Boiler Room 40 Days Week 6 Business, integrity and innovation

Morning Prayer

Breathing in Gratitude and Thanksgiving

We start with a declaration of our dependence on God’s presence personally and as a community.

Exodus 33: 15-16

‘Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”’ (MSG)

‘Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”’ (NKJV)

You might want to try and reword these verses into a prayer that expresses your own dependence on God’s presence and leading in your life, or you could just pray through them as they are. Take time each day to notice which particular word impacts you the most and then hold that word consciously throughout the day.

Reflect upon the journey your life has taken, and the knowledge that God has walked every step with you, on the mountains and in the valleys, give thanks for his faithfulness

Our focus this week is business, integrity and innovation. Think of two contrasting Businesses, one a local small service you use that benefits the immediate community and the other a large corporation that includes issues of integrity and ethical practice as part of its business strategy. You may know of one or need to do some searching. Give thanks for these businesses and their values.

Give thanks for business entrepreneurs who don’t just use their abilities to accumulate personal wealth but use them for the betterment of the wider community and society.

Pray for those young people who are innovators looking to start businesses, companies and NGO’s that have a particular focus on finding solutions to the environmental issues affecting the planet, and the global problems that have been created by companies and corporations that have exploited the earth’s resources and destroyed habitats.

Think about writing to or emailing companies that you are aware of that support charities or local initiatives and thank them for their investment in your community.

Evening Prayer

Breathing out Praying Blessing

Pray a blessing on those who are working hard to keep businesses profitable, providing employment and services that benefit the community through the work they do and the way they steward their resources.

Pray blessing on those businesses we use in everyday life. Speak blessing over new businesses that are starting up in our communities. Think of a building in your local area which is currently empty. Start to imagine what kind of business is really needed in your community and start to pray for that space to be filled with such a company.

Pray blessing on those who, as a result of companies failing, find themselves without work and potentially struggling to feed their families and pay their bills. Think about an individual or family you might know who are in such a situation and think about how you might bless them with a food parcel or gift, or make a donation to the local foodbank. Let our blessing be action as well as words.

Closing Prayer:

Almighty God our Father, we come in humility to meet you in your majesty.

In Jesus, we stand confident in our heavenly status as members of your family,

By your Holy Spirit, teach us how to stand in the gap for this region:

May our communities be places where people always feel at home;

May our streets be blessed with the peace that surpasses understanding;

May the warmth of your love reach those who feel they are on the fringes of society.

Transform our city – touch her cold stones with your breath and bring her heart to life again,

Show us how to help her step out from behind her ‘tough girl’ exterior and truly be herself.

And as we too set our hearts to become the people you made us to be,

May your light glow within us and your glory radiate from us

In Jesus name, amen.

Boiler Room 40 Days Week 5 Transport, emergency services and security

Morning Prayer

Breathing in Gratitude and Thanksgiving

We start with a declaration of our dependence on God’s presence personally and as a community.

Exodus 33: 15-16
‘Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”’ (MSG)

‘Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”’ (NKJV)

You might want to try and reword these verses into a prayer that expresses your own dependence on God’s presence and leading in your life, or you could just pray through them as they are. Take time each day to notice which particular word impacts you the most and then hold that word consciously throughout the day.
Reflect upon the journey your life has taken, and the knowledge that God has walked every step with you, on the mountains and in the valleys, give thanks for his faithfulness

Some of you will have noticed the themes of these weeks are taken from our prayer cards which focus on a walk around the city walls, stopping at the various “gates” to pray and speak blessing into these areas of our city, region and community. If you are in the city in the next few weeks, pick up a prayer card from cityspace or use the one we will upload to the website, and take some time to walk all or part of the city walls to pray.

Start by giving thanks for those people who often find themselves in the most demanding and at times dangerous situations with the sole purpose of keeping us safe and well. Think about those you might know who work for the Police, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, Lifeboat service or coastguards. Maybe scan the news and note a couple of current stories where these services have been called into action. Give thanks for the bravery and courage of those involved in those situations.

