difficult than to give up food.

What we should not give up is Prayer

Neither should we give up watching our own hearts. We should be careful and guard against such sneaky things as envy, because you know, envy can be the catalyst for anger, it can be the self-held knife that we use to produce the cuts to our pride that produces our hurt. Our hurt can in turn produce more hurt, more sin, more mess

I saw, a vision of paint, thick oily paint, daubed everywhere around town, the doors, the window sills, the walls, the people, and to be honest the most skilled of artists would have had an impossible job in discerning the pigments that those colours were mixed from! And once mixed they cannot be unmixed… they must simply wait to be erased, removed… it took the Wisdom, Love and Grace of Almighty God to clear up Humanities mess, in the Coming, Sacrifice and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why the title of this post?

In a time of stillness and calm, when I could hear clearly and not miss His Word … this was the Lord’s Whisper to me.

“Don’t fast from Me. Do not refuse my food, the Bread I offer to you!

Jesus is the Bread of Life, the unleavened Bread of Truth; stillness, quietness are the room, unlocked with the key of prayer where once admitted, He can through the Holy Spirit begin to cleanse our heart, order our thinking and use us, as clean instruments in cleaning up what remains of the World’s big mess, yes God has left some mess here, just for us, so that in teaching us how to tackle it, He can bring the work He started in us when we said Yes to Him, in the person of the Lord Jesus to perfection in the Day When the secrets of all hearts are made known and the Victory of the Cross plainly revealed.

May all the blessings of a Holy Lent be ours.

And all the Glory and Praise to God alone. Through our Lord Jesus Amen

Image: Bread baked baked by Brother Amos SSF

A Simple Disciple’s Prayer

From a conversation between my Soul and the Lord

My soul:

Lord. Your love is all to me, as You are all to me,

As the day draws to a close, Lord,

Let Your love be the shawl that is wrapped around me.

The Lord Jesus:

“The arm to embrace, as well as guard, protect my beloved is Mine,

If she is Mine?”

My soul:

Lord, I am yours, as a single star is lost in the heart of the starry Universe,

So am I lost in the immensity of Your love and found at Your feet.”


Prayer: From a conversation between myself and every Christian’s Beloved Lord at the closing of New Year’s Day 2020. Shared in Fellowship with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Picture: I don’t know who to attribute it to? If you should know please let me know that I may give them thanks for a lovely picture story which speaks to me not only of the gentle love between mother and child; but also of the love of God for His church. “Christ does indeed love us as our mother” (Julian of Norwich)

The Baby is washed~ Getting ready

The baby is washed

The days are counting down to St Giles Christmas Fayre, this coming Saturday and for the very first time the Flower Ladies are having a Festival over in the Church on the same day. Which means double the amount of work with Friday as busy as Saturday. Perhaps I should explain that the Church Hall, where the Fayre happens is separated from the Church by a very busy road.

I am not a flower arranger by any manner of means ~ so non-plussed, totally when told,

“We decided you are doing the baptistery!”

My first reaction was… I can’t do that.

Putting two flowers in a glass jar would be my limit. So I decided to take an easy way out and turn the Baptistery into a stable, using the font as a manager. Linda sent text this afternoon to tell me her husband has left me a bale of straw in the baptistery, Olwyn says going to leave me sacking, other ladies are loaning shawls for the baby; the baby is 61 years old so Iris proudly told me, “But he is a little bit dirty….”

She was quite right, the Baby needed a bath, and I gave Him one this afternoon, taking the greatest of care. It has been such a long time since I washed a doll, let alone a live baby, and that I can assure you under his/her mom’s careful supervision. I have never married, always found that Jesus was enough, still do; washing the baby bought thoughts of Mary washing Jesus to mind, as I carefully washed each tiny finger and toe nail and behind His ears. Perhaps Mary had to borrow to wrap Jesus snuggly in those swaddling bands and to make the manager warm enough.

So here we go on course for the beginning of Advent, an Adven(ture).


(Chorus) Cloth for the cradle,

Cradle for the child,

The child for our every joy and sorrow;

Find him a shawl that’s woven by us all

To welcome the Lord

Of each tomorrow.

Words from John L Bell (b. 1949) and Graham Maule (b.1958)


…..And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Lord, you lived among us as a homeless stranger,

As a helpless child, carried in your mother’s arms in flight from a ruthless king,

Grown to manhood, you had no place to lay your head

And in your death your tomb was borrowed

Grant that every day, in everything I may be willing

To place all that I have, all that I am into your arms,

Your service,

Your keeping.

Amen

Bible verse: Luke 2.7 (NASB)

Prayer: My own

A More Hopeful Forecast

October, rainy, and mild, this year will soon be over, and still the leaves cling to the trees, waiting, perhaps for windy November.

Or will it be windy November?

As the month began there were forecasts of snow in the last half of the month. Still no snow. I cannot say that I am sad about that. October seems far too early for snow to arrive; it would seem bizarre to have flurries of snow flakes before flurries of crunchy , red-gold leaves.

Weather forecasters do not always get it right.

The future, despite modern technology, weather satellites, and highly proficient interpreters of so much information the future remains un-known, hidden from our view by an impenetrable curtain.

A curtain which the most insistent hands cannot draw back, anymore than the reader of tea-leaves can.

I am glad of that.

There are some things it is better that we don’t know.

I promised to pray for a younger lady today.

