Tag Archives: prayer

Sleeping Beauty

You know the story – The beautiful princess wandered idly through the castle and then pricked her finger on a poisoned spinning wheel. The poison had been intended to kill her, but the protection of the Good Fairy’s spell saved her – she could not die, but she did fall asleep – for a very very long time…

Sometimes you see something like this happen to the faith of someone dear to you.  They get touched by some kind of poison, perhaps disappointment, or hurt or rejection or grief or pain, and it sends them deep into a kind of spiritual sleep.

Often the spinning wheel they pricked their finger on was the church itself- something that someone did, or said, or didn’t say or didn’t do. And when someone feels let down by God or his people, it can cause them to withdraw, carrying their injured heart to the safety of the highest tower of the castle, to bolt all the doors and to allow the forest to grow around.

Of course the castle that made you feel safe for a while can become your prison, and after a few months or years of letting the dust settle and the forest grow it might seem impossible that anyone could ever reach you again.  Isolation from the people of God isn’t actually all that good for us, much less turning our face away from God himself.

I’m not one for reading the last chapter of a book before you’ve read the rest, but in this case it’s good to know the end of the story:

Even after 100 years of growing thorns and gathering dust, a Prince comes.

Not only does he have the means to cut through the thorns and brambles, but also the will and determination to do it.  Love compels Him. The Prince is able to make it through to the highest room in the tallest tower, or wherever else the princess has gone to hide, and stands on the threshold, waiting to be invited in.

And this is the point where the story in my head strays away from the one in the movie.

For the Prince of Peace waits on the threshold for an invitation.  He is ready to come and breathe new life into the soul of the one who has been sleeping, to heal the old injury that led to their hibernation, but he seems to wait to be asked.

If you hear something of yourself in this story, today is a good day to respond…

If you wonder how God could ever find you again through the doors you’ve locked and forest you’ve allowed to flourish, know that He can.  He already has.  He is just outside the door, waiting to hear you whisper his name.

If you are frightened by the thought of trusting, of trying to belong, of being hurt again, I understand.  But the people of God need you, and you need them. It may take enormous courage, but it’s time, and you will have a Prince by your side.

Perhaps you have watched as someone you love has withdrawn from faith.  Keep praying my friend.  The pilot light is probably still lit, and just one breath from God can make their Spirit roar into life again.  Until then, your friendship is a gift in itself.



Doppleganger prayer

Ever meet someone who strongly reminds you of someone else? I often see a girl walking around our neighbourhood who from a distance could be my eldest daughter. Same height and build, same long curly hair, same hipster glasses and same taste in clothes.

Seeing her again this week reminded me of a teaching on prayer that I heard in my twenties. It was simply that when you saw someone familiar or a car like the one they drive, and had that moment of ‘recognition’, you should pray for whoever you were reminded of.

Simple enough. And yet God has often used this powerfully in my prayer life. I have prayed for people when meeting their double, or even hearing ‘their voice’ on the radio, and found out, sometimes weeks later, that they had been in particular need at that time.

This postcard isn’t really to promote ‘Doppelgänger prayer’ as a particular method, although it is pretty cool, but mostly to say that God has so much to say to you and not only in the ways you’re already used to hearing him.

God will often speak in whatever language we’re listening in.

Of course, it is important to weigh up whatever you think you hear against the truth of his Word. But hearing starts with listening, and God speaks to his people in many wonderful creative ways.

I’m wondering what new ways of hearing God wants me to find and delight in this summer. I hope you find some too.

Three Bears’ Prayers

I was in a prayer meeting one morning last week with a few other Mums from the girls’ school.  We pray for a lot of different things in that meeting, from strength for the teachers to protection from illness to air conditioners lasting for one more season. But at this point we’d been talking about how hard the middle school years can be and were praying together especially for the christian kids in year 7, 8 and 9.

A prayer was forming in my head along the lines of the kids surviving those years with their faith intact when next to me my friend Shannon started praying for something altogether bigger and more beautiful.  She prayed that each of those kids would grow to have their sense of identity, of self, so grounded in their identity in Christ that they would be immune to the pressure to be anyone or anything else.   Wow! Even as I write it again I can feel my faith stretching.  How great would that be?

As I sat there in the prayer meeting and felt my faith grow and expand to fit the bigger vision of Shannon’s prayer I thought to myself, ‘we just went up a size’.