Look to practice kindness and gratitude this week as you travel around, taking time to thank bus drivers when you get off a bus or platform staff at stations. If you drive, look to be courteous to other drivers and be ware of the ease in which a stressful car journey can cause you to become tense or wound up. In those moments when you are stuck in a queue or at a level crossing, take a moment to notice what’s going on around you and give thanks for those things you see: maybe a bird, a resilient flower growing in an urban environment, a friendly face …  and allow that stress to ease.

Evening Prayer

Breathing out Praying Blessing

Pray a blessing on those who work for the border forces, who are often faced with difficult challenges, and who’s vigilance keeps us safe, with so much of their work going unreported.

Pray blessing on the emergency services, that at a time when resources are limited they will get what they need to carry out their responsibilities safely and effectively.

Pray for wisdom for those at both a national and local level who set the budgets for these services and for those within the services themselves who then allocate where those resources are directed.

Closing Prayer:

Almighty God our Father, we come in humility to meet you in your majesty.
In Jesus, we stand confident in our heavenly status as members of your family,
By your Holy Spirit, teach us how to stand in the gap for this region:
May our communities be places where people always feel at home;
May our streets be blessed with the peace that surpasses understanding;
May the warmth of your love reach those who feel they are on the fringes of society.
Transform our city – touch her cold stones with your breath and bring her heart to life again,
Show us how to help her step out from behind her ‘tough girl’ exterior and truly be herself.
And as we too set our hearts to become the people you made us to be,
May your light glow within us and your glory radiate from us
In Jesus name, amen.

Boiler Room 40 Days Week 4 Healthcare, social services and compassion

Morning Prayer

Breathing in Gratitude and Thanksgiving

We start with a declaration of our dependence on God’s presence personally and as a community.

Exodus 33: 15-16
‘Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”’ (MSG)

‘Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”’ (NKJV)

You might want to try and reword these verses into a prayer that expresses your own dependence on God’s presence and leading in your life, or you could just pray through them as they are. Take time each day to notice which particular word impacts you the most and then hold that word consciously throughout the day.
Reflect upon the journey your life has taken, and the knowledge that God has walked every step with you, on the mountains and in the valleys, give thanks for his faithfulness

Our focus this week is healthcare, social services and compassion. Give thanks to God for one or two specific people you know who work in this area, often with immense time pressures, responsibilities and limited resources. Thank God for their willingness and ability to show love and compassion to those who society often ignores or judges unworthy.
Think about taking a moment to express to those you have prayed for your appreciation of the work they do that often goes unnoticed. Your words of appreciation could make the difference in a demanding day or week where they feel unappreciated.

Reflect and give thanks to God, the source of all compassion and mercy, who so often picks us up when we are down, and who sees the unseen. The things we do never go unnoticed with him.

Reflect on a situation in your life where someone showed you compassion and kindness at a time when you really needed to feel it. Give thanks to God for that person and for their actions.

During this week, reflect on the nature of Gratitude, and look to express gratitude each day to God and others around you. Take time to notice.

Evening Prayer

Breathing out Praying Blessing

Speak a blessing over our Health care and social services, that as a society we would value those who are often the most vulnerable, and that the finances and resources needed to provide care and support would be made available.

Pray blessing on those who work in these areas, that they would feel encouraged, supported and valued.

Pray blessing on cityspace as we continue to look to open a door to those who are searching for a home and belonging. Think of one specific area of need and speak a blessing into that area. It may be a specific resource, or something you would like to see happen in the building that isn’t happening at present. Visualise what it would look like and pray for it.

