Archive for June, 2014

God’s beauty on tour…

Monday, June 30th, 2014

We are into the week leading up to Le Grand Départ of Le Tour de France coming through Yorkshire and… past our front door! On Friday night we’re running a special outreach international service – Bienvenue! – together with our neighbours at All Saints’ Church Ilkley.

tour window

Every day this week, we’ll be publishing an inspiring extract from the service. Today, we’re starting at home with the reflection, ‘God’s beauty on tour in Yorkshire’ – a locally inspired reflection on a global truth which also forms the current theme of our window out on to the route!

Psalm 19 in The Message says God’s glory – his beauty and his light – is on tour in the skies. That unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

It feels like that truth is shouted here it gets so loud sometimes. So beautiful and bold. And you wonder how anyone could miss it – his hallmarked handiwork here. A gloriously deafening display of 360 degree panoramic colour that proclaims He is ALIVE. And GOOD. So good.

This truth cascades down from hills rising high with majesty and says “God is strong. Rock solid reliable. Trust him.”

It gurgles and bubbles up in streams that sometimes trickle and flow but then all of a sudden are rivers gushing and weirs almost roaring it out – “Come to the living water. He’s here. Drink deep and you’ll never go thirsty again. There’s enough and to over-flowing. Come.”

It whispers in the quiet of the spring’s bluebell-blush when you steal away for a quiet walk in the wood. But it’s still loud even there. For everything is stilled and you can hear it clearer. The still small voice that says “I am here and if I clothed these flowers with so much care, will I not also provide for you?”

And on the tops? Well up there in the wind-whip and the heather heart-land it just feels certain in a deeper way. His presence. His perspective. And you’re breathing it all in. And then it’s in surround-sound and its singing over you, “all will be well my child. All will be well”.

How could we not praise him here? When it sometimes feels like the rocks are already crying out. And all we have to do is barely listen and look for a moment to feel our hearts already responding, sometimes before we even realise to who they’re singing. “In awesome wonder we see this. In amazement we consider this. And then when we think the Creator of all this gave his life for us… and well, Saviour God here it is. Our spoken truth – how great you are, HOW GREAT YOU ARE!”

sheet music for Nmoshka uploaded

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

We’ve just uploaded the sheet music for our song about global poverty and the value and sanctity of each life made in God’s image. You can download it – together with the mp3 audio, accompanying PPT visuals, chord sheet and story behind the song, from our songs page


Liz Baddaley – the song-writer – tells us a bit about the inspiration behind this special song:

I first learnt the word ‘nmoshka’* when I visited my friend Laura in Bangladesh. Most people in the country greet each other with the standard Muslim greeting, but Christians and Hindu’s still use the traditional Bengali greeting ‘nmoshka’. It means, ‘I greet the holy one I see in you’.

Onthe streets of Dhaka, one of the most crowded, and poorest, cities of the world, the sheer number of people is overwhelming. And yet each one of these fifteen million faces is unique – each one of them mirrors a unique part of God’s image. And this is true of every person on the planet too; even as six billion approaches seven billion – each is a unique child of God, a distinct image-bearer.

That’s why for me, this greeting ‘nmoshka’ somehow encapsulated the struggle to love the poor not just as aconcept, or once you got to connect with someone specific, but also as you scanned the faces in the crowds. Around it grew my response to Bangladesh its present suffering, and all that was stolen from it through British colonial oppression… its thousands of forgotten slum dwellers and its beauty.

* ‘nmoshka’ is an English phonetic spelling of the Bengali greeting – for which there is no direct English word. Interestingly, Indian culture also
retains this greeting in the related word, ‘namaste’.

lifting every nation by name…

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

…was the challenge for our In the zone: pray around the world event this weekend. 24 time zones in 24 hours. All covered with prayer and praise. It was a very special and powerful time but these things are always difficult to capture. Hopefully a sense of the quiet passion and surprisingly joyful atmosphere lingers in these few snaps of  ‘prayer debris’ that remained in the Sanctuary come 10pm Saturday night…

Light on globe close up

peace and healing candles 1

post it map

every nation clap your hands

conflict stones complete


poverty and wealth 2

creative idea for praying for refugees

Friday, June 20th, 2014

We’ve created and uploaded a new resource for World Refugee Day (20 June, 2014) which we all found really helpful in our prayer time this morning. You can download it here.

creative idea for praying for refugees

This resource helps you put the Bible’s revelation about God’s heart for the ‘stranger’ alongside imagining different scenarios that affect the world’s 45.2 ‘forcibly displaced people’. We have found it has grown our sense of understanding and connection and given us more of a heart to welcome others around us – as well as to pray for those affected internationally.

in response to Iraq and more

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

This morning we were again interceding for the situation in Iraq, and other nations faced with conflict. Inspired by the story of this Christian family in Palestine who are determined to keep their hearts – as well as their actions – peaceful and by the truth contained in Psalm 30, we wrote these two new prayers as we wrestled through our response to all that is going on in our headlines:

middle east

A prayer that’s lost for words…

Lord Jesus come.
It’s about all we can manage to say this morning.
Please come.
We’re out of ideas and carefully worded prayers
Because of the shock peppered with a sense of half-expected
And the pain we know is a fraction of those in the midst of it;
In the horror and the fear unfolding before us.

