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Judy Leage

Healing Prayer

By Judy Leage

Peace not turmoil
Healing not sickness
Health not disease
Wholeness in place of brokenness
Oh Lord restore our souls

Comfort in mourning
Joy in place of sorrow
Laughter not tears
Abundant life not death
Oh Lord restore our souls

Trust in God and not control
Humility in place of pride
Letting go not holding on
Resting not striving
Oh Lord restore our souls

Family instead of no family
Friends instead of no friends
Hope in place of hopelessness
Plans and future instead empty blankness
Oh Lord restore our souls

Serving not self pity
Thankfulness not ingratitude
Giving not taking
Generosity in place of greed
Oh Lord restore our souls

Integrity and truth not lies
Blessing for others not envy
Forgiveness replacing guilt
Gods affirmation not condemnation
Oh Lord restore our souls

Lightness not heaviness
Beauty for ashes
Fear of God not fear of man
You God not us
Oh Lord restore our souls

Faith not Fear
Faith not Fear
Faith not Fear
Victory not defeat
Oh Lord restore our souls

Topics: Prayer
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Katie Fry

Sovereign Over Us

By Katie Fry

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“In all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28)

Amazing promises, aren’t they? And well known, too. You might have found yourself hanging onto them during a difficult period of your life, savouring them, and leaning on them for comfort and support when everything else seems uncertain. The more I see of how God works in our lives, and the more I learn of the Bible, the more I see what an unbelievably powerful gift God’s promises are.

We’ve just started learning a new song at Holland Road called Sovereign Over Us, by Aaron Keyes, which is just dripping with the promises of God. It’s an incredibly powerful song: a reminder to ourselves and to others that even in the difficult seasons of our lives, God is faithful, God is with us, and God is sovereign.

It’s a song I shared with my mum while she was undergoing cancer treatment recently, and she said the words were spot on. I think the verse that really stayed with both of us was: “You are working in our waiting/Sanctifying us/When beyond our understanding/You’re teaching us to trust.”

Waiting is often a big part of our struggles, as in our impatience we strain for answers, for solutions. It was definitely part of my mum’s story as she waited for results again and again. And yet this verse is a powerful reminder that God is at work even in those times. In those difficult situations, yes, but more importantly in the work of transforming us to be more like Him. So often, when we look back it is during the hard times that we see God most at work in our lives, and see the most change and growth in ourselves. And so He is teaching us in those times to trust Him. He’s in control. He can see the bigger picture, even when we can’t, and are lost and confused.

As it says in another well-known scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). As the song goes on, every line is firmly grounded in Scripture: each promise a powerful weapon to wield in the face of difficulty.

Take the chorus: Your plans are still to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11) You’ve not forgotten us (Hebrews 13:5) You’re with us in the fire and the flood (Isaiah 43:2) Faithful forever perfect in love (Psalm 146:6/1 John 4:9-10) You are sovereign over us (Isaiah 46:9-10).

And then comes the bridge, which blows me away every time. A powerful declaration of the promise in Romans 8:28, that God works all things for the good of those who love Him. “Even what the enemy means for evil/You turn it for our good/And for Your glory/Even in the valley You are faithful/You’re working for our good/And for Your glory”

It’s a rewording of Joseph’s words to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, after they sold him into slavery but he ended up Prime Minister of Egypt, saving the population from famine in the process: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” And of course, the ‘valley’ imagery reminds us of Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

I saw the truth of these promises in my mum’s journey. God’s work in her life is amazing, and many times over the last few months I’ve had this song on, belting out the chorus over the washing up, marvelling at God’s love and grace and sovereignty. So I hope this song will be a blessing to you too, whether you’re currently in a valley or on a mountaintop. Because in every season of our lives God is working, God is changing us, and God is Sovereign Over Us.

 

 

Topics: Prayer
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Sam Croucher

Prayer Matters

By Sam Croucher

I worked for a newspaper for ten years but was always desperate to have children. When I had my first daughter, Charlotte, I prayed, “Lord if you will let me stay home and look after her, I will help others and look after their children”.

God did answer my prayer and I didn’t work outside the home for 5 years! Things were very tight but thanks to parents stepping in when appliances broke down and little church weekends away which made us feel as if we had been on holiday, we managed. After the birth of our second daughter, Steff, we were fast outgrowing our little two bed flat, and Sean Avard helped us sell it. We didn’t have to wait long: the first person bought it! That was such an answer to prayer as we prayed we would be patient and not put it on the market too soon, to save us the heartache of having it on the market for a long time.

A leap of faith

We bought a little house in Southwick, which was another leap of faith as we had no idea how to pay for it.  It was very exciting, as it was the first time we had a garden! I actually wanted a different house in Portslade but my husband Dave was adamant this was the right one, and I felt God’s leading that it was right to trust him in this.  (It was so right, it’s a beautiful area with lots of friends and we did end up moving 6 years later, but only two roads away and a year after our third child Jon had been born.)

My friend Jackie suggested I try childminding: this was such an answer to prayer and helped pay the mortgage, and the girls always had someone to play with (when they weren’t arguing with them!). I ended up caring part-time for 35 children, which was a real blessing – especially when I was broody for a third! We are still in touch with quite a few of those families.

Now is the time to look into the distance!

We have always found finances to be tight but it really keeps you reliant upon God. I had the idea of adding two rooms in the roof which enabled us to host language students all year round. At the end of 2011 I started to wonder if I should still be childminding.  It was getting difficult to go to important meetings at our teenagers’ schools with small children in tow.  Then a friend sent a postcard saying that when she had been cycling along the seafront she felt God told her to tell me, “When you are cycling you can look at the path straight ahead or into the distance. You have been looking at the path straight ahead, now is the time to look into the distance!” She felt this message was for me and didn’t know if it meant anything!

I never do anything suddenly…

Whether to continue childminding was a very hard decision to make, as I don’t like letting people down and my decision affected other peoples’ lives. Then I really prayed for guidance and opened my daily reading and the title was, ‘Today could be your day for a suddenly’.  I never do anything ‘suddenly’: I usually plan, so this really helped me make that hard decision to give up. Many of the children were leaving me to go to school and the one family left thankfully found another good childminder locally!

Now is the time to look into the distance!

In the time it took to get another job, the money from the students was invaluable.  I was able to try quite a few voluntary things including the Basics Bank, which I still do one day a week and really love.  However, six months after giving up work, I still had no direction and I sat and prayed and cried. Then at Christmas a cousin told me of a job going at the Royal Sussex County Hospital as a  ‘Maternity Care Assistant’. My daily readings were so encouraging and by the time I applied for the job I was really trusting in God and very peaceful and hopeful that I might get it. Seventy people went for two jobs and I was offered one of them! I’m amazed how many times God uses others to bless us – I thought it was supposed to be the other way around! I ended up with a job I didn’t know existed!

I sat, and prayed, and cried

God has been so faithful. I have found it to be quite a fulfilling job. It’s not the end of the story, as recently I haven’t had many shifts because the job is ‘bank’, so I am finding out if I can do more training and maybe move into different departments where there are more hours available. It’s so amazing that when we trust Jesus as our saviour He guides and cares for us now, not just when we get to heaven. How quickly we forget that everything we have comes from Him! Remember, ‘Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God‘ and also, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?‘ If you’re in that place of desperation or confusion, keep trusting: He won’t let you down and He will give you the grace you need for each step to keep trusting!

Topics: Prayer
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