prayerscapes - creative journeys in worship and prayer

creative prayer journeys

Category Archives: Reflections

Musings and reflections on the nature of life and walking with God.

Prayer for Peace and Comfort

A beautiful and peaceful lake

Peace is so important to our hearts, our minds and our bodies, so coming before God will always bring more peace into our lives. It’s important that we take time with our prayers, because God knows that we need to slow down, we need to still our minds, we need to our rest hearts, and then we’ll enter into the inner sanctuary of His love. So let’s prayer together now:

Short prayer for peace and protection

Dear Father, we come before you our Lord, Saviour and friend. We journey with you through every season of our lives. Thank you that you hear every prayer and petition of our hearts. We lay out before you the great trouble we feel, the stresses we are under, the losses we have endured, the burdens we carry and the doubts and fears that can consume us. You hold each of us in your care. You remain, you abide with us and within us. We are always safe in your care. Amen.

Prayer for peace and comfort

Come dress us Lord in comfort. Give us new shoes, so that our feet might tread steadily across this difficult life terrain. Give us new clothes, so that our vulnerabilities are covered and our souls protected at this turbulent time. Give us a new crown, perfect to our size, unique and real, one that reminds us of who we are in this season.

Come shower us Lord with peace. Cleanse us with grace, may it fall softly upon each moment, bringing restoration in these harsh days. Come shower us Lord with peace. Refresh us with hope, may clean dew pour into every shadow of despair that we endure. Come shower us Lord with peace. Refill us with faith, may it overflow in our souls and rise high in our hearts.

Lord, thank you that you are our comfort and our peace. Amen.

(prayer based on “Prayer for Peace and Comfort” © 2020

Prayer for Comfort in Difficult Times

God, I am crying out for help in this difficult time.
Help me to find some light in this darkness.
Lift my eyes to see even the faintest glimmer of hope
And hold tight to you.

Lord, you are beside me, stay close today.
Surround me with your love.
Help me to remember your goodness and trust in your saving grace.
May my tears turn to joy
And may your light flood this soul.
For surely you are my saviour,
My friend, and my guide. Amen.

Prayer for Peace and Comfort

Lord God, You promise the peace of a still lake
Even in the midst of a storm.
You promise the peace of a slumbering child
Even in the middle of tension and disagreement.
You promise the peace of a poppy field
Even in the place of heartbreak and devastation.
Your promise is a peace that surpasses our human understanding.
So I choose to rest by the still waters, to lie down and rest amongst the poppies.
Your resurrection declared peace over trauma, power over death, and life everlasting. I trust in you.

It’s been a real privilege to join with you in prayer. Please do leave your prayers in the comments below so that others can join with you. There are many more films and prayers on this site about receiving God’s peace. Here’s one you can watch now:

And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hands.

(Lead image photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash).

How To Hear From God

Dramatic sSunset in mountains

We all need vision. We all need to be able to look forwards and feel hope arise in our hearts. So if you are in a place where your vision has faded a little, where you are not sure of the next steps, or if you are finding it hard to look forward with certainty and hope, I stand alongside you today and seek to help you in bringing about change and renewal. Life is multifaceted, it is complex! We live in the beauty of God’s intention for us but also the fall of the world. For some of us, we are seeking God for a specific area of our lives but for others there may be a significant reason for a general loss of vision. This can occur for many different reasons such as illness, grief, disappointment, hurt, conflict, confusion and doubt. These are all vision suppressors. So how do we pray to God at these times? How can we move to a place where there is revelation, renewal and change? I thought I would share with you a three-step creative exercise that I find useful in these times. Hopefully this will help you to hear from God for your life as well.

1. Firstly, it’s important to be really honest before God. Come to him just as you are, you need not pretend to be anything. Find a time where you can be self-aware and God-aware, a peaceful moment in the home, a long walk or a drive in the car. Be truthful and admit to yourself and your heavenly Father how you feel! Talk to Him about the areas of your life you need new vision in.  Allow the Holy Spirit to help you unpack your feelings, your uncertainties, and your options. Take your time, be gentle and kind to yourself. It might be a while before you can search out what you are really facing or asking for direction in. One helpful way to record these feelings is to draw out a big question mark, then write how you feel, your confusion, the possible different pathways or just the words ”I need to hear you!” on the inside. This helps to frame our reality not in stone but as a question. I find this opens the door to the possibility of revelation and of change, and new vision.

