Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

window prayers

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

It’s no surprise that the Sanctuary’s move to a new base means we’ve been getting used to new views through new windows. Some of them look out and back towards spacious and uplifting scenery like this…

But some of the windows look up a B road that’s well travelled by walkers, people out with their dogs and traffic moving back and forth on an important connecting route between local villages and towns.

At least once a day, and usually more often, there’s a few minutes where you need to stand at one of these windows that point up the road to do the washing up. And as you do, there’s another few minutes where your mind, heart and spirit can just quietly connect with God…

Only at these times, rather than being drawn to worship (wonderful this is) or  intercession in response to the headlines (important as this is) or even petition about your own life (pressing as this often feels), it’s hard – especially while the sights in front of you are still so consciously new – not to spend the time simply being present with God to the communities and people around you.

When a bus drives up the road it displays the sign of where it’s going and so, almost without noticing, you find you’re blessing that place you’re beginning to get to know better. And then when one’s going back the other way… well, then you’re heart is drawn to pray for that destination instead.

You never know what’s going to come past that triggers a sense of connection and blessing to a different aspect of life in your local area… the secondary school’s minibus; a delivery or service van for a local business; a tractor or livestock trailer; people you’re getting to know; walkers passing through… each one carries an invitation not just to smile, but to bless and pray for them before you even realise that’s what you’re doing.

Where do your windows at home or work face? And how could you find – or make – a few minutes in your day to look out of one and simply bless your community and the people, businesses, livelihoods and community organisations that you are led to think of as you look watch the view, or the traffic, that is in front of you?

This idea is just a fresh incarnation of an old one, which is helping us pray in a new way for a new place… find more simple ideas like it to pray for your own local area in this resource

resources for every season

Monday, February 26th, 2018

If you’re looking for Lent, Mothering Sunday or Easter resources, visit our seasonal page to find fresh, outward focused approaches for your worship. (Or browse Fairtrade Fortnight resources here.)

growing our favourite resource

Monday, February 19th, 2018

We’ve just updated our favourite resource – the list of God’s characteristics that fuel the back bone of our daily prayer rhythm – with another treasure-trove of new insights discovered as we’ve followed, prayed and studied over the last few months. There is always more of God to search out! And whether you pray with our rhythm or not, this list is bound to spark your imagination and take you deeper into who God is…

sharing all our loving secrets

Friday, February 9th, 2018

We’ve just published a brilliant new practical input resource on creative outreach, distilling our top ten tips for sharing God’s love in creative ways

The Sanctuary’s collective sometimes refer to ourselves as ‘accidental evangelists’ – pray-ers, worship leaders and creatives who set out to bring more of the world into the church’s worship, who also found God leading us to bring more worship into the world in some very beautiful and life-giving ways…

As a result, for several years we’ve found ourselves conducting a kind of evangelism that feels very natural to us – it’s simply been an overflow of who we are… and so it’s come out through creating art installations in windows, poetry and allegories, singing on the streets, hand-crafting gifts, hand-writing letters and cards of encouragement and using social media to proactively bless and affirm.

You can browse some of this work here.

For the most part, it’s been really well received and so we felt it was time to try and distil and share some of the lessons we’ve learned.

The result is this resource which we hope and pray will bless and empower you as you too seek to share God’s love in creative ways

Please do contact us if you want to share your stories or ask us any questions about ours.

taking flight – a sixteen month testimony

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

We love telling stories of what our brilliant God has done in, through and with us. Here’s another amazing one, or at least some of it…

what kind of world?

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

This lament formed as a heart-cry in response to today’s devastating news from Afghanistan, and is dedicated to Save the Children’s workers and their families there, and all around the world, as we all ask God to comfort them, renew their courage, and as we pray blessing on their brave, amazing and loving work.

What kind of a world is it
where those who champion
the small,
infinitely precious
and vulnerable ones,
are attacked and destroyed?

What kind of a world is it
where love in action
is hated,
visciously wounded
and intimidated even to death
by anyone, however twisted a doctrine they serve?

But then, what kind of a world is it
where people live to protect
the small;
calling unknown children
their own precious priority,
infinitely worth risking danger to themselves to save?

And what kind of a world is it
that has life so written and woven
into its being
that hope always wins
as even the darkest acts
spark infinite avalanches of bright, light love in reply?

And what kind of God are you
who breathes
a blue-print invitation
into each of us,
to echo your  saving design,
whilst still bearing
the infinite weight and scars
of every,
rescue and loss
on your broad,
shoulders of peace?

our top ten tips for praying with the headlines

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

We’ve just published a brand new practical input resource sharing our top ten tips for praying with the headlines

We don’t have all the answers on how to pray in response to the news and current affairs. But here are some of the invaluable lessons that we have gradually learned as we’ve prayed with the news as a community on a daily basis for many years.