It felt as if Shannon had prayed a big brother prayer to the one in my head.  Not one that was more important, but one that stretched my faith to the next size up.

And just in that moment, this postcard popped into my head, with the words:

‘Now go for the Daddy Bear Prayer’.

For once, I understood exactly what God was saying to me – Baby Bear has a little bowl, a little chair and a little bed; Mummy Bear’s things are middle-sized; but Daddy Bear’s bowl is huge, his chair is huge and his bed is huge – so, a Daddy Bear prayer must be huge.

Sometimes we need to get hold of our faith and pull at it until it fits something bigger.  Fortunately, faith is stretchy and it grows when it’s under tension like skin for a skin-graft.  So I asked myself, ‘what would be a huge, faith-stretching prayer to pray for our year 7-9s look like?

So, I let my faith spread out a bit and I prayed that they would be not only protected, with their identity rooted in Christ, but that they would become equipped and empassioned for mission, transforming the culture they live in, seeing their friends and teachers come to faith, changing their world. Not individual beaten-up survivors but a strong united victorious army.

Now that, for our little beleaguered bunch of Christian kids, is a faith-expanding prayer… I’m so going to keep on praying it.

The point of this postcard wasn’t to get you to pray for middle-schoolers (although please do, they need all they can get, bless them), but to ask you, ‘What are the three bears prayers for your situation?’

What’s the little prayer that is easiest to pray?

What’s the medium sized prayer that stretches out your faith?

And what’s the massive Daddy-Bear-Prayer that your faith only covers a corner of, but which puts it under the tension it needs to spread out and grow?

Write them down now, then get out your faith, give it a stretch and pray some big prayers into your situation, and into others’ situations.

Let’s release a volley of Daddy-Bear-prayers and see what our faithful God might do.

Pray First

Have you ever tried cutting fabric with children’s paper scissors?  Or worse still with plastic-blade safety scissors? Actually – why would you ever choose to make life that difficult?

If you do try – it’s just possible that it can be done, but with short blunt blades it’s likely to be time consuming, difficult and very frustrating.  And those short blades will mean you can only take short snips (or hacks!) so chances are your line will end up ragged and wonky. It will be hard work and take ages.

What a difference it makes to use my special dressmaking scissors (woe betide any child who ‘borrows’ them to cut paper!).  These are the tool for the job – large, sharp-as-can-be and heavy enough to take some of the hard work out of cutting even thick fabrics.  If you had the choice, you’d never go back to the plastic version. These beauties can eat fabric for breakfast.

The picture for this week is really simple.  I felt God say to me that every job I do without taking time to pray first is like trying to cut fabric with paper scissors.  Sometimes they will be enough, and I can struggle through alone. I might not do a brilliant job, but it will be OK.  Sometimes, however, it will be all but impossible. I will give up frustrated and exhausted by the task.

But if I askthe Holy Spirit can transform my ‘enough’, my little scissors, into dressmakers shears that can cut easily, fluidly and well.  Prayer makes that kind of difference: It can make the difficult easy and the impossible achievable.

I can keep going (with my little paper scissors) and face every challenge all by myself, but…

…why would I choose to make my life that difficult?

So there are only two words written on the back of this particular postcard.

They’re transforming my week.

I hope they transform yours too.

“Pray First”


Running on empty?

This is my fuel gauge this morning. I’m not actually sure how far I can drive with the fuel light flashing, but I do seem to test it quite regularly…

Stupid, because I really don’t want to run out of fuel in the middle of a dusty nowhere or worse, a noisy junction… But there are some jobs that you just keep putting off until ‘there’s time to do them’.

It was what happened next that ‘winked at me’ though, (in the way that things do sometimes when God wants to tell me something through them).   Although the little light had been flashing angrily at me all the way to school and back early this morning,  when I got back into the car after leaving it for five minutes sitting on the driveway the needle was back up to nearly a quarter full and the accusing light had gone out again!

I know why of course –  the driveway slopes. It happens all the time, the slight incline pushes fuel into the tank at the back of the car and gives a false reading. It looks like I have plenty of petrol to make it to pick up the girls and back, but probably I haven’t.  Fortunately, on this occasion I’ve been paying attention, so I know that the truth is that I’m down to fumes and need to go to fill up.

