prayerscapes - creative journeys in worship and prayer

creative prayer journeys

Monthly Archives: January 2018

Leaning into God this Lent

Desert Scene with Barren Tree

Lent is an opportunity to lean in, to abandon yourself to intimacy with a living God, and to taste the refreshing water of God’s love and grace. When Jesus went into the desert for forty days he learnt what it meant to lean into his Father and remind himself of God’s promises. It was in that dry, hot, barren place that the enemy attacked him when he was physically most vulnerable.

in a slightly different way we as humans all have “desert” areas, places that are dry and harsh, places where we choose to shut God out of. Sometimes we can do many things to cover our own arid lands. We distract ourselves with purchasing things, chase achievements, hide in a fictional tale, mask our feelings with comfort eating, find a media fast fix or drink away our sorrow with a latte or beer! All these things are not wrong in themselves, but they can become like a plaster on a wound, preventing the air of God’s Spirit from circulating, they can stop the rain of God’s love touching us, or just cover the hurt so well that others do not realize our pain.

Sometimes it is important to strip these things back a little and see what lies underneath. Leaning into God is an active thing. It requires trust that a strong arm will hold you, courage that you won’t be rejected, it requires forgiveness when you have been hurt and hope to push through disappointments and engage with life again. God really cares about the desert areas of our lives! His heart breaks for the lost possibility of softness and healing, the intense pain of midday sun moments, and the sadness of the barren land holding no new nurture or growth. The good news is this – leaning into God is not as complex as it may seem. In the rivers of grace opened by Jesus’s death, small things can create huge restoration! It’s true – so just choosing once to leave the chocolate bar in the cupboard and remain before God can bring light into a dark place of disillusionment. This light is not only an opening for confession, it can become a peephole for deep renewal.

Leaning into God this Lent can also be an active choice for something. Deciding on a Saturday afternoon to go for a walk out onto the hills instead of the browsing the usual shops could be the beginning of a new wave of hope that breaks across the desolation of grief, or the rejection of a broken relationship, or a complex health issue. Seize the moments you have in Lent to lean in. Give everything to God, hold nothing back. And in those times, read the word of God, engage with the beauty of the earth, listen to inspiring music, phone a trusted friend, stop to pray, or just curl up and rest! Push away the props. Allow the light of Christ to illuminate your path, the rain of God’s spirit to soften your way, and you will discover new seeds of hope have taken root in your life.

I wrote a short prayer this month which carries these thoughts to God. You may like to pray it now as you lean into Him during this time:

I Will Turn

Lord, I will turn,
Turn my face towards you.
I will lay before you the desert areas I hide
And turn to soak in your refreshing words of life.
I will cast aside the barren, selfish pursuits
And turn to rest in the tranquil warmth of your love.
I will draw back from the harsh pull of media
And turn to bathe in the gentle power of your Spirit.
Lord, today I turn my face towards you.

I will turn
To soak in your words of life,
To rest in the warmth of your love,
And to bathe in the power of your Spirit.

Here is a short film meditation we have created featuring the words of this prayer: –

It’s possible to download this film in HD for a small sum by visiting this page.

Prayer for the New Year

Bird flying through snowy mountains

By the love and grace of God we are always offered a new page, a fresh start, a new beginning. With this heavenly blessing we can be assured of new hope! For most people the coming of the New Year brings attempts at resolutions and new commitments. It can be a springboard for change, yet it can also be a place of depression, failure and procrastination.

Our lives are complicated, littered with the trappings of comparison forged in the maze of social media and TV, heavy with the weight of loss, or murky with the sediments of confusion, resentment, fear and disappointment. Christ offers us a way to filter, to cleanse and to receive fresh living water into our souls by his Holy Spirit that works deeply within us. This is an ongoing process and at the start of this New Year so many of us will come before the Lord with a mixture of emotions, sufferings and needs.

I promise you that as you dwell before your heavenly Father, his love for you is unconditional. He will hold you close and his Holy Spirit will work gently in your heart and soul to minister, to renew and to bring new hope and healing: –

 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28, The Message)

The wonder of this offer is that it is not just once a year, like a fleeting January sale. It is not withdrawn if you fail, if you doubt, it is not eroded by illness, or by persecution or sin, or if you lose hope. The grace of God is like a never-ending river that can flow in and through our hearts, our words, our deeds and lead us onwards in life’s great adventure. This is truly amazing news!

The following is a little prayer that I wrote some time ago, which today as this New Year begins I earnestly pray for myself. As you watch the film or pray this prayer, allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart, sooth away resentment and forge forgiveness, allow him to brush aside disillusionment and bring vision and clarity to your heart and mind: –

Prayer for a New Beginning


At the beginning of this new day, I offer you my life.
Come take my voice, may the words I speak be filled with encouragement and goodness.
Come take my hands, may the work they create be generous and giving.
Come take my feet, may the journeys I walk be led by your Spirit within.
Come take my life Lord, for I love your goodness, your kindness and your leading.


It’s possible to download and keep this film in HD by following this link.

latest from the blog

What We Have Is Enough

Painting of Daisies

I love the “in between” bits in life. Those very ordinary days amidst the many plans, engagements, commitments and occasions. This song sprang up in one of those moments. Believe me, I wrote what I needed to hear! “What we have is enough” was penned as I had just survived another festive season. Christmas is Read More

I Missed The Moment

I Missed The Moment Song

As Christians we are asked to be the “Body of Christ”. This means we are called to work in close contact with others, to be the ones who engage with humanity at every level. This is a messy calling! It is not a setting apart from life, it’s about being called into participation! Every other Read More

Freedom in Grace

Freedom in Grace Music Image

We wanted to share with you the inspiration behind a track that we’ve recently released called “Freedom in Grace”. About a year and a half ago, just before the pandemic hit, I felt God was speaking to me, and to the world, through Isaiah 40 “A Comfort to God’s People”: “Prepare the way of the Read More