Jesus’ Model Prayer

Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. To this He gave a very simple model:

An address coupled with adoration

And several petitions for needs to meet

Then close with an adoration repeat

The Book of Common Prayer has rendered it in the following translation and format:

Our Father, which art in heaven, (Address)

Hallowed be thy Name. (Adoration)

Thy Kingdom come. (Petition 1)

Thy will be done in earth, (Petition 2)

As it is in heaven. (Petition 2 qualified with the standard to judge it)

Give us this day our daily bread. (Petition 3)

And forgive us our trespasses, (Petition 4)

 As we forgive them that trespass against us. (Petition 4 qualified with a standard)

 And lead us not into temptation, (Petition 5)

But deliver us from evil. (Petition 6)

 For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever. (Adoration)




It is easy to pray for me and mine

For it is “we” that are most oft on our minds

But there are others that need our prayers

Whose voices are sniffled by loads of cares

They may face threats to life and limb

Or merely be burdened by distress within

So let us recall what they need us to do

To step in ask God to care for them too


Oh, Come Emmanuel

Christmas, Shopping, Hamburg, Lights

It is a season when many feel the exuberance of the hunt. Finding that perfect gift or bargain becomes an end in itself. For others it is a time of fear and trepidation: the crowds, the expectations and the like weighing on them. Others still, remember a baby in a manger, three kings, a little lamb, and of course a little donkey.

The coming of the Christ-child becomes many things to many people, but its underlying message of Emmanuel is often lost. But the need of “God with us,” it is as important today as it was two thousand years ago.

Consumerism and the “hunt” underlies an emptiness which we feel needs filling. Fears and apprehensions – whether about the season, or racism, or Covid, or identity, etc. – still need the calming hand of God. It is also more than the trappings of a manger scene. That baby, whether accompanied by a lamb, little donkey, or panda bear (yes, I have seen one in a nativity play) was the ultimate gift of God’s own presence to a troubled human-kind. He came to redeem and comfort, to gift, and to be gifted.

Oh, come Emmanuel! Come and be the fulfilment of our sense of “missing something.” Come into our fears and anxieties and gently wipe them away. Come into our consciences and not just our decorations. Come Lord, into our lives.


A Tale of Four Doors: Acts Poem 12

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Liberation of St. Peter – Public Domain

Peter into prison thrown

And the saints for him did pray

For his salvation from the sword

That God would make a way

An angel of the Lord came to him

To lead him from captors free

And through the first and second doors

Then to the Iron Gate – Three

Into the city Peter did flee

To Mary’s house he made his way

And knocked upon that door – four

Behind which the church did pray

Rhoda to his beckoning she did attend

And his presence she made known

But despite their prayers the saints could not see

That he from custody had flown

Are we that way too?

Praying without expectation,

That God will answer our requests

As a rule and not the exception


Poem 12 based on Acts 12 for February Acts Poems

Simple Words

Religious, Hand, Bokeh, Kid, Praying, Child
image: Pixabay


When I was small, I mean really small, there were two copper plagues in my bedroom. They had pressed into the metal the image of a little child praying. The one, with the child on their knees at their bedside, had the bedtime prayer on it:

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

And if I should die before I wake

I pray the Lord my souls to take.

The other, as I remember it, had the child facing in the opposite direction with their hands folded at a table.  It bore the words of a mealtime prayer:

God is great, God is good.

Now we thank Him for our food.

These simple child-like prayers say so much.  They express everything that needs to be said, and with an innocence that is so powerful.  I have since then studied theology to the highest levels.  I have been in full time ministry, and now teach theology.  I have a highly developed theological vocabulary, and can argue apologetics until the cows come home.  But it is the simplicity of these, my earliest prayers that still speak to my heart.

Jesus challenged us to be like little children.  And it is that raw, pure faith of a child that we should all strive to be returning to.  Does that mean we shouldn’t be “mature” in our faith?  Of course not.  But, what it does require, is for us to explore exactly what that maturity looks like.  Maybe we might just find it on little copper plagues.


Mothers’ Fears, Mothers’ Tears

Tears, Sad, Cry, Woman, Girl, Art, Portrait, Blue Art


I had two very moving and very similar conversations earlier this week, one with a Black American woman and the other a White South African.  They resonate in my heart, as they are not isolated.  I had one almost identical with an African-American woman a couple of years ago as she prepared to return to the USA.   Why moving?  They are moving because these are godly women, wanting no more that what’s best for their families, safety for their children, and to be able to live their lives without being targeted just for the colour of their skin, or the perceived “otherness” prescribed on them by others. Each is in my prayers, and each needs to be stood up and protected by those of us who have the means.

The distant cries of those oppressed

Tears of  worried mothers distressed

They seek not to – political be

But just to live and  – be happy

Yet fears for their little ones

Their hearts do fill

Helplessness overwhelming 

They too often feel

Let us who have a voice to speak

Call out for the justice that they seek




With Burdens Great

Woman, Prayer, Praying, Christian


Injustice seems it’s everywhere

The world plagued with disease

Financial woes and online scams

And there are far more than just these

These pressures may press you down

Place weight upon you shoulders

But that makes it simpler to offer pleas

For they are best made on our knees




Writing Prompt Challenge:  on our knees




Praying For The Seeds Sown

Blur, Close-Up, Girl, Woman, Hands


The Guardian/Observer Group published an article today in which it was reported that the Covid-19 outbreak has led to an increase in the number of British adults turning their attention to matters spiritual.  According to a survey a quarter of adults have logged into online worship services, and twenty percent have “begun to pray.”

This is to the backdrop of a 15% drop in attendance in the Church of England in the past decade.  Various sources have noted that in 2018, 11% of the UK population attended church, and only 2 – 5% in the C of E (2018 Statistics For Mission).  Yet, today’s article shows that “One in five of those who have tuned into services in the past few weeks say they have never gone to church.”

Many of us have prayed for revival.  I am not suggesting that the dreadful disease is the “answer to our prayers,” but rather that it is giving we people of faith an opportunity to spread the word of God.

Let us continue in our prayers.  First of all for the health and safety of society.  We also need to pray for the recovery of the sick, and the comforting hand of God for those who mourn.  But we should also hold up the lives and souls of those who are joining us in our online devotions, and that the seeds that we are sowing there will be as those of that fall “on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:8).”


British public turn to prayer as one in four tune in to religious services