And yet we look to you.
Lord Jesus, come.
There are few other words to cling to.
Lord Jesus, come.

Come to the peace-longers in Iraqi homes
And to the hardened hearts on its streets.
Come to the battle-weary refugees from Syria aching for home
And those on both sides defiantly determined to fight till the end.
Come to those still hiding in the bush in the Central African Republic
And to those hungry for power on whichever side.
Come to all hearts – soft or hard – in the Ukraine, Russia, Libya;
Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Colombia, Thailand, Egypt…

Lord Jesus I will miss some,
Even as my  heart heavy with them tries to list some
In this stumbled prayer for the nations
And for a billion hearts.

But you won’t miss any.
So I return to this.
I look to you
and change my perspective
close to yours and eternity.
And I pray.
Lord Jesus, come.
Simply this.
Lord Jesus, come.
Lord Jesus.

A prayer of peace-lovers and peace-makers thrust into conflict (inspired by Psalm 30)

I will sing praise to you Lord.
I will praise your holy name.
For your anger lasts only for a moment,
but your favour lasts a lifetime.
Your anger – though righteous – lasts only for a moment
but your favour – though undeserved and poured out in grace – lasts for a lifetime.
This is not the anger and favour of men that I am so often at the mercy of:
the long-lasting anger of hardened hearts and enemies
and the fleeting favour of those who flatter or manipulate.

I long to respond differently –
to be filled with your living water.
Bubbling up purely, consistently – no matter what.
I say in my heart, I refuse to be an enemy –
though others might seek to make me one.

Strengthen me Lord,
so that though the pain is great and the temptation to harden my heart is real,
I can continue to give – in my prayers and my actions
true, genuine and faithful love of others.
And when I am caught in anger or pain,
It can be fleeting like yours.

Use me to stand for peace, carry your peace,
even be your peace
in a world bent on power, control and conflict.

Strengthen me so I can stand.
So I do not despair and am not silenced.
Strengthen me so I can remain
with integrity before you
and as an effective channel of your transforming power
to those around me.

That even yet – even here –
we may see rejoicing when morning comes
and everything is made beautiful in your timing.
And that even now – even here –
I may dance and sing and praise
in the unchanging certainty of who you are
and the peace you alone can bring.


praying for fathers

Friday, June 13th, 2014

This Sunday is Father’s Day in the UK – and we want to join with others in our nation in giving thanks for the important role fathers have in our society. However, our nation’s men also need our prayers.

Our new creative prayer resource – praying for fathers in the UK – focuses on giving thanks to God for being the perfect Father, and for all the good things that signifcant men have contributed to each of our lives. And then on lifting to God the major issues facing fathers today – such as absence, loss, brokenness, addiction, stress and financial burdens – knowing that he desires to bring restoration, healing and love.

in the zone: pray around the world

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

We’re getting excited. It’s only two and a half weeks to go until one of our most eagerly anticipated events ever! Join us for In the zone: pray around the world at any time between 8pm on Friday 20 and 10pm on Saturday 21 June.

in the zone_landscape - low res

Phileas Fogg did it in 80 days, but we’re going to be even quicker!

24 hours to pray around 24 time zones visiting every nation to bless and intercede for transformation through creative prayer…

Plus an hour of corporate praise and worship at the start and finish.

That’s 26 hours around the world…

Come along at any point during the day or night on the Friday or Saturday to use our creative space – and the stations laid out individually, in families or groups.(Or join us for the whole thing!)

You can pray in whatever way you find helpful for whatever places are in focus when you clock in. There’s loads to get through and lots of variety in things to pray about and ways to engage with God and his heart for the world – for children as well as adults.

There’s no need to book a slot for this 24:1 and don’t worry… there’ll be tea and coffee available in the kitchen throughout. All we ask is you come in and out of the back door, through the kitchen so as not to disturb others, and to get all the info you need from one of our door-keepers before you start.

If you want to find out more about what countries are on when, or download a poster to help spread the word, check out our events page.

If you can possibly avoid missing In the zone, don’t because we’re expectant of a really special time.

So put it in your diary. After all, you must be free at some point between 8pm on Friday 20 and 10pm Saturday 21 June…

…and if you’re too far away to come, don’t worry – it’s all going to be written up into a resource after the event. So you can run your own wherever you are really soon.