landing, pacing and resting

October 30th, 2017

We’ve landed in Nidderdale at the property which will shortly host the Sanctuary’s new, bespoke prayer space… and are starting to feel settled here. Our hearts are very full – we can’t stop thanking and praising God for leading us every step of the way over this last stretch, and for leading us here – to a place of such wonder and beauty right in the heart of Yorkshire.


We’re also very tired after a busy few months ending in one location and packing up two properties in order to move to the new one.

So during November and December, we’ll be taking it gently, making sure we pace ourselves, rest and just enjoy settling in before we start thinking about building plans in the new year. And some of our central collective members will also be taking a well-earned holiday during this time-period too!

But we wanted to let you know we’re safely here, all has gone smoothly, we’re getting settled, we’re so excited about what’s coming… and we’re already being inspired to create here!

Here’s a psalm that bubbled up and overflowed out from Liz yesterday afternoon…

Bright valley is all smiles today –

awoken by the world’s strongest light

to shine back the favour

in glowing gold and green

and burnished brown bronze.

The brooks almost giggle their descent,

as if tickled out of shyness

by creeping warmth

illuminating bracken-scented shade

to shimmer their rush, flow and drop.

Shoals of sky-painters

dip, glide and weave,

brush-stroking broad blue

with passing shapes;

then, as I ascend the fell under them,

shift craft and lead me up

like a troupe of soaring minstrels

– bright pied-pipers by the dozen –

uplit and uplifting.

A distant floating balloon

punctuates blue with red, now white;

what does my below look like from that kind of above?

But I am glad to be on the ground today,

climbing to first flight-heights only.

For here each ordinary thing,

each overlooked scrap

of moss on wall

or grass underfoot

grows jewel-like

as if the land itself was a prayer,

or a hymn – or both.

And it is of course.

I tread the same fields and rocks

as monks and pilgrims.

And I wonder,

is the whole valley dancing anew

to welcome us home

to their ancient glory-scape?

I breathe in deep, fresh joy.

And I quiet.

And I am all smiles too.

praying with Chi Rho

October 9th, 2017

We’ve just published a new creative idea resource, which uses a simple and ancient symbol – the Christogram of Chi Rho (representing the first two letters of ‘Christ’ in Greek) – to pray in a powerful new way for specific individuals… whether they’re public figures, or people known to you personally.

Download this new creative idea for praying for individuals using the ancient Christogram of Chi Rho direct, visit our creative ideas page or browse our whole online resource library to find more outward focused ideas to help you pray for leaders or individuals in challenging or dangerous situations.

creative ideas for praying for leaders

October 4th, 2017

We’ve uploaded a new resource: Creative ideas for praying for leaders and leadership at every level…

Download it direct or visit our outward focused worship resource library to browse for other resources on a similar theme or to view our full range of creative prayer ideas or prayer station sets

freedom is as freedom does

September 28th, 2017

We’ve uploaded a new resource. Freedom is as freedom does is a poem celebrating the kingdom understanding of individual liberty as being inter-connected with others’ worth and flourishing. You can download it as a printable pdf from our articles and poetry page or read it below:


Freedom is as freedom does

I’m still learning freedom is as freedom does;
it’s about the you – as well as the me – contained in us…

Heaven’s maths and kingdom equality are set by the one who is also three,
one who multiplies his connection-reflection in billions more like me.

The West tells me: “live the material gospel of individuality!”
But I cannot be free if I’m bound up in someone else’s slavery.

Consumer culture persuades me “make more to have more to one day be enough”.
But I’ll never find my wings in the service of amassing endless stuff.

It’s not real plenty when it comes at such poverty-sustaining cost.
It’s not seeing the world if others’ homes and habitats get lost.

It’s simply not real life if it clutters my days with distraction
and robs me of time and space with my One True Satisfaction.

So God of freedom, crash through all my self-justifying defences;
help me see better through this matrix and come to my senses.

It was for freedom that you so extravagantly set us free,
not for comfort, but for upward and outward relational liberty.

For I am not just I – I am in you and I am in your body.
So I am less with every threat to – every theft from – our corporately.
But I am more – and I am free – when I surrender to you; utterly.

inherently seasonal

September 27th, 2017

Autumn is all around us, ripe with so many deeper pictures if we look closely. A few days ago, we shared some thoughts inspired by autumn raspberries – this week, several of us have been talking about harvested apples…

On Monday our prayer rhythm’s daily verse was Psalm 39:4: “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” visualised by the brilliant Logos as follows:

It really stuck with us… perhaps especially because Autumn leaves in various states of colouring and falling are all around us now.

And it got us thinking about how seasons (physical and spiritual) work the same way as life – each has a ‘measure’ to its days; every single one, to varying degrees, is ‘fleeting’.