2. The second thing to do is to draw a dream cloud, then write or draw in there a picture of where you hope your life could be. God works with us and through us, not despite of us or by force. We are taught to pray Abba Father, and like any dad would, God wants us to dream! However, also like any father would, he wants our dreams to move, evolve and change, so that they come alive with His kingdom heart. He wants our dreams to be real and achievable, so that we find contentment and peace. Sometimes we hold onto an ideal in our minds and will not let go! We allow ourselves to compare our lives to a dream ideal, always falling short. It’s only human to measure our lives in this way. However, we are taught by Jesus “do not worry about tomorrow”(Matthew 6:34). We are taught to take each day as it comes. The truth is God can give us vision wherever we are, whatever the landscape looks like, whatever the time or season is in our lives, and whatever obstacles lie before us.

3. Lastly, write in multi-colour! You have a chance to dream afresh at this moment in your life, so lay out your question mark, and your dream cloud. Now take some coloured pens, pencils or paint and get ready to put down afresh your Fathers’ insights! In this moment listen to your heart and thank God for your life! Listen to the sounds around you and thank God for the place you are in today. Now dwell upon all that you hold, every aspect of your life and commit these things to God. The truth is that our dreams are the vehicle for God’s dreams! So, begin to write in colour this time for your hopes in work, in relationships, in finances, in leisure time and in ministry. For those who have been robbed of vision by a life storm this might be hard, so just begin by writing in colour one thing that might be a small hope for tomorrow, even if it’s just a nap! Or maybe it’s just a moment to relax, watch telly, a hug, or a new novel to enjoy. It’s OK to both start small and it’s also OK to go big! Get a promotion, fall in love, feel well! Now ask God what he would want for you……sense his peace, let yourself see what God sees. See your life illuminated by hope and possibility!

I must confess, I’ve not always been able to do this when in a dark place. Just wait it out…. give yourself grace…. then the moment you feel things clear a little have a go at waiting on God in this way. We are children of the living God. He will lead us through our lives and through death into new life so don’t allow vision to leave you for too long. Come as you are to the Creator of the universe and ask for renewal. I often pray ahead and ask that when I am near to the end of my earthly life, that I would be given a vision for my life in heaven. I imagine there will be all kinds of new colours to paint and new instruments to hear, and so many wonderful things to turn my hand to!

So to sum up, try these three steps out. Begin by being honest with God and try writing a question mark and making a note of how you feel and anything that you find confusing at the moment. Then draw a dream cloud and write in it what you are dreaming for. Finally, change your pen and write around this cloud in multi-colour the different things that you are hoping for.

Do feel free to comment below on your experiences on hearing from God. We would love to read them and for you to share them with this community here. Don’t forget to subscribe to us if you haven’t yet, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

The Serenity Prayer Meaning

The Serenity Prayer

This week we’re going to be looking at one of the most famous and inspiring prayers of the 20th Century – “The Serenity Prayer”, and I’m going to be exploring what the full version of this prayer means and how we can use it in our lives. Often known by its first line “God grant me the serenity”, this inspirational writing has guided so many on their journey towards drinking in the peace of Christ. In an age full of self-help, mindfulness and searching for inner peace, these words carry a message that has resonated with many, particularly those who are caught in addictions or who are in a difficult place in life , especially through the work of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). There are of course some very practical ways to feel at peace. For example, the tranquility of a restful day, the practice of meditation, the comfort of a massage, aromatherapy or exercise, or the wisdom of self-care. Yet this prayer poem highlights the gift of peace given to us by the Holy Spirit. And this is a special peace that is only found in Him.