We have not known each other very long, measured in proportion to the long year of my life, perhaps we could say from July to October. She is a quietly spoken, clever lady with whole sunny summers, golden autumns, white winters and green springs to look forward to, except that the gloomy weather forecaster has said she has a cancer.

So, I am praying that He who holds the future, yours’ – mine – hers’ will prove the forecasters wrong, and that behind the curtain many years of happy, fruitful life await.


I love the plants and pots that occupy my window sills, especially those plants that come as gifts. I find it very difficult to part with a single one, even despite the flowering period being over and gone, and little hope that they will flower again. The geranium in the photo was last year’s. For months it has just sat there, no foliage, green shoots. There have been those mornings when I have been tempted, strongly tempted to put it on the compost heap. Almost, but:

There is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again. And its shoots will not fail.”

“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us”

Look, the geranium is flowering now.

I purpose not to accept every gloomy prediction, it is true. Prayer changes things.

Scriptures: Job 14.7, Romans 5.5

Lord, you teach us that hope abides for ever,

When faith is weak and can not grasp the shield or wield the Spirit’s sword,

When joy is restrained, the rainbow blotted out by the cloud:

Then let hope, send out strong shoots of prayer,

That faith may flower and bear perfect fruit,

Your love,

And our perfect healing

Amen.

Waking..

I open my eyes before it is light, but the darkness is not dark. Rather it shines.

Shines with a peace beyond telling: and the silence breathes – the unseen presence of my Friend God.

So, nothing disturbs,

Nothing frightens

God is all.

I am not saying I never have a bad dream. I do.

I am not saying that I never go to bed with a troubled mind. I do.

I am not saying that I never have anxious and stressed prayer times. I do.

I am saying that God comforts me in the darkest night, blackest days, gives rest and peace from wildest terrors. He gives peace and rest when it is needed most.

There are those times of loss, of grieving for loved ones lost to sight.

There are those times of being sorry for things done or left undone. There are those things said which ought not to have been said and those things which have been left unsaid which should have been said – for these things there is also a promise:

if we acknowledge our sins, He is trustworthy and upright, so that He will forgive our sins and so will cleanse us from all evil,”

Peter, fisherman turned big brother to all Christian folk, warns us to keep sober and alert, because our enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour, He tells us to stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that throughout the world other brothers and sisters undergo the same kind of sufferings and trials… often if we are honest, we do not have the least clue what suffering and trials for sake of Jesus are…

It is in the shining dark and silence before the dawn that waking up in the presence of my Friend I come to realise that His suffering ones are His blessed ones, and if I would be any kind of friend to Him, I should remember them,

And the little children with no shoes, no home, no one to call mother or father, no friend, except one, my Friend God.

It is in the shining dark and singing silence I hear the sung prayers of those who grieving weeping and worship in the same moment

When you meet my Friend God in the shining darkness, and the singing silence and know His embrace of Peace.. who do you see, sharing these things with you?


A song to sing, which even though they may not know Christ as you do, all are happy to sing with you, recognising in this wonderful world, the Hands that made all things, cares for all living things and fills all things. His holy and sacred peace be yours and mine,

I see trees of green, red roses too

I see them bloom for me and you

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white

The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces of people going by

I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do

They’re really saying I love you

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: George Weiss / Robert Thiele

‘The roses Jesus gives’

My life gets busier and harder at a time in life when things should become more leisurely and the mountains less steeply inclined.

Yet, I recall a word from the Lord, saying that my real work for him would begin when I was old. Like Mary I have tended to keep his words and ponder them. The rose is just a rose from my garden. Just a rose. Not the most beautiful, not the most fragrant it is just a rose. A rose that spoke to me, as I tidied and weeded, it spoke peace and joy and invited me to take pleasure in the day, the sunshine and the work. It invited me to:

Taste and see that Yahweh is good. How blessed are those who take refuge in him

It invited me to:

Take what he gives and praise him still, through good and ill,

It is a reminder that our Lord blesses us in the rough and difficult as much as in smooth and easy. We sometimes, just can’t see it.

Think about the pioneers of our faith, 12 Disciples, St Paul, Barnabas, don’t forget the women who laboured and suffered alongside; think how the infant Church was raised, nursed, cherished and loved by those not so young as well as the young. It was on the rough and difficult path that they followed Jesus, carrying their cross, helping others to carry theirs’ ~ we are called to do the same.

Can our lot be any harder?

I don’t think so.

There is a world of difference between singing hymns on a Sunday, or leaping in the air at a “Praise Gathering” and singing praises in the middle of the night with your feet in the stocks and after being beaten for speaking in the name of Jesus rejoicing that you were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.

So I cut the Rose and put it in water carried it to my prayer table, where it’s redness speaks to me of the Blood that Jesus shed, the life, He gave, and I can understand why hardship, pain and humiliation could not get the better of Peter, James and John, why Thomas the twin called out ‘my Lord and my God’ and took up His Cross to carry the name of Jesus to far away India. I listen to Jesus speaking to Peter,

In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put in your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.”

I say Amen.

Yes please, Lord Jesus.

I know that everyday you will feed me with the hidden Manna and that you will never allow me to be thirsty for the living water. The roses that you give in stillness and quietness I would not trade for riches, or a smooth and easy path. Take my songs of praise to replace your crown of thorns.

Scriptures: Psalm 34.8, John 21.18, Acts 16.24, Acts 5.41

Posted in love for our God who loves us from cradle to grey hairs and beyond and forever.