What I feel like God has been saying to me today is that there are things in our life that can give us a ‘false reading’ about where we are in our relationship with Him.  Ministry and busyness especially can keep the gauge reading high, when actually the tanks are running empty.  How many of us have found ourselves running dry in the middle of serving the Lord?  The answer of course can’t be to just give up being busy, or give up doing ministry (The church would suddenly become a lot less effective if we all did that!) But we perhaps need to accept that those things can leave us with a malfunctioning ‘fuel gauge’…

When I was a student I had a car which had a completely broken fuel gauge (amongst other complaints).  Until it was fixed the only way to keep it running was to choose to top it up every other day!  I wonder if for similar reasons that it’s necessary for us to keep coming back to Jesus for a top-up of his forgiveness, grace, love and Spirit as often as we can.  I’ve sometimes rebelled against the ‘daily quiet time’ idea as it seemed like legalism, and although I don’t think the time of day matters and believe that some people hear God better outdoors, or indoors, or in a church, or in silence, or with music on… I have realised that finding a way and a time to meet with God EVERY SINGLE DAY, although it isn’t a rule, is just really sensible advice.

Great journeys are made of little steps.. So here are mine.  Today on the way to pick up the girls from school I will leave the house early enough so that a) I can stop at the garage and get some fuel  and  b) I can sit in the park next to the school with my Bible for 20 minutes and chat to (and listen to) Jesus.

What about you?

Fuel Gauge Feat



“Have you seen my phone?”… A lesson in listening

This is my phone…    It’s set to silent…    I’ve lost it.

This happens to me way too often.  I’m actually pretty good at remembering to set my phone to silent for church meetings, school music recitals etc. But I never remember to turn it back onto loud again afterwards.  If I want to be able to hear it above the background music of my world (guitars, computer games, disney channel, noisy five-year old) then I have to leave it set to what the kids call ‘old lady loud’.  But once again, I’ve forgotten and I’ve put it down ‘somewhere’.  Argh.

In a moment, when I’ve finished writing this, I’m going to go on a hunt for it.  But first I’ll go round and turn off everything that makes a noise:  Youtube, the water cooler, the extractor hood, the tinkerbell movie that Katie is watching and anything else I can think of.  Then I’ll confiscate my son’s guitar and beg everyone to be quiet, just for five minutes, so that I can HEAR.

And then I’ll call my phone from the landline and walk slowly around the house straining to hear any slight sound of my phone vibrating in it’s hiding place.  And if I begin to hear it I’ll hone in my search to one room until I eventually find it.. down the side of the sofa or in a  pocket or on a shelf (or in the toybox.)

So for five or ten minutes of my day because I really want to hear something I will listen for it – really listen.

I’m really hoping that some of you who read this will be thinking “yes, I’ve done that” because it will really help you to get what I think God has to say to us today..

When I lose my silent phone I make space to listen for a barely audible whisper.  I consciously turn off the noise that would interfere with my ability to hear and I listen hard.  And the last time this happened, I heard God say,

“I want you to listen for my voice like that”

So I’m thinking about blocking off some time in my diary, just for listening to God.  For me, turning off noise has to mean not being in the house (where there are a million jobs shouting at me that they need to be done).  So I’ll go for a walk somewhere quiet.  For you it might mean the last ten minutes of the day, or sneaking somewhere at lunchtime, or locking yourself in the bathroom…

But will you find a way to make some space,  take some time, turn off some noise so that you can hear the still small voice of God this week? Who knows what things He has to say to you?  Who knows what revelation He is longing to share with you; who knows what part of His word He wants to bring to life for you; who knows what comfort or encouragement He wants to bring to your heart?

I don’t… but I bet it’s worth you finding out.



Still small voice
On the edge of my hearing
help me to still my noisy soul

Still small voice
constantly calling
spill your milk and honey out
over my heart

reflect white


The challenge for this week is to spend some time listening to God’s voice and write down what you hear him say…  for those new to listening for the voice of God there are some starting guidelines here.



Fast cars and a plastic ballerina

What do an Aston Martin and a plastic ballerina have in common?  Well…

This week I was reading again that one of the keys to experiencing the presence of God in our lives is to be hungry for him.  And a big part of me said. “Yes, yes, yes” but a small but significant part of me said “But, I’m soooo tired, I just don’t have the energy to get more hungry.”

And then God reminded me about the plastic ballerina and the Aston Martin…

Continue reading Fast cars and a plastic ballerina