  • To begin with, let’s think about the meaning of first words “Grant me”. God is the source, the very beginning of peace and the giver of peace. This peace is granted to us by the sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus. So the words “Grant me” preface the other lines here, “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”! I see it as the “wall of the fall”, for we are all fallen, and this causes a huge barrier in our lives. I can’t change my age, I can’t change my family set up, I can’t change my physical body, my humanity, my humanness! But God can grant us the serenity we need to handle these things. This is an endless process of confession to God of the feelings around this “wall of the fall”, and an endless outpouring of the Holy Spirit who brings love, peace, joy and hope into our souls!
  • Secondly, we find that the third line also has the prefix of “grant me” the courage to change the things I can! The Holy Spirit gives us the “keys of change and renewal”. I can change, how I feel about my age…. I can change my family relationships and dynamics…I can change my feelings about my physical body and care for it well and I can change my human responses. How? By constantly walking with Jesus, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead, to renew and to restore. And then “grant me” the wisdom to know the difference between those things I can’t change and those that I can! This is also a gift of the Spirit. It’s about stepping in time with the Spirit and being prompted by the Spirit to pray. Sometimes we can start accepting things that God would want us to change, and other times we can seek change in an area that requires deep acceptance. In an ever-changing confusing world, it is often hard to see these things, which is why we need the Holy Spirit to guide us.
  • Thirdly, let’s focus on that word “time”, living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time. This line carries an important meaning for us in an age of career ambitions and achievements and with increasing leisure time and medical science extending life expectancy. Look for a moment at your watch or clock and just watch those hands turn. Allow God to highlight your time concerns. “Grant me” is the gift we receive so that we are really pausing, really resting, really allowing peace to reign! We rest in the timeless connection to heaven. It is only by connecting with eternity that we master time rather than being overwhelmed with “saving time”, “holding back time”, making sure that I’m “not wasting time”! You see as children of the living God we have an eternal purpose, a destiny and a home where time is not relevant…. only the present which continues…. so again, the words prefacing this prayer “grant me” leads us to receive the ability to live with “time”. it’s a gift!
  • And finally, Jesus came to earth and walked here. God Incarnate through the rubbish of anger, hate, bloodshed, abuse, robbery, sickness and pain. Yet he had the “wonder of heaven” in his heart! How did he endure the pain, the shame, the suffering? Was it not the knowledge of eternity that he carried, knowing the love of the Father and the presence of this divine love in His life? This is what carried him onwards! And so again the words “Grant me”, suggest we will need help from the Holy Spirit to accept hardships as the pathway to peace, taking as he did this sinful world as it is, not as we would have it and trusting that he will make all things right. So again, “Grant me”, “the love I need to walk through the rubbish”. What we need is the love of the Father, His divine gift of love and vision. It is imparted to us through the Holy Spirit into our very souls, so that we might be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with him forever and ever in the next.

When we call out deep within for God’s help with these four areas of the serenity prayer, the Holy Spirit living within us will be our help! It is a moment by moment prayer, powerful in every way because we are not alone, Jesus is with us by the power of his Holy Spirit. That is good news!

We have a short meditation on the Serenity prayer which you can watch below. Do subscribe to Prayerscapes if you are enjoying these reflections on prayer, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

The Serenity Prayer (full version)

(attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr)

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right

If I surrender to His Will;

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.


How to lead an opening prayer in church

Praying Hands and Bible

Today I’m going to give you three pointers to help you when leading others in prayer. In many ways when leading a meeting it is more about who you are than what you say! This is not just true for meetings but for every time we congregate with others for a shared purpose. Here are some tips for opening a meeting with prayer:

  • God is constant, he is always present by his Holy Spirit, always gracious, always wise, loving and holy. We are the ones that change! It is imperative that we are truly present, that as we open a meeting in prayer, we are not ahead of ourselves focusing on outcomes, or behind ourselves worrying about past concerns. Whether it is a church meeting, a small group gathering, a trustee’s group, a Sunday school or family meeting…… be present. Try to pause, breathe, look around you, take in the moment before praying. This is a new moment to us and to God, be aware of that freshness and allow the presence of God to still your heart.
  • Secondly prepare if you have the time! Bring something creative. It doesn’t matter how small this is. Bringing something physical can really help others to focus on God and engage in the meeting. Visuals are a good idea. For example, it could be as simple as bringing a glass of water, then praying that this meeting would be “full of God’s presence”, that we would come “thirsty for unity”, or that we “would find God refreshing our hearts and minds in this time”.  You might like to wait on God and see if a picture comes to mind, and then describe what you see to help inspire others in prayer. Or you could print out an image ( is a great resource for copyright free images). Sometimes I bring some tranquil instrumental music to play in the background – this can help to still people’s hearts and focus on God. Or if you play an instrument consider leading a short worship song. Other creative options might be to find a poem to read (or ask someone else to read it) that inspires prayer, or even consider giving a short testimony about something God has done in your life recently. This could lead seamlessly into a prayer of thanks for everything that God is doing among us.
  • Thirdly you need to be aware of the qualities of unity and humility. These need to be evident in any prayer before you begin a meeting. God is always present with us by his Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:20), but we need to be open and present to Him. It is always good to practice coming before God ahead of opening a meeting. Come before him to confess any resentment, to admit any insecurities, to lay down your agenda and allow the Holy Spirit to cover and lead you. A people group will follow in the footsteps of their leader. If you have ill feelings that are festering underneath the surface these things may well effect the people you are leading. Sometimes we need to open in prayer in a very honest and real way. Remember that God works through the vulnerable and the weak. Take time out before you lead to come honestly before God and pour out your sins to Him. Come to Him and receive His forgiveness and love.

So here’s a summary of these three thoughts – be present, allow God to still your heart and soul before you pray. Secondly, be prepared. Consider coming with something creative that will inspire people as they pray. And thirdly, be humble. God blesses the humble in spirit, it’s in the Beatitudes! (Matthew 5:5)

The most important thought I want to leave with you is this. Remember that you are unique and your relationship with God is unique. Therefore, what you bring when you open a meeting will be unique. Don’t try to be anybody else! Relax and just be you and let the Holy Spirit move through the unique you that you are. And until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

p.s. If you need written prayers to say when opening a meeting, you may find this page useful.

Praying when Life is Desperate

Pen and ink painting by Julie Palmer of hooded figure

Today I want to ask a tough question. What happens when life throws us a curved ball and we find we can’t cope anymore? How do we find God, how do we connect with him, when life is desperate?

Firstly, if you are in this place my heart goes out to you. I truly believe that our heavenly Father responds directly to the distress of his children, so in an instant God is with you. He will understand by his Holy Spirit that your distress has frozen your responses, he does not need you to pray, but if you find the strength to cry out to him, he longs to listen. It breaks his heart to see you in such trauma, so much so that he has already covered and restored that very hurt, through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus. Always try to remember that God is outside our time frame, he sees the beginning and the end, he sees your future and inheritance in Christ and your place in eternity.

I can think of a few times in my life when I believe God has literally carried me through moments of extreme brokenness and suffering. He has, I believe, at these times held me together and taken all my weight upon himself to carry me. You may ask “how do I know Jesus carried me”?  because I am here writing this today. The Holy Spirit is at work in us, around us and ahead of us so no matter how dark life feels. The Lord of love, truth and hope is with us. I’m going to share with you three times in my life when I know this to have been true.

  • The first was a time of trauma suffered as a child. I did not pray, no one else knew to pray, so I just reacted and responded in a disjointed frozen way which became embedded in my soul.  Yet I can testify that the Holy Spirit led me through many dark times and placed so many people ahead of me that I eventually engaged in counselling and found freedom in my thirties. God uses us all to lead others through such darkness into light. I am so thankful for the faithfulness of those who helped me through this journey.
  • The second time was at the birth of my first child. Things were not going well for me or the baby during the labour and my husband and I were too distressed to pray. The Holy Spirit woke an old friend of mine at that precise time who did not know I was in labour and told her to pray. She prayed that I would have the strength to deliver the baby. I did, and he was OK, much to the surprise of the doctors and nurses.
  • Lastly, I had suffered a complication after childbirth that meant many years of pain, three procedures and one operation. I was anticipating a second operation hoping for healing, when I was prayed for by a gentle elderly lady at a church meeting and was healed instantly. I have had no pain for many years. I give this testimony tentatively as for six years I was prayed for but wasn’t healed. I know many of you will find yourselves in a similar place, but I can see the ways in which God saw me through that dark time. He will carry you, and we are told we should never stop asking for healing, and I trust you will know this hope.