Perhaps one of the ways many of us come unstuck sometimes is when we forget this – when we don’t remember how inherently seasonal things are.

Sometimes when something good comes to an end, we even start questioning whether it should have happened… sometimes when God gives us something new for one season we keep it going long, long beyond its appointed time… and sometimes when something new is given we question whether what was given before it was really good after all.

(Aside: perhaps this may not be so much a failing as another glimpse of how we were made for eternity… although, will there be no seasons in eternity? That’s hard to call…)

And then as we thought about picking all the apples many of us have been growing in our gardens, we realised again how little we – or the apple trees themselves – question whether they definitely were apple trees once they have no fruit in them… or try to hang on to the apples indefinitely, way beyond the next few weeks, just because they’re good to eat now…. or dismiss blossom as pointless now the fruit has come in its place.

Autumn is here, it’s time to rejoice in what’s been grown and harvested – and to use up all its good gifts thankfully, knowing new seasons will bring new growth and new crops and nothing has materially changed; an apple tree is an apple tree is an apple tree…

We responded by worshipping with these beautiful song words from Kristene Di Marco’s song, Jesus, Your Love – you might like to join us:

“So let my heart 
tell you again
when seasons change 
and stories end,
Your steady love
it will sustain
me through it all –
Jesus, Your love.”

autumn raspberries

September 18th, 2017

God’s been speaking to us over the last few days through Autumn raspberries we’re trying – and not managing – to stay on top of picking…


They feel completely miraculous… we can barely keep up with their fruitfulness!

One minute they look completely stripped bare, like there’s nothing left to give and you’ve cleaned them out completely… and then, sometimes as little as half a day later, there are loads more to pick.

We felt God highlight to us that this is what we feel like at the moment after a very intense few months of ministry and movement and with transition still not fully behind us;  like we’ve been picked bare and there’s nothing more to give… but then all this fruit still comes.

The prayer rhythm is up and running again. The trial dispersed email has been created and is already fizzing with life. The new season is getting planned. New creative outreach projects are already being prepared. New resources are being drafted. And the second round of boxes are somehow also getting packed in and around it all.

And best of all, he is inspiring faith and joy and bringing life and beauty and laughter and giving us rest and strength to pray and share and shape new visions and strategies of actions to take. He’s a remarkable source for never-ending fruit!

How often, and how easily, we seem to forget that our supply is eternal…

That we can be like the beautiful image of the Psalm 1 tree when we plant ourselves in him.

This week we heard that one of the “fruitiest” Christians a number of us have ever met, and who has ever prayed for and supported the Sanctuary, had gone to be with Jesus after a long and faithful life. He will be over the moon!

But his going – whilst leaving a huge legacy among so, so many people – will leave a large gap because he and his wife of later years just kept fruiting. When they couldn’t go out as much they focused on leading their neighbours to Jesus, when they couldn’t take action they prayed.

In every season there they were – raspberries, raspberries, raspberries. Lush, extraordinary, beautiful lives that shone all the more brightly the frailer they got – more and more transparent to Jesus’ love.

Their lives – and our raspberries – reminded us of a scripture which several of us had been thinking about a few days before the raspberries came to our attention. So we’re passing it on to you, along with these reflections, and praying its truth over every one of you facing any kind of trial, strain, sorrow or stretch at the moment.

Could do the same for those known to you facing these kind of situations too?

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. 

We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 

We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10 The Voice)

new season – new ways to pray with us

September 14th, 2017

Welcome to the Sanctuary’s new season and an update on some new and emerging ways to pray with us that we’re really excited to tell you about; especially if you’ve not been able to engage in our prayer rhythm previously because of physical distance from our base in the heart of the UK.

To jump straight in, visit pray with us; to find out more, keep reading…

At the heart of everything we are and do at the Sanctuary is worship and intercession. And, most centrally of all, our daily prayer rhythm of both, which has been running for more than seven years.

For the last five years of these seven – September 2012 to Augst 2017 – this rhythm was based at 6 Church Street, Ilkley. During this time – as part of a public centre set up, run in a shop-front space – we opened up this prayer rhythm up to everyone and anyone…

Monday to Friday we were there, three times a day, gathering with regulars, visitors and people passing through to worship God and lift the world – and every one in seven billion within it he so loves – to him.

But as of 1 September 2017, that changed as our occupation of 6 Church Street ended on 31 August.

We’re in the process of moving to our new base and preparing to work towards building a new small, bespoke prayer space there from scratch, which will even more closely match the vision God first gave us in 2009.

Of course, despite the disruption, inevitable mixed emotions and endless boxes(!) this is all very exciting…

But much more importantly, we’re entering a new season with a new model of working better suited to developing and growing – in both depth reach – our vision of engaging ourselves and others in sustained prayer for the nations, resourcing the church in outward focused worship and reaching out in creative ways to those who have not yet encountered God’s love.

