For my final best of the year series of posts, I want to share one from the UK Christian bloggers.
Over the last year, a group of UK-based bloggers have been getting together regularly to pray and swap stories. It’s been a tremendous encouragement. I want to publicly thank each and everyone of them today.
If you are looking for something to read or watch, do check out their blogs. There is some wonderful material there and you will not be disappointed.
Hi! My name is Andy Brown, you may remember me from such blogs as andy-brown.org…! It has indeed been some time since my last proper post, although I have tried to share some older material and some great posts from friends and fellow bloggers. Life has gotten rather busy and my writing has suffered. I…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/06/18/uk-christian-bloggers/
On Tuesday, I wrote a post entitled Anything, which looked at the awesome power of prayer. Yesterday, I shared a post called – A Fig Tree – which picked up that theme, and was written by the excellent blogger Bruce Cooper. Some comments on these posts highlighted to me that many do not fully understand…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/06/23/poor-little-fig-tree/
If God is sovereign, then what is the purpose of prayer? Why do we pray at all?
Today I share an article I wrote a few years ago, trying to address this very subject.
A couple of years ago, I was challenged about my view of God’s Sovereignty. I once believe that He did not control all things, but rather had delegated some control (for want of a better term) to humankind. Yet, a careful look at the Bible made me question this view, and ultimately dismiss it. God…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/07/14/prayer-and-sovereignty/
One evening, a group of Christians and I met together for a home group (this was in a previous church I belonged to). I forget the subject of our Bible study that night, but I recall vividly what happened during the prayer time at the end.
As I prayed for the group, I got this nagging sense that someone was struggling with migraine headaches. From time to time, I believe God shows me such things and that this is part of my spiritual gifts. I shared what I had sensed, and as it happens, two of the eight people gathered admitted to having struggled with severe headaches all that day. Neither had mentioned them during the course of the evening.
We prayed together, and prayed for these headaches to cease. For one of the two, they did. I remember that person saying so clearly, “It’s gone!” for the other person, they said it had helped but they could not admit that the headache had completely gone.
Even so, it sticks in my mind as a time when God was truly faithful. It highlights that for a whole variety of reasons that not everyone receives healing every time we pray. That should not stop us asking however, and to see someone freed from an intense headache was truly something to thank the Lord for.
I have had migraines in the past, and they are no fun at all! It was an immense privilege to be able to hear God’s direction that day, and to be able to pray for a sister in need.
When it comes to spiritual gifts and the healing ministry, it is something I remain passionate about. God has blessed us with these gifts, and we are to use them to build up His church. Yes there are times when things do not quite work out as they should. For instance, this weekend I had a sense that someone had hurt their ankle. When I reached out to them, they had not. The most likely reason was that I was simply wrong.
Being wrong is something I have grown used to over the years, but that does not stop me trying to listen to Jesus and acting on His voice. The pain of a migraine, sore ankle or whatever ailment can be a real drag to people. if God should wish to use me to bring that relief, then I am humbled and clearly the glory is all His.
Have you ever had an experience like this? I’d love to hear about it.
I hope that this brief testimony has encouraged you. God cares. He loves you. He cares about your headaches, your bills, your entire life. For the most part, He will direct us through His Word, but I rejoice in the times He directs us through His Spirit too. Praise the God of love who cares for us each and every day! Amen!
At our church yesterday, we had our “World Focus” spot. This is a time where we think about another part of the globe, and see what the Lord is doing there. Often it also involves thinking about the challenges a country or region face, and helps us think on how we can support the church in that place. Given events in the Ukraine right now, this was our subject.
We learned about a woman named Jessica who works with orphans in that nation. She lives in a fairly dangerous region of the country in “normal” times, and even more so now. As of yesterday, she was heading for the border following the advice to flee. She leaves behind one of the orphans she has helped to raise, a young man now aged over 18, and so he cannot leave in case he is called upon to fight for his country.
This is but one story of thousands. How many families are being torn apart by this dreadful situation?
I have seen a number of blogs about the war in Ukraine, and many prayers uttered. I join with them today, and pray for peace in that land. I also pray for wisdom for both sides, and for leaders across the world. We know that such situations can quickly escalate, and it takes only a spark to set a great blaze.
We pray for the citizens of Ukraine as they bravely defend their homes. We ask you Lord to move in that place, to bring forth all or any good You can out of this time of trouble. We pray, too, for a swift end to this conflict, and that lives on both sides would be saved.
May Your church arise in that part of the world. May those who know You, and are seeking to follow You, be blessed with strength, wisdom and resources to shine Your light in that place. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia, asking You to unite them with one purpose in serving You. May their love for You far exceed the hate of people, and may their example and ministry bring many souls into Your glorious kingdom.
Lord, when we see such things happen, it can be hard to know what exactly we should pray. Give us wisdom, and direct our prayers so that Your will is done, and You may be glorified. Where people suffer, may You be there to offer comfort. Where there is hurt, may Your church bring healing in Your Name.
We pray in the mighty Name of Jesus, amen!
Thank you for joining me in these prayers. And do add your own in the comments if you wish.
Not wanting to miss the boat on #TestimonyTuesday, I thought I’d share a brief snippet with you.
It is not my testimony but rather a minor thing which happened to me once.
When I left university, I had little idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I took a job at a local employer and consider it my first “real” job. I was young then, both in age and experience, and it was rather daunting to step into this new world.
On day one, someone came by and handed me a wadge of papers. “Fill these out,” they said, “and give them to Alice.” Before I had a chance to ask anything, they were gone. I did indeed fill them out, but literally had no idea who Alice was! The building housed 1500 employees, and for me (with problems with my sight) the thought of trying to find said mystery woman was no easy task! I asked a few of my new colleagues, and they were not exactly sure.
I did all I could, and prayed! I asked God to help me find this Alice, and then set the papers to one side and carried on doing my other work. A while later, I looked up to see a small group of colleagues talking, and one of them said, “Alice…” addressing one of the others. This was the Alice I needed, and she walked right past my desk and I was able to hand her the papers then and there.
This is, in the grand scheme of things, a miniscule event but it was God’s way of reminding me of His presence in my life. I knew, in that moment, that Goid had answered this simple prayer and I knew that He would continue to support me.
Has God given you these little nods from time to time? Just small encouragements that remind you of His constant love for you?
Praise Him for the big things in life, yes, but don’t forget to thank Him for the small as well!
Do share below any “nods from God” which He has given to you.
This Sunday, after church of course, why don’t you take a walk around your neighbourhood and pray for those living there. You could focus on your own street, or else wander a little further afield. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, and see if He will lead you to pray over a particular house or area.
Prayer walking is a great habit to get into. Not only does your physical body get some exercise, but it also gives you the chance to stretch those spiritual muscles. There are many practical ways to bless your neighbour, but only prayer allows you to invite God into their lives and do His miracle work.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
Love your #neighbour as yourself #Bible #Jesus #Christianity
The chances are that the most popular name on your prayer list is your own… I know that’s true for me, I’m ashamed to admit. Yet verse 31 tells us to love our neighbour as we do ourselves. Well, if we pray mostly for our own needs, then let us each love our neighbour that way, and lift them before the Lord.
Perhaps it just isn’t possible for you to prayer walk right now, and that’s ok. If you can, pray at home for those living near you, as that will be beneficial too.
Finally, if you live in the UK, don’t forget your raincoat!