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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | NOVEMBER 2022 EDITION
Prayer Prompt - February 2022 May great ideas flourish in London
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
NOVEMBER PRAYER PROMPT
Remember...
Christian Population in Canada Based on the Latest Census Canada Data
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A Change At The Top at YFC London Thank You James Coolidge and Welcome Joel Timmerman
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BookMark - Crossfire (Extreme Measures #2) (BOOK REVIEW)
Reel Review - Spirited (Adapted from: A Christmas Carol) (MOVIE REVIEW)
It’s Time for Christmas Carols...
‘The First Nowell’ Country and Gospel Singer Josh Turner (VIDEO)
The Christmas Pageant (HUMOUR)

Published February 2022


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Provided by: The Christian Churches Network of London

An ongoing struggle in today’s world is a search for self-identity, a sense of purpose and a desire to live a meaningful life. Many speak of feeling stalled or mired in the current pandemic cant’s and ongoing need for self-care, heightened by isolation and lessened interaction. Each day feels a bit like a Groundhog Day movie clip - repeat - repeat - repeat - getting groceries, waiting in lines, sitting on-hold endlessly, zoom upon zoom meetings, adjusting to new health guidelines - in addition to just the dailies. Our primary focus is on the “what may change tomorrow?” after two years of living in a mind-numbing “wait and see” or “auto-pilot” mentality, leaving little incentive for creative thinking. For many, it seems the next Netflix release or the upcoming sporting event is about as exciting as it may get! This ongoing uncertainty can foster a subtle lethargy about greater purpose or making a difference – whether it is in ourselves or our family dynamics, in our workplaces or ministries, in our community or our world.

As we begin to pray this month, let’s start with this really good news. We were made for more. God intentionally created each of us with purpose - body, soul and mind - we were always in His thoughts. Jeremiah writes these specific words from God to him: “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you. A prophet to the nations – that’s what I had in mind for you.” Jeremiah 1:5. Long, long before any of us knew God, God knew us – personally – we are His idea. There is a great quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “If at first, an idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” Some days the fact that God knew us and had hopes and plans for us long before time began may seem absurd, illogical, just plain ridiculous … and awesomely comforting and motivating!

This February, let’s pray not only for ourselves, but also for our civic and spiritual leaders, for our churches, for each another.

1) We ask you God for clarity of thought. These are confusing times with much info coming at us every moment. We all need to set aside dedicated time for reflection and prayer to seek your voice - easier said than done. Yet we know that you are speaking to us constantly – sometimes whispering, sometimes nudging, sometimes practically shouting - when we notice something new or learn of someone’s need, when we read your word or listen to a podcast or sermon, when an idea gets stuck in our heads that just won’t go away, when a subject shows up repeatedly in random venues or conversations over time. Prod us to take out the earbuds, turn off the TV and listen more attentively to that voice of your Spirit present within us. Write down what we think we hear and see if a pattern emerges. Be still in our inner spirits while walking, driving, waiting, pausing, talking, cleaning, exercising, rocking a child to sleep. Lord, you can use all those moments. We want to open wide the doors of our lives to welcome you in to reveal our identity and purpose in you.

Please permit a slight aside from this prayer as a concrete, personal example of this. Even during sleepless nights, God speaks (though admittedly rarely do these seem like great ideas in the light of day!). The initial idea for monthly prayer prompts was formed following the CCNL Prayer Breakfast with Ann Voskamp in May 2019. The following weekend, during a sleepless night in a very noisy Toronto hotel, after finally resigning around 2 a.m. to not sleeping, a conversation began with God wondering how to stimulate more people to pray for and in London, and to pray in concert with one another as a local body of Christ more often. By morning, there was leftover energy to write it down to see if it was truly doable. After tentatively testing the idea over several months with others, “meat was put on the bones” of the idea, discussions held with CCNL, tried it out and got good feedback. Almost three years later and still going… several thousand Christians in London and beyond use this prompting monthly personally, in prayer groups, at workplaces, in families and in their churches. Thanks, God for sleepless nights. Ideas grow out of other ideas…seed planting. And thanks God for the ongoing input and participation of all those praying together as members of one another – your bigger family!