Closing Prayer:

Almighty God our Father, we come in humility to meet you in your majesty.
In Jesus, we stand confident in our heavenly status as members of your family,
By your Holy Spirit, teach us how to stand in the gap for this region:
May our communities be places where people always feel at home;
May our streets be blessed with the peace that surpasses understanding;
May the warmth of your love reach those who feel they are on the fringes of society.
Transform our city – touch her cold stones with your breath and bring her heart to life again,
Show us how to help her step out from behind her ‘tough girl’ exterior and truly be herself.
And as we too set our hearts to become the people you made us to be,
May your light glow within us and your glory radiate from us
In Jesus name, amen.

Boiler Room 40 Days Week 3: Tourism, Entertainment and Fun

Morning Prayer

Breathing in Gratitude and Thanksgiving

We start with a declaration of our dependence on God’s presence personally and as a community.

Exodus 33: 15-16
‘Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”’ (MSG)

‘Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”’ (NKJV)

You might want to try and reword these verses into a prayer that expresses your own dependence on God’s presence and leading in your life, or you could just pray through them as they are. Take time each day to notice which particular word impacts you the most and then hold that word consciously throughout the day.

The focus of this week is wellbeing, recognising the importance of self-care, loving and caring for ourselves the way God cares for us.

Give thanks to God for those things you do in your life that are about “being” – the things you do simply and importantly because they are fun and do you good. Reflect on the family and friends who you share that sense of joy and fun with.
Take time this week to stop and just be: read, write, draw, walk, drink coffee, watch a favourite tv programme or play a game.
Think about a friend who you haven’t seen in a while and contact them, or, if you prefer, find a place where you can spend time by yourself with no feelings of guilt.
Give thanks to God for giving you life and for his desire that you live it to the full. Rediscover what it means to be … spend time with your heavenly father. Take him for a walk, a paddle or a 99 ice cream.

Evening Prayer

Breathing out Praying Blessing

Think about the places where you go for rest: pray blessing on those businesses and organisations, on the people who work or volunteer there. Take time to bless them when you are there next: think of something you could say or do that will be a blessing and will express your appreciation for them.
Think of someone you know who is going through a difficult time and life seems anything but fun to them. Ask God to bless them. Thinking about them now, what one thing would bring joy and a smile to their face? It may not change everything that is going on for them but it maybe just that one thing that breaks the heaviness or gloom they are living in. Be prepared to be the answer to your own prayer.

Closing Prayer:

Almighty God our Father, we come in humility to meet you in your majesty.
In Jesus, we stand confident in our heavenly status as members of your family,
By your Holy Spirit, teach us how to stand in the gap for this region:
May our communities be places where people always feel at home;
May our streets be blessed with the peace that surpasses understanding;
May the warmth of your love reach those who feel they are on the fringes of society.
Transform our city – touch her cold stones with your breath and bring her heart to life again,
Show us how to help her step out from behind her ‘tough girl’ exterior and truly be herself.
And as we too set our hearts to become the people you made us to be,
May your light glow within us and your glory radiate from us
In Jesus name, amen.

Boiler Room 40 Days Week 2: Education and Creativity

Morning Prayer

Breathing in Gratitude and Thanksgiving

We start with a declaration of our dependence on God’s presence personally and as a community.

Exodus 33: 15-16
‘Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”’ (MSG)

‘Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”’ (NKJV)

You might want to try and reword these verses into a prayer that expresses your own dependence on God’s presence and leading in your life, or you could just pray through them as they are. Take time each day to notice which particular word impacts you the most and then hold that word consciously throughout the day.

Give thanks to God for one or two specific people in your life who have helped to shape the person you are, they maybe educators or mentors, but give thanks for the way they have helped to shape and guide your life.

Give thanks for teachers you know and the work they do, they maybe friends or members of communities you are part of, or teach your children or grandchildren.

Create some creative prayers by finding something that speaks to you about what life is like for you at this present time – it maybe something in your home, something you wear or carry with you, or you might need to go out intentionally and find it. Reflect on this object; listen to what God is saying to you through it; and again give thanks for his faithfulness and guidance.

Give thanks for creation and creativity. Take some time to Stop, Look and Listen at the world around you, the noises, colours, smells and textures. Rejoice in the beauty of the creator and his creation.