By the grace of God, I pray that all those in a desperate place can feel loved and cared for by God, by friends and family and by their brothers and sisters in Christ. If you do feel alone in your suffering do seek out someone to speak with. Don’t suffer alone, the church is the very hands and feet of Jesus. Seek out the help you need. I thought I would share the following film “Tomorrow came”. It is my song of testimony that I wrote with my husband. There are times when we feel that tomorrow won’t come for us, but as you watch and draw near to God, as you seek out his people, there is new life and everlasting hope for you. I promise.

Thanks for connecting with us today at Prayerscapes. Do you have any encouraging stories of finding God in dark times? If so, please do write them down below. We’d love to hear them. And until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How to pray at night – bedtime prayers

Woman peacefully asleep on bed

Today I’m going to be sharing with you three things that I find really helpful to remember when I pray at bedtime.

Personally, I always try and pray to my Abba Father at night. I guess it evokes that security and protection you can feel as a child drifting off to sleep. I’d like to say that there is routine and consistency in the prayers I pray before bed. However, I have many ways I use depending on how things are for me. So here I’m going to share three different ways that I pray before sleep and you can pick and choose the ones that work for you. Our Abba Father won’t mind!

  • I have found that writing a prayer journal at this time of day can be a great way of connecting with God. I don’t date it like a diary or keep to a page a day! I guess if you are the kind of organised person you might want to do this. I find that as I pray this way, God then leads my heart. Sometimes a scripture or word comes into my mind that releases me, other times I allow God to remind my heart of others who need my prayer. Prayer journals are a lovely way to see the many ways God answers as you look back on them. We have a blog and video that you can watch on how to keep a prayer journals – follow this link to find out more.
  • The second way that I pray at bedtime is by praying as I drift off to sleep. There is a risk here as once the light is off and you snuggle down sleep might overtake you! When I pray this way, I tend to find that my prayers reflect my needs. If I have lots of worries, I won’t get to sleep early anyway. To be honest I think I generally pray this way when I am tired, exhausted or feeling overwhelmed. Much of this time is just spent allowing feelings to surface, asking for God to help in these areas and sometimes a little tear or two falls as well. Remember that in these times releasing your emotions is not a negative thing. It’s healthy for you, and the Holy Spirit will minister to you. He is our comforter! Just remember to keep being completely open to God. Give him your concerns, your hopes, your fears, and your dreams. God hears you and will respond to your prayers.
  • Lastly, for some reason or other I sometimes find I can’t pray. If this is so, I imagine myself falling asleep in God’s hands, curled up safe and secure. He holds all of me, His love enfolds me. This is enough in very broken times. Sometimes when we are feeling down or shameful we feel we can’t possibly connect with God. But this is a lie. God always wants to take time to embrace and love us, regardless of what has happened or how we are feeling.
Parent cradling infant - original artwork in pastels by Julie Palmer
“Held” – download a higher resolution version by clicking here

So in summary, remember these three ideas before bedtime – try keeping a prayer journal, or try starting one, it’s a great way of connecting with our living God. Try just pouring out your heart to God as you drift off to sleep. And if life is especially hard, just remind yourself that you are always in God’s care, regardless of how you feel, or what you have done or not done. God loves you! We might not always be able to talk to God, but God is always there for us.

We also have a short creative prayer video meditation that you can use before going to bed – click here to watch this. Do you have any ways of praying at night that you’d like to share with us? Do write them down below. And until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How to Receive God’s Peace

Small Boat on a wild sea

This week I’m going to be looking at God’s peace. What is it and how do we receive it?

Peace is as a gift from God; we hear about peace in bible as the ‘Peace that surpasses all understanding’ and as a blessing exchanged by the early Christians as ‘peace be with you’. So, as humans we can rest assured that when our bodies, minds and spirits are feeling disturbed, anxious or fearful, that God can impart peace by his Holy Spirit into our very souls.