2) Thank you, God for many who are making a difference in our community. Recently the London Free Press featured an article regarding the Mayor’s 2021 Honours list – a wide variety of fellow citizens who saw a need in our community, had an idea, and acted on it. People like Mandi Fields who has a desire to build affordable housing on Oneida of the Thames – a small step towards reconciliation. Or Hayley Gardiner, a sixteen year old who educates and advocates for children amputees. Or Mike Evans, a veteran board member of the London Food bank and co-founder of Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan. Thank you, Father for all these people. We commend them to you, ask you to bless their work, and want to learn from their example, as well as many other Londoners who in small ways, and in big ways add to the quality of life in our city. People who speak calm into fearful hearts. People who hold the hand of someone grieving. People who lend courage to battered lives. People who deliver meals to those who desperately need not just physical nutrition but emotional and spiritual sustenance too. We are blessed by all, both the known and the many unknown who may never make the Mayor’s list - but you, Lord see and know them by name.

3) Father God, please give us wise and willing counsellors, collaborators and mentors. We need people who can add wisdom to our ponderings, will prod us with insightful questions, will offer alternatives routes or suggest others to talk with. Seeds planted need good soil to grow, some ongoing tilling and weeding, and much watering along the way in order to flourish. Make us open enough to seek mentors out, make us courageous enough to push through roadblocks, make us humble enough to learn and partner together for greater purposes…all to make you Jesus bigger than our fears, comfort or ego. Give us willingness to do the hard work of researching, building connections and maintaining focus to best impact the lives of others. Help us to specifically seek out advisors of diverse backgrounds and experiences – gender, race, culture, age or faith connections - to help expand our understanding. People who maybe are not part of our current social circle of people or who are not “just like us” …but can add insightful perspectives, fresh vision and rich understanding.

4) As well Heavenly Father, make us wise and willing counsellors, collaborators and mentors. This is critically important. If we are one who is honored to have others come for consultation, give us ears to listen, hearts to pray, honest sharing of our experiences and our mistakes, considering an abundance of possibilities, allowing freedom to fail and offering encouragement to try again and not give up.

5) We pray for abundant curiosity to ask hard questions to discover better answers. It is OK to be a little “absurd” with our wonderings. Asking “what if” questions can free us to consider new ways of looking at things. Think about how absurd it must have seemed for the Jewish people to embrace a Messiah, a Savior who was born in a manger, who had no apparent power, who hung out with fishermen and tax collectors, who was eventually crucified. God, you did not do what was expected. Many of us currently are perplexed about how to present well the good news of Jesus in today’s world in meaningful ways to a post-Christian world? We ask for much discernment, the ability to judge well, as not every idea we come up with is necessarily a good idea! Maybe the timing is not now or not yet… need to use different words as language changes. Make us keenly aware of where you are already moving and stirring things up. We pray for the passion to advocate for right and just things now “on the way” to your kingdom coming.

6) Remind us to converse with you God daily about your purpose in our lives. Help us examine our hearts and yearnings with you. Pour your ideas into our imaginations. Make scripture speak into our everyday lives. Enliven our minds to recognize your Spirit. Transform our very souls. Dallas Willard reminds us in his classic book “Hearing God”, that you God are inviting us to reorganize our lives in a way that keeps us walking so closely with you that it becomes easier to know your mind and recognize your voice.

7) Prod us to start somewhere God. Now. We need to do something with our ideas, not just talk or think or read. Small steps, in-between steps, big steps. Invite others. Regroup. Recalibrate. Persevere. Act. In the book of James 1: 22-27, it says: Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God - the free life! - even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” Let’s be women and men of action!

Please give us the grace to personally participate in your mission in small and ordinary things to make a difference in our world – your world! Galatians 6: 4-6 reminds us “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.”

AMEN

Powerful words. What work has God given you to do in days and weeks ahead? You were made for more, whatever season of life you are in.

In Summary:

1. We ask you, God for clarity of thought
2. Thank you, God for many who are making a difference in our community.
3. Father God, please give us wise and willing counsellors, collaborators and mentors.
4. Please also God make us wise and willing counsellors, collaborators and mentors.
5. We pray for abundant curiosity to ask hard questions to discover better answers.
6. Remind us to converse with you, God daily about your purpose in our lives.
7. Prod us to start somewhere, God.