And if you feel inspired, paint, write, record a sound or take a photo – something that declares the signs of our Creator God – and post it in the Facebook group.

Evening Prayer

Breathing out Praying Blessing

Speak a blessing over one of the schools, colleges or universities that you have a connection with, one which you or a member of your family attended, or one where you regularly see students passing by. Reflect on what that institution might need at this time. Speak a blessing into areas where you know there are difficulties or tensions.

Pray a blessing on those starting at new schools, colleges or university, that they will find friends and a sense of belonging. Pray blessing on those students arriving in Canterbury to start living new lives away from family and friends, particularly for those travelling from other nations, that they will be welcomed and received well.

Think about how you could bless someone that you know who is starting a new learning experience, or even bless a random stranger with a demonstration of kindness: buy their coffee if they are queuing behind you or smile and ask how they are doing. Be creative in your blessings

Closing Prayer:

Almighty God our Father, we come in humility to meet you in your majesty.
In Jesus, we stand confident in our heavenly status as members of your family,
By your Holy Spirit, teach us how to stand in the gap for this region:
May our communities be places where people always feel at home;
May our streets be blessed with the peace that surpasses understanding;
May the warmth of your love reach those who feel they are on the fringes of society.
Transform our city – touch her cold stones with your breath and bring her heart to life again,
Show us how to help her step out from behind her ‘tough girl’ exterior and truly be herself.
And as we too set our hearts to become the people you made us to be,
May your light glow within us and your glory radiate from us
In Jesus name, amen.

Boiler Room 40 Days Week 1: Family and Community

Morning Prayer

Breathing in Gratitude and Thanksgiving

We start with a declaration of our dependence on God’s presence personally and as a community.

Exodus 33: 15-16
‘Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”’ (MSG)

‘Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”’ (NKJV)

You might want to try and reword these verses into a prayer that expresses your own dependence on God’s presence and leading in your life, or you could just pray through them as they are. Take time each day to notice which particular word impacts you the most and then hold that word consciously throughout the day. You could write it down or message it to yourself . You could select a small object which you can carry around with you, so that every time you notice it you remember the word and its meaning to you.

Reflect upon the journey your life has taken, and the knowledge that God has walked every step with you, on the mountains and in the valleys. Give thanks for his faithfulness
Thinking of family and community:
Give thanks to God for one or two specific people in your family or wider community . Reflect on the ways he has used them to bring love, encouragement, support and comfort into your life.
Could you let them know you appreciate them: a simple text message, a card, a small gift or some other expression of gratitude perhaps?
Give thanks to God for family and for a sense of belonging. Give thanks that God places us in families and communities.

 

Evening Prayer

Breathing out Praying Blessing

Words of faith:
Lord, You have always given bread for the coming day;
and though I am poor, today I believe.
Lord, You have always given strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak, today I believe.
Lord, You have always given peace for the coming day;
and though of anxious heart, today I believe.
Lord, You have always kept me safe in trials;
and now, tried as I am, today I believe.
Lord, You have always marked the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden, today I believe.
Lord, You have always lightened this darkness of mine;
and though the night is here, today I believe.
Lord, You have always spoken when time was ripe;
and though you be silent now, today I believe. Amen.
(Liturgy from the Northumbria Community)

Examen
1. Think about today:  reflect on the things that have happened and the people you’ve met.
2. Think about today: what one thing are you most thankful for?
3. Think about today: what one thing have you done that you most regret?
4. Think about tomorrow: what would make tomorrow an even better day than today?
The Lord our God goes with us: The Lord our God will not fail us or abandon us.

Prayer of blessing

Thinking again about your family and wider community:
Pray blessing upon one or two members of that community. Ask God to bless them in specific ways.
Take some time to reflect and think about this person or people:
Where do they need specific blessing in their lives at this time?
How would this blessing express itself? What would it look like and do for them?
Think of someone in the wider Cityspace community, either a regular visitor or someone who hasn’t been in recently but who you remember because of an event or a conversation you had with them. Pray a specific blessing on them. What would you like to see happen in their lives?

