Praying for Venezuela

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You will have been keeping up to date with the exceptionally tense situatuon in Venezuela, where so many are longing to come out from underneath the yoke of the President who has ruined the country financially.

I saw a woman relating that a box of eggs cost 4,500 bolivars one day and 10,000 the next. That is the devastating consequences of hyper inflation that is running at well over 1,000,000%.

Pray for the grace of God to touch Venezuela: its people, politics, and food and medical supplies regime – but don’t forget to pray for Colombia, too.

This article from the BBC website is a useful starter.

The world’s attention is focusing on the standoff at the Cucuta bridge, but this article focuses on the Simón Bolívar bridge and provides further insight into life on the Venezuelan border.

According to the chart at the end of that article, Columbia accepted a million escapees from Venezuela in 2018 alone, which is placing an unprecedented strain on a nation still seeking to recover from its own deep troubles. Peru took half a million too, and the US, Ecuador, and Spain all taking over 200,000 each.

Simon Reeve presented an encouraging documentrary on BBC on the transformation that has come to many Columbian cities, and the progress that is being made against the drug cartels, but he highlighted that present gains should not be taken for granted.

What he did not relate, of course, is the immense spiritual effort that lies behind this transformation. We are talking about evangelism and revival of a kind throughout South America that far exceeds anything known before, from an estimated 10,000 Pentecostals in the year 1900 to 200+ million today. This doesn’t make anything perfect but it is massively encouraging.

Sustained Revival Ignites Holy Ghost Transformation in Latin America

Passion and Compassion in Jesus life and ministry

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I love the the way that passion, compassion and righteous indignation flow together in the outworking of Jesus’ life and ministry. This article explores some of these aspects of the Lord’s heart, with a view to enabling our own world view, prayers, giving and actions to be the more closely aligned to His. Continue reading

Zimbabwe needs our prayers

Once again, Zimbabwe is in urgent need of prayer. With unemployment at around 90%, human rights lawyers are saying report that things are as bad now as they were under the rule of Robert Mugabe. The brutal and systematic beatings that have been being meted out to men and boys in Harare and Bulawayo, the second city, are both horrifying and unjustifiable. This is so sad – especially in a country where something like 85% of the nation would call itself Christian, and which is blessed with such exceptional natural resources.

Pray for journalists!

You will probably be up to date with the situation there, but the following links provide fuller details to draw us into the suffering the people are going through in Zimbabwe and provide many pointers for prayer.

Reading these accounts is a poignant reminder of just how important the role of journalists is. What would we in the West know of all this were it not for people like John Sparks, the Africa correspondent for Sky news, courageously reporting on what he is witnessing? (You will remember that the BBC was barred for many years from reporting in Zimbabwe) We are rightly grieved when the press gets details wrong, let alone when editors deliberately slant the news to match their bias – but how grateful we can be for fair and honest reporting. We so need it, both to hold people to account and to round up prayer!

Troops return to Zimbabwe’s streets with avengeance

Church leaders call on government to restore the rule of law as brutal crack down continues

Emmerson Mnangagwa returns to Zimbabwe as unrest continues

See also this report by Reuters hZimbabwe army says bogus soldiers are behind the beatings.

Zimbabwe daylight beatings instil public fear in lawless country.

Who is the crocodile Emmerson Mnangagwa

The prayer for Zimbabwe we recorded and set to music a little over a year ago.

Praying for Zimbabwe

Remember the principle we have often shared, and, as a ‘way in’ to praying for ‘wider’ topics, start by focusing on one or two people or situations, and taking them as being ‘representative’ of a profession, community or even nation. For some this may be for the children caught up in the awfulness. Or perhaps you will be drawn to pray for an individual in one of the photos, or his mother, or the policeman beating him. Ask the Lord to draw your attention to the ones He wants to lay on your heart, and then allow Him to lead you on from there.

As our heart cry of many rise up before the King of Kings for this beautiful land, may He rescue it from the tyranny, economic paralysis and international isolationism that it has descended into and fulfil its God given role.

And how the Lord feels about these things

Mark 1:41 How the Gospel of Mark reveals how Jesus feels about many situations that reflect the Fall

Prayer in the Making by Lyndall Bywater

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It is rare to come across a book that so successfully inspiries and encourages both those who are new to the faith and those who have been walking with the Lord for many years. The twelve themes that Lyndall introduces – Encounter, Worship, Listening, Stillness, Action, Intercession, Strategies, Restoration, Voice and body, Scripture, Warfare and Resilience – lead the reader almost without them noticing into the presence of God and to help them find new ways to develop their prayer life and make each theme and concept their own.

The stories Lyndall tells of significant moments in her life are both relevant and impactful, as are the delightful retelling of Scripture passages, which pinpoint how the power of prayer was at work in each one. Taken together they provide a platform and a launch pad for the reader to go as deep with the Lord as they want and are able – a process greatly helped by making good use of the threefold invitation at the end of each section: Trying it, Talking it and Sustaining it.

Above all, Lyndall reminds us that prayer is action, which in turn leads to further action. These are truths to dwell on and to make our own, first in our hearts and then in our whole walk with the Lord.

You can hardly fail to be blessed and refreshed by the reflections of this woman of God who I was privileged to get to know well during our sojourn in Canterbury.

This page on her website says a little more about why he wrote it, as well as details of where to obtain it.