In short, our vision and work (aside from expansion of the latter made possible by increased capacity) isn’t really changing. We’re still committed to obeying everything God has called us to do to explore, share and resource the journey towards the place where world and worship meet.

But the way we go about our work, and who we open some elements of it to, is changing.

The biggest change in our new model is that we’re shifting away from running a public centre to go both deeper and wider.

The deeper part is that the new base we’re developing will be much more of a hub,  a restorative, spacious and more private place which serves and facilitates the collective of people involved with actually carrying out the Sanctuary’s core work. Somewhere to gather, pray and work in and out of together in a more focused way.

The wider part is that we’re re-orientating how we do the rhythm to share the absolute treasure store we’ve found it to be with many, many more people than just those who were able to come through our front door when we  ran a public centre.

Shortly after our old base opened, one of our pray-ers asked if we could start sharing the famous whiteboard we used as the focus for the rhythm each day so that she could still pray with it even if she couldn’t come in that day.

And so we did – and suddenly, as well as our worship resources being used by people all over the world, people elsewhere started to use the whiteboard too…

Any prayer rhythm participation happening remotely was always just overflow – an added blessing… and because we were preparing each morning, we couldn’t usually share it until after morning worship.

But now this is all turning upside-down.

In our interim phase – now up until when the new prayer space has been built and is ready – and beyond it, even when our collective can gather again, we’re choosing to operate and resource the dispersed elements of our prayer rhythm much more deliberately.

So wherever you’re reading this, can we extend to you the warmest of invitations to join in with our daily rhythm remotely?

Because now the focus for any given day in the rhythm is being published late afternoon/early evening on the previous day. So no matter what time you check in Monday-Friday, wherever you are in the world, whatever time zone you live in and however early you like to pray, you should be able to find the focus there ready and waiting for you already!

Currently you can do this by following us on twitter or using the feed on the right hand side of our homepage to find out what our focus for worship and intercession is that day – and then join in with it!

(See our source document to view!some of the cycles behind the rhythm.)

But we hope more is coming too…

Hot off the press: we have also begun the process of trialing a daily email which resources this prayer rhythm in much more depth with a small group of our most committed pray-ers, with the view to exploring being able to offer this much more widely once it’s further developed.

We’re only a few days into this but the early signs suggest the road ahead could be more beautiful and transformational than we had even thought to imagine.

We’ll keep you posted but meanwhile, with the day’s focus now available to you in plenty of time each day, we’d love you to pray with us

If you have any questions about this, or any other element of the Sanctuary’s work, please do just contact us

lessons in beautiful transparency

August 4th, 2017

At the suggestion of one of our pray-ers, we’ve created a rather special, gift resource for you. It’s a souvenir and thanksgiving offering to celebrate our time at our first base, and to share the testimony of how God used a window to beckon us into greater bravery and train us in the art of how to communicate the gospel in beautifully transparent ways

we’re taking flight

July 24th, 2017

The Sanctuary’s time being based at our first physical home – 6 Church Street, Ilkley – is coming to an end, following us giving twelve months notice to leave the space this time last year. We’ll be taking flight on 31 August as another step towards creating a new base of our own and adjusting our current, public access model. And so we’re using these last few weeks of having our shop-front windows onto the A65 to begin sharing thank yous and goodbyes for the five years of generous hospitality given to us by All Saints Church…

To do this, we’ve brought together elements from two previous windows – created for Yorkshire Day 2015 and New Year 2016 – featuring the work of our two most talented artists – Alison Hodson and Barbara Macnish.

What better to say what we want to over this year’s Yorkshire Day (1 August) and as we prepare to enter another new season on the Sanctuary’s journey.

The text on the window reads:

“We’re taking flight!

We’ve loved sharing our prayers and creations with you through this space.

Thank you for having us All Saints Church! And goodbye and God bless to all our neighbours and passers by.”

It is then signed by the principal members of ‘team window’ – Jill, Liz, Alison and Barbara – on behalf of everyone at the Sanctuary.

We’re planning to work with landlords and councils going forward to make use of multiple, empty shop-fronts so this isn’t the end of our window work – but for this last of our first batch, at our first base, the main team of creatives involved all got together to celebrate the journey of the last five years and raise a toast to the glass that helped train us all in the art of communicating the gospel in beautifully transparent ways:

the little clay bird is flying far and wide!

July 7th, 2017

It’s been wonderful to see scores of copies of The Little Clay Bird flying out from our window-dispenser since we put up our final story window at 6 Church Street a couple of weeks ago. And we’re hoping this brilliant coverage in the local paper will spread the word – and the story – even further!