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Wednesday, 4 February 2015


A pile of Christmas cards sits at my elbow. Well, not much of a pile – just four or five. These are the ones we’ve pulled from the basket of cards received this last Christmas. We keep them in a basket and each morning pull one or two out and pray particularly for the people/person who sent it. It’s a way of continuing the connection, establishing the relationship, keeping up to date with those we care about.

When you don’t live in community geographically with friends and family you love, Christmas cards connect once a year but as they arrive during a time of particular busyness, it is nice to reflect on the words and sentiments and people at leisure during the next few months.

We then write to those we’ve prayed for and let them know and as we have done this through the years, we have often been amazed by comments that our words of encouragement arrived at just the moment they were needed. We have come to see the truth of the Biblical concept of lots – drawing lots – which always seemed so random until you start doing it in conjunction with God. We now take seriously the responsibility to pray for those whose cards come out, assuming there could be challenges or decisions or something going on in those dear peoples’ lives right now. 

It all serves to remind us how much the Lord cares for every detail of each one of us, and he delights when we join in with him to pass on blessing and reminders of his love. This exercise with the Christmas cards can sometimes seem slightly onerous and can be expensive when I don’t have email addresses, but it is satisfying and fruitful. I do believe in the power of prayer. I do believe that it’s impossible to pray and have nothing happen as a result. 

Jesus’ words are recorded in three of the four gospels, assuring his followers that ‘the very hairs of your head are all numbered’.  

In the early church, they needed to find a replacement disciple for Judas Iscariot. First they nominated two men and then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry...Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.’

Even the most random action, when preceded by prayer, becomes divinely guided. Glory to God.

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