Practical Advice

We gathered together in the corner of the lounge, a bare handful of people in a dark and depressed November evening, mildly weary and tired, busy with lots of other things on our minds and with the unspoken question “what on earth are we doing here?”.  It was a congregational mid-week meeting for prayer, a centuries old tradition, the reputed “power house” of the church and we had come with a dogged commitment to something we believed in even although at times our enthusiasm and our sanity was seriously in question. Our pastor led us and read from Paul’s second letter to the Christians in Thessalonica. Specifically, the final catalogue of practical advice in the last chapter  Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.” (CEV). It was something so beautiful and simple and intensely practical. It was one of these moments when a shaft of light suddenly breaks through into the gloom and disturbs the moribund weariness.

I went home and wrote these lines.

NEVER STOP PRAYING

“Never stop praying!”

But we leave it to the last

When there’s nothing left ..but to pray

When the crisis is already on us

When the water’s pouring in

When the cancer’s taken root

When the relationship is floundering

When the famine is already raging

When the war has begun

It’s then we stop and start to pray

When we’ve tried everything else

But

Lets pray

And be thankful

At the start of the day

Before we’ve seen it’s trouble

In health

Before we know of sickness

In ease

Before we come into discomfort

In happiness

Before we’ve tasted sorrow

In life

Before death comes knocking

 

Crawford Mackenzie

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