Closing Prayer:

Almighty God our Father, we come in humility to meet you in your majesty.
In Jesus, we stand confident in our heavenly status as members of your family,
By your Holy Spirit, teach us how to stand in the gap for this region:
May our communities be places where people always feel at home;
May our streets be blessed with the peace that surpasses understanding;
May the warmth of your love reach those who feel they are on the fringes of society.
Transform our city – touch her cold stones with your breath and bring her heart to life again,
Show us how to help her step out from behind her ‘tough girl’ exterior and truly be herself.
And as we too set our hearts to become the people you made us to be,
May your light glow within us and your glory radiate from us
In Jesus name, amen.

Disability and Healing

I recently contributed to a BBC radio documentary on healing and disability. Here’s a written summary article, and you’ll also find a link in there to listen to the programme. There’ll be a slightly longer version on Radio 4 in a few weeks time.

Oh, and there’s a picture of me driving a sports car through the pearly gates, which has to be worth a look!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48054113#share-tools

Lent Bookclub Part 26: The nub of it all

Chapter 12: Resilience; Part 2: Growing a Relationship

This is the final episode in the podcast series! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing these … almost as much as I enjoyed writing the book … and I hope they’ve been helpful to you.

This last one is me getting to the nub of things. If I could leave you with one lasting thought, it’s the contents of this podcast.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey. May your prayer life grow from strength to strength, and may you always know God loves you, just as you are. If that knowledge sinks deep within you, the whole business of prayer gets a million times easier and more exciting. (That’s not what the podcast says, by the way … that’s just another equally important thing to grasp!)

And to all of you, a very happy Easter!

Lent Bookclub Part 25: Praying the way you’re made

Chapter 12: Resilience; Part 1: Building a Rhythm

If you’ve made it this far through the book then you’ve hopefully tried a fair few different types of prayer by now, and the chances are you’ve found some easier than others, some more enjoyable than others. We can get very focused on how and where we think our prayer lives need to improve, and that’s important, but it’s also important to do the things we love … to do them often and plentifully. The more “enjoyable” prayer things we do, the greater will be our hunger and enthusiasm to set aside time for prayer.

This is the briefest of summaries of my prayer and personality teaching, given primarily to get you reflecting on what your favourite kind of prayer is … the kind that draws you in and gives you life. And of course there’s also the challenge to make time to do some of that kind of prayer this weekend. Maybe you’ll go out for a prayer jog … or maybe it’ll be prayer tucked up in bed with your bible and a hot cross bun … or maybe you’ll use some of your time to pray for every single person on your Facebook friends list … or maybe you’ll get that book off the shelf you’ve been meaning to read for months, go to a coffee shop with a notebook and pen (paper or digital) and read and think, think and scribble.

You get the idea, right?

So … stop by the comments thread and tell us all what kind of prayer you’ll be doing.

For more on prayer and personality, go to the salvation army’s One Thing Prayer School and play Season 1 Session 1, which is me doing a longer version of this teaching.

Www.Salvationarmy.Org.Uk/one-thing

Lent Bookclub Part 24: Essential ingredients for a breakthrough

Chapter 11: Warfare; Part 2: Victory Strategies

The Bible is a book full of battles, which comes in handy when you’re reflecting on battling in prayer. One of the things which most inspires me about the way victories happen in the Bible stories is that God so often does unexpected things with unexpected people in unexpected ways. That heartens me because it means I don’t need to become an impressive warrior or a conventional superhero. I just need to be myself and do my thing.

These are a few thoughts on Gideon, who isn’t in the book (though he is in my last book!). I find his story helpful because he had to make a stand in a rather unconventional way, and his strange battle strategy helps me keep my battle strategies rounded and grounded.

I hope you enjoy thinking about him, and I hope it helps you get your own battles into perspective.