Help and prayers

'Prompts' to make us think appear in all sorts of unexpected places, including the New Civil Engineer (July 2021) letters page: 

The article on substandard emergency refuge areas. has prompted me to comment on how we reached the present position with smart motorways....  From personal experience I have regarded motorway hard shoulders as a bit like my Christian faith, providing help in times of trouble.  To manage without them is certainly not "smart".' (Frank Bedford)


I am reading Simon Loveday's The Bible for Grown-Ups: A new look at the Good Book.  It's not for the faint-hearted.  Part 2 Section 7 Who did Jesus think he was includes the following passage:  

'The final point is one we have not touched on before.  The teaching of Jesus as we have it in the Gospels is seen by those around him as quite surprising,  John the Baptist preaches a recognisable message of repentence, and behaves in a recognisable way - solitary, self-denying, ascetic: as joggers like to say, 'No pain, no gain.  But Jesus' message, as it comes down to us, did not conform to any pattern that his hearers recognised.  He obeyed the Law, but was relaxed about breaches of it; he performed miracles of healing, but did not insist on payment either in money or in repentance; he associated with the rural poor, but also with the urban rich; he lived a pure life, yet was not ashamed to keep company with drunks and prostitutes; his companions included numerous women and he seems to have treated them as equals.  Not everything he says is gentle and forgiving; his yoke is not always easy nor his burden always light; yet if we look at what struck his contemporaries about his message, it is hard to find anywhere else in the Bible such a gentle, inclusive, and loving vision.

What identity, what kind of person, do these clues point to?'


Take a few moments to ponder that.......


In Collins Big Book of Crosswords No.5 Puzzle 41 clue 5 Down 'Made a request to God' requires the answer 'Prayed'.


Is praying just about making requests?  When we met up with my brother Ernest and Helen for a pub meal the other evening, we gave thanks to God before we started to eat.  Later, the lady on our neighbouring table came over to say that it was so nice to see people saying grace - she thought that we must be Americans.


So let us give thanks that through the witness of others down the millenia, we have come to learn about God's plan for this otherwise incomprehensible world, that we have guidance for everyday living as well as the company and encouragement of fellow believers, and that we have something to look forward to:


We pray, Lord Jesus, for your appearing and Kingdom, that there may be an end to the turmoil and suffering we see around us.


With love in Jesus, 

Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we expect.

Sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want.

Sometimes we’d like a little help.

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Circumstances beyond our wildest dreams,

beyond our darkest imaginings.

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