I am going to take you through a step by step visualisation process that can be done individually, in pastoral care or within a small group situation.  Peace comes through being real with ourselves. Only when we acknowledge the storm can the Holy Spirit move to calm it.

  • Firstly, find a quiet moment to focus, and imagine yourself in a small boat, quite alone. How do you feel? What is the sea of your life like around you? I find visual pictures helpful. For me at the moment I feel unsteady in my boat. I know I carry underlying tension that makes it hard to relax. Sometimes it only takes just one area of our lives to become rocky for us to feel this way. My boat feels unstable. For me difficulties with my family and relationships are rocking my boat. For you if you feel unsteady it could be health issues, financial worries, loss or grief. Or perhaps it is disappointment or regret?
Little Boat on the sea
“Little Boat” –download a higher resolution version here
  • Staying with this picture, in that still or turbulent sea, place Jesus into your boat. Jesus is by your side. Sitting beside you is the author of life, the creator of heaven and earth, the Holy One, the Redeemer. Journeying with you is the one who loved you so much that he faced a horrific death yet conquered over that darkness and rose to life.  Feel His presence, the love and light He carries and allow Him to lead your thoughts and heart. Where is the still water? This still water might be the care of friends and family, or it might be the blessing of a focus like hobbies, passions and interests. These are Gods’ good gifts! To find peace sometimes we need to allow Jesus to hoist up our sails and to gently lead us into the harbour. In the roughest times we all need help to engage with rest and sleep, a hot bath, a comforting drink, the beauty of flowers or a sunset! I believe that the Holy Spirit works with us in a holistic way. He helps us engage with the gift of peace.
  • Now look at the cargo in the boat. What are you carrying? It could be precious cargo, children perhaps? Or a charitable work? Or perhaps a role or responsibility? Look further, is there any cargo weighing your boat down? Is there anything you don’t need to carry? In my little boat I do see precious cargo – children, passions and callings, roles and responsibilities. However, if I am honest, I see a great big sack of guilt! I’m going to give Jesus this guilt. You see it keeps arriving back in my boat! And as I pass it into the hand of the Lord it becomes lightweight dust. It’s nothing to Jesus! Why? Because he has conquered my guilt! He has paid the price for my mistakes and failings. Is there anything that you need to give him? Fear of the future? Shame from the past? Hurt that feels as fresh as the day you bore the pain? Disappointment that suffocates your aspirations and dreams? Name it and give it to Him. See it turn to dust……
Sailing boat in stormy waters
“Voyage” – download a higher resolution version here
  • Next, what do you need from Jesus to hoist your sails and move into that more peaceful harbour? There is always a harbour, no matter how turbulent our sea, how damaged the boat is or how frightened we feel! Jesus promises us peace in all places and at all times. What is the sail that will carry you? What does the wind of God’s Spirit need to blow on to propel you into that haven of God’s peace? On my sail I see the words “keep trusting in God’s love”. I allow Jesus to lift this sail high and I breathe in those words. For you it might be words of comfort such as “I am with you”, “you are chosen”, or a request such as  “I need you healing touch, release me from this depression”. It could be so many things. Where will your small boat sail to? Where is your harbour? Breathe in the love of God, allow hope to fill your sails.
Boat in still waters
“Harbour” – download a higher resolution version here
  • Lastly, imagine the boat now in the harbour. Create a picture of this in your mind. I cannot promise that you won’t once again feel the storm, the unsteadiness and fear. However, I can testify that the harbour of God’s peace will always be there. If you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you back into this haven he will. Because God’s love is deeper and wider and more powerful than we could ever fathom or understand no matter how wild the sea around us.    

4 Tips on How to Start a Prayer Journal

journal with ink pen

Today I’m going to be looking at prayer journals. I’ve found them to be an amazing gift in my journey with God, and I wanted to share with you four ideas for them that I have found useful.

I have always prayed in this way, so my home is filled with a variety of journals. I have kept them all as they are quite precious to me. There really is no right or wrong way to begin a prayer journal. How each of us do this will reflect our character, our Christian heritage and the season we are in. If I flick through the journals I kept before having a family they are much more ordered, well set out and creative than say one I kept when my children were young! But whichever is your way, neat and structured or spontaneous and creative, keeping a prayer journal can enrich and change your life on so many levels, so I really encourage you to start one if you haven’t yet.

