Exercise seems to be the buzz word these days. It is possible to get apps on our phone or programmes on the television or even visit a gym. Many books are being published on the subject. I think it is an excellent idea and my favourite method of exercising is through the television. I marvel as the tutor explains and demonstrates the moves which exercise various parts of our body. I can choose which parts need the most workout. Then life gets in the way and I miss a few days and then a few weeks. The small amount I exercise on a few days does me no good at all.

Does this describe my spiritual exercise as well? Do I communicate with God on a couple of days and then get too busy and forget? The Bible is a wonderful source of help and guidance but how much do I read it? My exercise with God needs daily renewing. We read in the Bible that Jesus left His friends to pray in a quiet place and at other times He took His friends with Him. If Jesus needed this communication with His Father, how much more do we!


Does God get tired of hearing requests? So much of our prayers are for healing for sick ones, praying for the souls of unsaved friends or coping with our own small problems. But we are probably thinking of God through our human minds. The Bible tells us, ‘Your ways are not My ways.’ With our friends we are wary not to burden them with our problems, we need to remember they have problems too.

For any friendship to survive we need to have as near a 50\50 relationship as possible. It is so very different with God. He has no problems that we need to share. Philippians 4:6 tells us ‘in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ I do believe that He wants communication with us, like a friend He loves to talk with us, but I notice the small yet important phrase, ‘with thanksgiving’ As the hymn writer says, ‘thank Him for all that is past and trust Him for all that’s to come.’ Joseph Hart. One of my father’s favourite hymns was ‘Trust and Obey.’

Disturbed Nights

As I’ve had a lot going on recently, my mind has been full and I’ve had a job sleeping. But in a strange way this has been a blessing. It has meant that the sleepless hours during the night can be spent in prayer. I’ve found there is so much to pray for. I have a short list of about ten people who are very much in need to prayer. Some don’t yet know the Lord and these I’m able to pray for every night. Others who are Christians are going through very hard times, coping with a parent suffering with dementia and a couple with an almost impossible house move with many legal problems.

Then I begin thinking about the day that has passed and the people I’ve spoken to or spent time with. Even those in good situations can be prayed for and those in difficult position prayed for even more. I’m able to reflect on the many blessings I’ve received and give thanks to God for them. I can spend time confessing my mistakes of the past day. My worries and concerns are then brought to the Lord.

This has become a very precious time to me and I usually get about four hours sleep before I wake and start praying. Of course, I often drift off to sleep during my praying time but my disturbed nights are not badly affecting me, rather I eventually wake feeling refreshed.

I Pray

The other day I was asked what I did towards a certain Christian work that was being done in our church. I replied, ‘I only pray.’ As you can imagine I was soon told off. There is no ‘only’ about praying. No church work would come to completion without those who pray for it. Prayer is an important way that God accomplishes His work. He wants to hear from us; He wants to talk with us. Prayer moves the hand that moves the world. It was Alfred Lord Tennyson who said’ ‘more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.’

It has been told that two old ladies in America prayed consistently for Billy Graham when he was a young lad and as we say the rest is history. We all know in our own lives that miracles have happened because we prayed. So I don’t now say ‘I only prayer.’ I say ‘I have the privilege of being able to pray.’


‘Why, my soul, are you discouraged? Why so disturbed within me?’ The psalmist in psalm 42:5 asks why at times we feel really down. It may be that there is no particular reason for it and we then have feelings of guilt. We have so many blessings and gifts from God that we think we should never be discouraged. At other times there are reasons for this depression with problems, illness or sickness.

We need to remember that God is not going to punish us because of how we feel. He is not there with a big stick. He loves us and wants the best for us. He knows only too well our weak and feeble state. It is at these times that we need to turn to Him. The hymn writer puts it so well –

‘Are we weak and heavy laden.

Is there trouble anywhere.

We should never be discouraged.

Take it to the Lord in prayer.’

‘Take it to the Lord in prayer.’

Sleep and Prayer

As I have a health condition which causes me to sleep a lot, I have to make sure that the rest of my lie is used profitably. When I used to go to work I always got up at 6.00 am as I had a long journey. Although well retired now I still get up at the same time, it has become a habit. It could be so easy to lie in bed for another half an hour.

Then what about my phone? I could easily spend an hour or more just scrolling. Nowadays there are very few messages which need an immediate reply Television! There is a great deal of rubbish and harmful things on the telly. I only need to see the headlines of the news not watch it three times a day. And some programmes are positively harmful for Christians.

So what should I do with the time I’m not wasting? Pray is a good answer, there can never be too much prayer. It is something that can be done in a short space of time or slow, deliberate and lengthy. God always to hear from us and there is never a shortage of things to pray for. As Paul urges us, ‘Pray without ceasing.’

God is Ahead of Me

If I’m directed to the same passage of scripture twice in the same day, I think God must be trying to get a message into my stubborn mind. As I only read two or three scriptures each day I pay very careful attention to the repeats.

This happened to me one day last week. I was directed to one particular scripture, firstly on paper and then on my mobile phone reading. I thought about it but felt it had no relevance to my particular situation. Then on the Sunday morning the preacher used the same passage. I was really confused; three repeated messages but no particular meaning to me.

Two days late an unexpected, unwelcome occurrence disrupted in my life. It was then I realised that God had spoken four times. The messages of comfort and assurance suddenly made sense as I now recalled the words that had been placed before me the previous week. Peace filled my mind and soul where I would have expected none. My God had gone before, He knew the end from the beginning.


Why do we humans worry about the problems which should be handed over to God? Our God is all-seeing and all-knowing, He knows the end from the beginning. He knows and understands every facet of a problem. The phrase ‘why worry when you can pray?’ I often turn into ‘Why pray when you can worry.’ Pray is the answer to our problems.

Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians ‘I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.’ Philippians 4:13 We can achieve so much more with God at our side, as we walk alongside Him. To let go is difficult for us. But we need to remember how fallible we are. At the moment i have a few problems which I tend to worry about in the night. With a real effort I try to turn my worries into prayer.

‘O what peace we often forfeit ….. all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.’ From ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus.’ Joseph Scrivener

Prayerful Sleep

I am blessed with sleeping soundly nearly every night. Even so I tend to wake up about four o clock and then finding it difficult to get back to sleep. I have now found a remedy.

When I wake I purposefully start to pray. I have a short list of people on my mind who I’ve not had time to pray for during the day. I never pray for myself or my problems at this time, only for others. Many nights I fall asleep before I get through the list. I then have to finish the prays before I get up in the morning. I’m sure God doesn’t mind me falling asleep as I have been spending time talking to Him. Maybe I’m doing what Paul says ‘Pray without ceasing.’

A Prayer and a Hug

While serving on the hospital chaplaincy welcome table I sometimes wonder if I’m’ much help for the Kingdom. Then this week I met a young lady whose sister had been taken seriously ill. She was devastated and what she wanted was a prayer and a hug.

I believe everyone has a God-shaped hole in their heart. When the ‘chips are down’ even if they’re unbelievers they are drawn to God and prayer. They don’t know how to say a prayer and feel it has more power if someone says it for them.

When there is a national tragedy it is acceptable and welcome for a minister to say a prayer. People who never darken the doors of a church will yearn for God too be contacted. on their behalf.