 

The Artist’s Brush

Drawing for inspiration on a children’s poem by Amy Carmichael on the secret things belonging to God, the concept of being ourselves a ‘brush’ that the Lord uses to paint His purposes, and a timely reminder that in any relationship – especially those where there is any degree of misunderstanding – the Lord is always at work at both ends, enjoy this celebration of ‘The Artist’s Brush’ piece that Ros, Elizabeth and I share with you.

You can also listen separately here to the music that you hear in The Artist’s Brush: Mendelssohn’s Gondola Song played by James Horsfall and Rolling Waves: An Improvisation by Andrew Whettam.

 

What might Hezekiah’s Jerusalem have to say to the Brexit process today?

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What has Isaiah 22 to say to our situation today?

Someone we know and trust had a picture a couple of months ago in relation to Brexit of a series of rocket launchers that appeared to be primed and ready to fire, but which the Lord allowed ‘to jam up.’ (It came with a sense that it was not going to prove easy to unjam the launchers either!) We are indeed in a phase of needing to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the Lord, and to seek Him to do what is very best for the country for the years ahead. Continue reading

The Woodcutter’s Story and the Call to intensify our Prayer Life

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Imagine a man who is labouring to fell a tree, the sweat pouring from their brow – but who succeeds only in bruising the bark. When a more experienced logger comes along and asks: “Why don’t you sharpen your axe. It’ll be much easier!” the person replies, “Nah, I haven’t time. I’ve got to get this done. I’m much too busy to stop.” Er . . .!!!

Some of us can be a bit like the inexperienced tree-cutter pounding away trying to ‘hack’ our way through to God with specific prayers concerning something that is troubling us but without waiting to see how He would have us pray.

There is no question but that many situations require intensive prayer. Jesus encourages us to ask seek and knock.  Think back to times when you have as it were shifted gear and seen things change as a result, as the burden moves from head to heart.

With regard to the situation that Hezekiah’s Jerusalem faced, what the Lord was looking for was neither a resigned nor a riotous partying, and the band ‘playing on’, but rather a profound willingness to weep and mourn and for each one to find whatever way works best for them person to ‘intensify’ their prayer life. (Is. 22:12) Such things hardly appeal to the flesh, but to fast weep and mourn and to ‘put on sackcloth’ is actually our responsibility as well as our privilege – especially when we consider on the one hand the sheer extent of our waywardness as a nation (or of some person or situation that we are concerned about) on the one hand, and the longing of the Lord on the other.

You may find it helpful to reread the following articles I have written which highlight how precious it is to the Lord when we are prepared to pour out our heart in such ways:

1) Lot’s Syndrome
2) Intensifying our prayer life
3) Why fasting is such a powerful and God given means for intensifying our prayer life.
4) The chapter A Heart of Mourning from Ravens and the Prophet.
5) A simple way to move from local to wider prayer.

Praying for France . . .

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It can only be a good thing when Christians on this side of the Channel join with their brothers and sisters in the French speaking world and lift France to the Lord in prayer, as opposed to merely looking on it as a holiday destination!. Recent media perspective on events across the Channel tends to be rather narrowly defined by news filtering through from the journalists who take up residence beside the Arc de Triomphe, with little or no information on what is happening around the rest of the country. The fact is that, with the widespread protests of the so-called ‘gilets jaune,’ France finds itself in a distinctly uncomfortable situation. Friends who live outside Paris have spoken of widespread disruption – to say nothing of very low morale in the police force, overstretched as they have been in recent months.[i]

A ‘People’s Revolution??’

Continue reading

Marching bravely into the coming year

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As we set our faces to ‘march’ into this coming year,
we start by thanking You, Lord Jesus,
for each venture and adventure
that You have led us to:
those that are now complete and those that are under way.
Let each one unfold and evolve
as we devote both time and thought:
our hearts a furnace of love.

Thank You . . .
For the incredible love and care that You have invested
in shaping and moulding us according to Your purposes.
We place the very circumstances that You have set us in
afresh into Your hands.

Have mercy . . .
Where we have fallen short in reflecting Your likeness
and let You and others down in thought and word and deed.
Forgive all tardiness in making You our focus,
or in extending our forgiveness
to those who have hurt or harmed us along the way.
Replace our littleness of mind and faith
with greater courage, trust and kinder ways.

Keep us, Lord . . .
From thoughts that taunt and daunt,
and in the midst of every threat and pitfall
and every peril that tests our mettle,
grant grace and provision to bear it well,
making up each shortfall to fulfil Your purposes.

Bless . . .
Each hope we hold within our hearts,
Each person, place or nation for whom we care
and for which You summon us to pray.

So as we journey on from day to day
and one adventure to another,
may we be faithful in seeking You,
and find delight in knowing
that You Yourself take pleasure
in each offering that we bring.

Always Near

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Always Near by Carol Sampson – a really lovely CD:

We would like to encourage you to consider purchasing this really special compilation of 15 of Carol Sampson’s songs, which she has recorded with us over the last few years. Carol is unique! In addition to being the worship leader of one of the churches here in Malvern, she was nominated BBC Hereford and Worcester Artist of the week recently. She regularly plays gigs in pubs and ministers in care homes; this latter is something Corinne (cellist) also does, so it is fitting that she features amongst the musicians playing on this CD with Carol.

Carol is donating all the proceeds from the sale of this CD to charity.
Purchase here at Just Giving.