I have found that writing brings out two differing facets of my soul when I focus on prayer in this way. Firstly, there is room to be very real and vunerable because it’s a private a place. It’s the sacred space between myself and God. It’s also a place where I find wisdom and insight as the Holy Spirit leads me, or as I meditate on scripture or hear Gods voice or vision for a given situation. I’ve found that writing my prayers down can help me to process experiences and sometimes unpack feelings. It can correct a wrong thinking pattern in me or reveal a new way to pray for a given situation.

So today I want to give you four ideas to help you keep your prayer journal with God.

  • The simplest way to begin is to search for a notebook that is personal to you. It may connect with your life circumstances, remind you of your hopes and dreams or have a colour or image that simply draws your attention. Place your journal somewhere where it will remind you to pray. Perhaps by your bedside or favourite chair? That’s really important as it needs to be somewhere you can see it, so you don’t forget to use it!

Just simply open and write the words “Dear God”……then see what pours out….if you are in a good place it might be thanks, or in a worried place an outpouring of thoughts. If you’re in a busy place a petition for help and peace and if a burdened place a prayer for a loved one. Don’t worry, it’s personal, so relax! Then read it back over in your mind or out loud, then simply end with love from ………. I have often signed mine ‘Grace’, it’s not my name but a pet name just between Abba Father and myself!

  • The second suggestion I have is similar but a more varied form of this, for those of us that either like structure or freedom! In your chosen journal you may choose to develop a structure for yourself. A good way to do this is to begin by a meditation on scripture, then thanksgiving and lastly petition. (Petition is a bit of a religious word which simply means something that you are asking God for). Meditating on scripture gives space for God to speak to us. Here’s a great one:-

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

That’s a simple verse but also very profound. It really helps me to connect with God.  Then, let your heart move to gratitude. Become aware of the good things that are in your life and write some of those down. These could be answers to prayer, or God’s provision in your life, or the love of friends or family. When you are in this place, then this is a good time to pray for needs and things that you are worried about. Remember to write those down as well. If you are the organised type, you could write them in point form. I tend to just keep writing!

  • If you are more of a creative free spirit, try creating a doodle. E.g a mix of drawings, colours, words and scripture which weave together to become your prayer to God in your own unique way.
  • Lastly, I keep a “Dream Book”. This is an idea that came out of a prophetic word given to me many years ago that I would be a dream machine! This is all about my big dreams for other people, they are often BIG prayers, for friends, family, neighbours etc…. these big dreams have often been things like finding love, conceiving a baby, healing from illness, release from debt. I just write these prayers once. I often read back through the prayers. Many have come true and some I still wait in prayer for!

So, those are four prayer journal ideas which you can try out now. Remember to keep your book visible. Try starting “Dear God” and see what pours out. Or perhaps you are a more organised type of person. Then start with scripture meditation, then thanksgiving, and then pray what is on your heart. Or make your prayers into doodles and colours. And lastly, don’t forget to try the “dream machine”. Dream big for those you love and treasure. Do you have some other ways of keeping journals? Do comment below and let us know your ideas.

I trust that wherever you find yourself in life that you will find ways in which to draw close to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Please do try these ways, give yourself grace in it all. At times I have used prayer journals regularly and wholeheartedly but there have been other seasons in my life where entries have been very intermittent and fragile. If you are in a desperate place, always speak out your feelings not only in prayer but to other brothers and sisters who can pray with you.  If that is hard maybe share your prayer journal with someone you feel safe with. May God richly bless you as you come to him. Don’t forget to let us know your comments and thoughts below, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

A Birthday Blessing

Balloons in sky

The way we celebrate each individual on the day they were born into this world is a beautiful thing. Some of the most magical birthdays I can recall are the early birthdays of my children. When a child is one or two years old there is no past for them to worry over, no future for hopes or fears to enter, no anticipation, expectation or disappointment. The overwhelming feeling of wonder for them is enormous. The candles, the gifts, it is all received in great joy! Then maybe tears…. but great joy again! I guess this is the way God would like birthdays to remain for us all, and how he loves to bless us on our special day.