We hope you find them helpful in building your confidence and adding to – or confirming – your own experience. And if you have some extra tips you think we should include alongside them, do let us know!

Ultimately, the best way to grow in prayer is not to read resources about it, but to go on an adventure with God into it.

But we hope that some of the practical insights in this resource will inspire, remove fear around engaging with ‘heavier subjects’ and encourage people to move forward in their own journey of engaging with God’s world in his presence.

This new resource focuses on practical pointers exploring the ‘how’ of praying with the headlines, but you may also be interested in reading this blog article, which explores why praying in this way can be so rewarding – and surprisingly uplifting:

a careful and care-filled prayer

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

for the peace of Jerusalem, and for us all:

Precious Jesus,
thank you that you
love all places and all peoples,
came for all tribes and tongues,
dwell – by your Spirit – in all nations,
choose to make your temple now
in hearts more than buildings,
and will one day come again
to make the whole earth new.

Precious Jesus,
for us who know you
as the incarnate, in-dwelling,
with-dwelling Lord,
and do not call the holy land
home in our day to day lives,
it’s hard to understand fully
the deep, unshakeable and compelling
resolves to possess Jerusalem,
however much we connect
to where you once walked –
or seek to understand those
who walk there today.

But thank you that you,
so much more than us,
understand why specific places
matter so much.
And thank you that you,
so much more than all of us,
know a way forward
that honours your perfect will and application
of your love, peace and justice
rather than our own – or others’ – interpretations
of what you want or what your word means.

Precious Jesus,
I come humbly in my limited,
foreign understanding.
I don’t want to trample your holy ground
or the dreams of anyone made in the image of you.
You already know what I think I think about Jerusalem,
but even while I still dearly long to truly know how you feel for sure,
I do not need to know that to pray with you for its peace,
and the peace of all people from different nations and faiths that look to it.

Precious Jesus, in your tender, weeping mercy,
and in your mighty name,
take this city right now under your protecting wings
like the mother hen you pictured,
and keep all her peoples and connected lands
safe from yet more cycling hatred and war.
And save us, Lord Jesus, please save us
from any who seek power over peace
or simply know not what they do here,
over and over and over again.

bringing new life to Christmas traditions…

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

… from all around the world!

We’ve uploaded a brand new resource to our seasonal resources page ready for Christmas this year and beyond…

This creative idea to bring new life to your Christmas celebrations and traditions draws inspiration from countries all around the world to introduce you to brand new ideas and share the original Christ-inspired stories behind old ones – all with a desire to help you re-connect more to Jesus as you celebrate his coming in many different ways with those around you.

The fact this resource also lead us on a mini, global tour full of learning from Christians around the world is a brilliant extra blessing, reminding us that Jesus came for all nations, peoples and cultures.

Our hope and prayer is that you’ll be as inspired as we have been to read these stories… and that you’ll experience a more worship-filled Christmas as a result…

putting God at the centre of your celebrations

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

In the abstract, holidays feel like a time when there should be more space to connect with God and the things on his heart. But in reality, many of us find that when we’re away from our normal routines, it can be harder – rather than easier – to spend time in worship, prayer or even reflection… especially if we are away with other people…

Busy festival times of celebration – especially Christmas – can be even more like this…

Even when the reason for all the activity is Jesus, it can end up negatively impacting on our time with him, or lead us to feel like we have two modes of operation – one clearly connected to our devotion, and one that just feels separate, even if its really good. In the morning we might read our Bible or an Advent reflection, but later when we’re laughing with friends over good food, it can feel like that’s unrelated to him.

So we wanted to share this incredibly simple and obvious idea that some of us used on an extended holiday recently, that we found to be so wonderful we’re planning to use it every time we enter a period like this, as a way of:

  • consciously doing holidays and celebrations with God
  • connecting with him together really naturally
  • giving him all the thanks and praise for all the good gifts we’re enjoying, so that they (and we) are always connected to the one who gave them all.

As well as the joy we experienced from doing this with God, we also ended up making a note of some wonderful moments we might otherwise have forgotten, and getting the chance to savour everything more richly together before moving on to the next thing.

It’s basically a way of capturing and thanking God for every good gift you experience, by adding a little more each day to what gradually becomes a giant thanksgiving chart…

…as we said, it’s a super simple idea, but this resource explains clearly everything you need and notes some additional pointers that might be helpful.

We know that holiday and celebration times – especially with family – can throw up negative experiences and emotions as well, and this exercise we’re sharing is absolutely not about denying those.

It’s really important and healthy to pour out our pain over this to God and the following two resources (the first generally and the second specifically in relation to Christmas) might help a bit with this:

We also have a blog from a few years back that a number of us have come back to repeatedly with some more simple ideas about increasing connection to God during vacation times: