Hope you had a wonderful Christmas 2013!
This years Christmas card was (perhaps predictably) of the Lake District again. In the absence of any cold weather down south it was certainly the only place Andrea and I visited in the latter part of the year, that we saw any snow! Even then the snow was only above 850 meters most of the time we were there – which did however make for an ‘interesting’ ascent of Sca Fell.
Wishing you a very happy 2014.
After another year at 24-7 Prayer, I’m looking back with thankfulness at where I’ve seen God on the move. And at the start of the New Year as I look forward, there are many exciting opportunities and questions ahead as I try to work out what He has in store for both myself and the 24-7 Prayer movement.
If you’d like to catch up on my thoughts, you can get hold of my latest supporter newsletter here.
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Happy New Year!
This year marks the last in a season of four panoramic landscapes for my hand made cards. The scene this time around is the view from the hotel Andrea and I stayed in during December, while we were up in the Lake District. Skiddaw and Blencathra were both looking spectacular with their new snow blankets.
Hoping you have a great Christmas, and a very happy new year.
Andrea and I were very fortunate to get Olympic tickets for the women’s gymnastics all round final, at the North Greenwich Arena (AKA The O2/The Millennium Dome). Gymnastics has been a long term passion for Andrea, and I’ve been learning a lot about it over the last couple of years!
We were very impressed with the organisation as we neared the Dome, the volunteers have done an amazing job of making everyone feel welcome. A tangible sense of excitement filled the air as we entered the venue – in fact most of London feels pretty electric at the moment as people travel around to the many Olympic sites.
We were treated to some spectacular performances by the gymnasts, and the relative newcomer Gabby Douglas really deserved her gold medal.
On the way back we stopped off at the bank of the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament, to watch a spectacular slideshow using the parliament buildings as their canvas. It’s well worth a visit; the show is on every evening of the Olympics and Paralympics if you can get there.
Here are a few shots from the day. Definitely one we won’t forget in a hurry.
By chance I stumbled across news that the Shard opening ceremony was happening on Thursday night this week. Pictures captured in the Evening Standard of the practice for the main event convinced me that it would be a good time to plan some shots of London’s newest iconic building.
I wasn’t disappointed. As Andrea and I headed across London Bridge through the excited crowds, we knew that everyone was expecting a good show.
Camera set up, we watched a fantastic display of lights and lasers (illuminating other buildings in the city) running for about an hour. Some were disappointed it wasn’t more spectacular, but personally I thoroughly enjoyed our time on the north bank of the Thames watching the display.
I was pleased with the photographic results too – particularly when I saw that my shots were better than the ones I saw on the front of the Times newspaper the next morning. I hope you enjoy the ones I’ve included below.
The final picture is one of the lasers illuminating the monument to the great fire of London.
Please note the license on all content in this blog.
I didn’t really know what to expect as I flew to Indonesia for the World Prayer Assembly recently. I’m not a huge fan of conferences generally – my usual response is to think that I need to just get on with doing the stuff of the kingdom!
On this occassion though I was certainly happy to have made the journey. It was amazing to be able to take a step back and see the big picture of what God is doing in the nations. Sometimes the spiritual doldrums of Europe can make it hard to remember that God is indeed at work! I was powerfully reminded that the Holy Spirit is on the move bringing life to many.
The unity expressed across denominations and generations was a joy to see, and one of my favourite moments was loudly and enthusiastically praying into global issues with several thousand other committed followers of Jesus. Including people from some nations that are very ‘closed’ to the Gospel.
On the last day of the conference we had the privilege of journeying to the national stadium for a prayer gathering for the nations attended by over 100 thousand people. That not being enough, the Indonesians had arranged for video link ups to other stadiums around the country – the estimate was that 3 million people were involved in that prayer meeting!
From Jakarta we flew northeast to Medan. Pete Greig, Carla (our International Prayer Team Leader) and Mike Andrea (from Revival Run/GloGen Church) were all speaking at churches we had linked up with through Alpha International. This section of the trip had to be my favourite. The church we connected with had seen explosive growth; from 119 in the 90’s to 40,000 today. Much of this growth has been fuelled by continuous prayer (night and day since the late 90’s), and radical service of the poor through food programs and clinics. Amazing. As our team entered the prayer room, we asked our hosts if we could stop to pray. It was a real Holy moment. Standing in the prayer room where thousands of prayers had been brought to the Father, all we could do is spend some time with Him in awe, the room thick with the presence of the Spirit.
On my return I find I have more questions than answers. How do we see God move in this way in our land? Are we not desperate enough? Is some of the passion that the Indonesians have God given annointing, granted by Him for their land at this time? Whatever the answers are to these questions and so many more, we certainly have a lot to learn from the passionate prayer lives of the Indonesians.
The wonderful Rev Tom Jamieson and I had the chance to go adventuring in the Lake District on Monday this week. Having had a couple of days speaking at the Lancashire Methodists ‘Inspire’ event on prayer, and hanging out with the 24-7 Prayer community in Preston, I was ready to climb a few hills.
The forecast wasn’t great, but God provided a cloud base that was just high enough for us to get some great views from High Spy and Castle Crag.
I love the Lakes!
The most excellent Mr Phil Togwell, 24-7 Prayer collegue who started work for the charity on the same day as my good self, has been pioneering the Prayer Spaces in School initiative for the last couple of years with an amazingly capable group of workers passionate about helping young people encounter the spiritual side of living.
Check out their latest video here. And perhaps get involved with running a prayer space in your local school?!
This last year has flown by with my work at 24-7 Prayer. God continues to expand the work of the 24-7 Prayer movement, for which we are all deeply thankful!
I’m very aware of the need for support of our work through prayer. In the midst of natural disasters and global financial panic, Jesus is still at work, and we need to be listening and asking Him for His strategies in everything we’re doing.
If you have a few moments, please have a read of my latest supporter newsletter and join me in prayer. Thank you so much for your time!
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This year marks the 6th or 7th year in succession that I’ve made my own Christmas cards, featuring shots I’ve taken myself.
There was no need for any significant ponderment over the picture for this year’s card. Andrea and I spent our anniversary in the Lake District in a cottage with fantastic views over Ullswater, and one morning we awoke to a stunning mist filled vista.
So here it is! Have a wonderful Christmas and very blessed New Year.