Prayer Changes Things

In May 1940 the allied British, French and Belgian forces numbering some 350,000 troops were cut off and surrounded by the German Army. In a speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill described the events in France as ‘a colossal military disaster’. He advised Parliament that ‘the whole root and core and brain of the British Army’ had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured.

The situation was desperate and, while the British High Command strategized and planned a means for rescuing these troops, King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer. He himself attended a special prayer service at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 26 May. The Archbishop of Canterbury led prayers ‘for our soldiers in dire peril in France’. Up and down the country, and across the British Commonwealth, churches, chapels and synagogues were overcrowded as people turned out in vast numbers to offer up their own prayers.

As a result of those prayers three extraordinary events took place without which the rescue would have been impossible. Firstly for some unknown reason Hitler hesitated, and ordered his advancing armoured divisions to back off. Secondly the skies darkened and a furious storm in Flanders grounded the Luftwaffe. Thirdly a great calm descended on the English Channel which became like millpond. A vast flotilla of boats of all shapes and sizes, including many never designed for crossing the Channel, made their way to France and over the next few days rescued the vast majority of the troops.

The following Sunday the churches were filled once again as the King led a National Day of Thanksgiving for the miraculous rescue that had just taken place. Prayer changes things!

We may not be in a predicament of national peril of the magnitude as was seen 75 years ago, yet many people in our land face seemingly impossible circumstances on a daily basis and don’t know who to turn to. The last weekend in September has been designated as a National Weekend of Prayer and the churches in Hook are joining with hundreds of churches across the UK to pray. We are inviting you, the people in Hook, to let us know what you would like us to pray for on your behalf. You don’t have to be religious, you don’t have to belong to a church, and you don’t even have to give us your name! Simply hand your prayer request in to one of the three churches in Hook during the month of September and over the 3 days 25-27th September we will pray for your situation, confident that Prayer Changes Things.

This blog post featured in the September 2015 edition of Hook Focus

 

How Great is Our God?

There are many worship songs that contain the line ‘How Great is Our God?’ or something similar. Even by itself the line communicates something of God’s majesty and wonder because it is in the form of a rhetorical question. That is, it is a figure of speech in the form of a question asked in order to make a point rather than to elicit an answer. Yet it is a very poignant question that we would do well to answer.

How great is your God?

How you answer that question will dramatically affect your life. It will affect the way you think, the way you speak and the way you act. It will also affect the way that you pray! The greater your view of God, the greater your expectations in prayer. The bigger your God, the bigger your prayers can become.

This was brought home to me again recently when I picked up a book called ‘Praying for Your Elephant’ by Adam Stadtmiller. The book is subtitled ‘Boldly Approaching Jesus with Radical and Audacious Prayer.’ Running through the book is a thread about a time when, as a young youth pastor, Adam and a colleague prayed for God to send their youth group a real, live, full grown elephant. (You will have to read the book to understand why he prayed such a prayer, and how the prayer was wonderfully answered!)

From then on ‘praying for an elephant’ becomes a metaphor for praying for something large and specific. He writes: ‘The boundaries of our personal prayer lives often have less to do with biblical restrictions and more to do with the limitations we place on them.’ In other words – our view of God is too small. The book is an invitation to expand our view of God and our expectations of prayer.

Jesus himself taught us an antidote for a too small God in the prayer he taught us. It begins ‘Our Father in Heaven, Holy is Your name’. Take a few minutes to mediate on each of those 8 words and allow the Holy Spirit to expand your view of God as you fill out the answer to the question, How great is your God?, in your heart.

This blog post featured in the September 2015 edition of Lifelines

Buy Praying for your elephant from Amazon UK
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