Sadly, I think that the fallen world and our fallen feelings and thoughts tend to ebb away some of this jubilant emotion. If we are honest, it is much easier to celebrate other people’s birthdays than it is our own. This starts quite young. Even young children start to feel the slide. Sometimes it is a toy that’s advertised to be the best thing ever that is a let-down or the party girl who sees another friend’s dress to be prettier than hers, or the lad whose friend had a puppy for his birthday. Suddenly the Scalextric is second best! It is not long before comparison kicks in. By our teens it has morphed into self-rejection, and the feeling of not matching up. As we reach adulthood it will probably have grown up into a more rounded awareness of one’s own failings, mixed with a pinch of regret, and a bucket full of anxieties about finance, relationships, health or world affairs!

So how do we reclaim the birthday feeling our Abba father intended for us? Here are three suggestions that may help you:

Firstly, let’s include Him from the moment we wake, then take time to open our bible and hear His voice in scripture. Allow God your Father to fill your mind with hope and truth and light. Do this in the way that is most natural for you. Also, remember to take care of yourself! For some of us, sometimes the traditions of gathering together with family and friends, receiving gifts, birthday cake and surprises can feel like an onslaught. If this is hard for you, focus on how much others like to give to you, and try to enjoy it for their sakes.

Secondly, build in something into the day that is a moment just for you. It needs to be tailored uniquely around your preferences, whatever they are – a walk in the country, playing your favourite song etc. – a blessing that is just for you.

Lastly, there will always be four loved ones present with you on your birthday, no matter how lonely your circumstances have become. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit will be celebrating the day you were born! Open your heart up to them. Allow them to guide you and have your own little celebration. The truth is, you are worth celebrating, for you are unique. There will only be one of you who walks on the earth and there is a place for you in heaven that only you can fill. That is good news!

If you have a friend or loved one that is about to have a birthday, you might like to consider sending this blessing to them. You can even receive these words for yourself when your special day comes round!

Here are the words in this film:-

A Birthday Blessing

May happiness and love encircle this day,
And every blessing from heaven come your way.
May the warmth of loved ones lift your heart,
And your cup overflow with the love they impart.  

May fond memories bring you great joy and peace,
And hope fill your sails with the promise you seek.           
But most of all, may you truly know,
How you’re treasured and loved wherever you go.

Prayer for my Family

Family holding hands walking in a field together

Family is the most incredible place to reside, yet it is also the most difficult place to navigate. Living in close fellowship with others always requires us to become more real, more forgiving, more giving and more mature as individuals. There is much to be gained in terms of intimacy, security and nurture, yet also much at risk in terms of conflict, resentment and loss. It is as sons and daughters of the living God that we find the craving for this union, the search for oneness and the need for exclusivity. For we read in the bible that we are made after the image of our maker (Gen 1:27). Our very desires to be one in marriage echo the oneness that is central to the Trinity. And our longings to create a family and have children mirror the creative nature of the Holy Family (Gen 1:26).

Yet family is more than flesh and blood. It is those whom we walk with daily, the ones that get to know the real “us”, those with whom we feel bonded to and devoted to. The following prayer is one that covers and encircles those whom we call family. It is a blessing prayer, it rolls forever like a beautiful ocean wave over our dear ones. The extraordinary thing is that when we invite Jesus into our lives, he inhabits our daily family life by the power of his Holy Spirit, and his father becomes father over our families. May I encourage you to speak out this prayer of belonging, blessing and keeping over your loved ones now:-

Download this film in HD for a small sum by following this link.

Prayer for my family

Lord be beside us, every day
Guiding and leading us gently always.
Lord be above us, help us to see
The hope of the future, of all we could be.

Lord be beneath us, carry us when
We’re too shattered or tired to really have strength.
Lord be ahead of us, smoothing our paths
Protecting and blessing the places we pass.

Lord be behind us, healing our wounds,
Forgiving our mistakes and making us new.
Jesus, be within us, this family is yours
Now and forever, you are our Lord.

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