Prayer for Today IDENTITY N/D/J
Prayer for Today is a quarterly prayer magazine and companion publication to The Word for Today. The vision of Prayer for Today is to equip and encourage people to pray more about issues that affect us, our community, our nation and our world...until we see change.
YOUR DONATION WILL HELP PRINT THE NEXT ISSUE IDENTITY ENCOURAGING YOU TO PRAY FOR CHANGE NOV/DEC/JAN 11 IS THE FOCUS OF THIS ISSUE, FEATURING: ARCHBISHOP OF YORK: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BRITISH? CELEBRATING OUR NATIONAL IDENTITY NICKY GUMBEL: ARE YOU FACING AN IDENTITY CRISIS? FINDING YOUR TRUE IDENTITY IN JESUS MARK STIBBE: REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE BECOMING A ROYAL SON OR DAUGHTER PLUS: Addressing gender balance in the church, Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, BibleFresh 2011, Prisons Week, real-life testimonies and resources UNITED CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS ucb.co.uk working with prayerforum.org and care.org.uk INTRO Over the years I have dealt with identity issues in a variety of settings. Sometimes it’s been how my identity has been perceived by others, being Welsh travelling to other countries. Other times through the humanitarian work I’ve done over the years, I have watched as an orphan comes to terms with their predicament and literally builds an identity of their own, carving out their stamp on the world. Prayer is one of those things we do that is more about our identity being found in God, petitioning Him with our concerns and heartaches, our fears and desires. What’s great about prayer is our spiritual identity can become a reflection of the wisdom and care God bestows on us each day - giving us the opportunity to display to the world a confidence and patience that can only originate from Heaven. I hope you enjoy this edition, we continue to work hard to produce a cutting-edge, wellbalanced publication. When the last edition came out we had a surge of more than 2,000 new subscribers so God is answering our prayer as Prayer for Today develops its own identity. Keep praying! CARL BRETTLE – EDITOR Real issues. ruestions. You q Straight answers. Paul Hammond Join Paul Hammond weekdays 9am-12pm on UCB UK. Available nationally on DAB digital radio and online at www.ucbmedia.co.uk UNITED CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS 2 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday ON THE COVER NOV / DEC / JAN 2011 ucb.co.uk 6 10 What does it mean to be British? - Archbishop of York Are you facing an identity crisis? - Nicky Gumbel 42 Remember who you are – Mark Stibbe IN THE MIDDLE 25 Daily prayer section – pull-out and keep FEATURES 4 What prayer means to… 12 Real-life testimony 14 Losing your identity for Jesus 16 Addressing gender balance in the Church 19 Biblefresh 2011 20 Honoured to be a Christian organisation 22 Who am I? 24 What’s happening at UCB? 41 Creative prayer 46 The journey every heart must take – Part 2 48 How to pray: Prisons Week 51 Real-life testimony 52 British national days of prayer in the 20th Century 55 Review 56 The Final Word… CONTENTS WHAT PRAYER MEANS TO... JOEL EDWARDS, INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR OF MICAH CHALLENGE INTERNATIONAL www.Micah2010.org P rayer doesn’t mean any one thing to me. It is a multi-layered experience with God. Prayer is a conversation running throughout the day at a level of engagement I’m not even conscious of. For substantial periods of time I’m muttering to God about trivialities and incidentialities. It may or may not be focused on a particular thing, but it doesn’t matter. Prayer is unexpected intimacy and intensity. It is when I‘m walking along somewhere and I have an urgent compulsion to talk with God, or it is when God crashes into a conversation even when I’m happily minding my own business. Prayer is a moment when I scream disrespectfully in staccato utterances that I don’t want anyone else to hear and in which, I think if I was God and he was me, I could be a bit annoyed with me! 4 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday Sometimes prayer just doesn’t happen when it should. To my amazement I find that in my discussing with God the fact that prayer doesn’t happen when it should, I find I’m praying by default! Recently, I was setting off in the morning and asking God to help me find the right connections that day, when God put in my direction individuals who were incredible responses to prayer. Only two weeks ago, I was in utter exasperation at not being able to get hold of a Pentecostal Church leader in the States to ask for support for Micah Challenge International. I had tried for two or three months without success. I prayed a brief prayer before picking up the phone one last time, and I found them on the other end of the line. This was the individual who opened up unexpected opportunities for Micah by wholeheartedly committing to the 10.10.10 Day of Prayer and Promise for the Poor. Prayer is life with God. FROM A BASKET OF GEMS BY MARK STIBBE What would happen if we treated our Bibles in the same way as we treat our mobile phones? WHAT IF we carried it around in our handbags or pockets? WHAT IF we flipped through it several times a day? WHAT IF we turned back to get it if we forgot it? WHAT IF we used it to receive messages? WHAT IF we treated it as though we could not live without it? WHAT IF we gave it to our children as a gift? WHAT IF we used it when we travelled? WHAT IF we used it in emergencies? We do not have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because of an unpaid bill. Jesus has already paid the bill – IN FULL. And just think – no missed calls! God hears them all. Deanna, Broadcaster Watch UCB TV on your mobile phone You can now watch UCB TV on most web enabled mobile phones. Try it today at www.yamgo.mobi/ucb UCB TV also available on Sky 586 and online at ucbmedia.co.uk/tv UNITED CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 5 FEATURE WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BRITISH? 6 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday JOHN SENTAMU ARCHBISHOP OF YORK H ave you ever thought what it means to be British? I could just as easily ask you if you’ve ever thought about what makes you the person you are today. Our identity is not just what we see on the outside, it is what comes from within. It comes from our outlook and our experience, not just from our breeding or surroundings. In Genesis chapter 12, God tells Abraham, ‘I will make of you a great nation… and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ The rest of the Old Testament explores how God fulfilled His promise and how the Hebrew nation continually needed to be reminded that their identity lay in their relationship with God. Moreover, they constantly forget that the purpose of identity in God is not just to reassure them, but rather to be an example to the nations around them, of how to live well before God. Their identity was to inform their relationships, both locally and internationally. When I was growing up in Uganda there was so much I admired about what it meant to be British. The British were a people who had a sense of fair play and a spirit of generosity. They had a society that played by the rules and respected that everyone had a part to play within it. When I was a child I used to look forward to receiving a gift that had ‘Made in England’ or ‘Made in Britain’ engraved on it – because I knew then that I had a product of great quality and worth, something that would stand the test of time. I would argue that we need to have a similar robustness not only with our national identity today, but also with our faith. We need to stand up for what we believe in, confident that it will withstand the pressures and probing that the world throws at it. We have a proud history and a proud future – let no-one take that away. To wear the flag of St George with pride is not a symbol of racism or exclusion. We need to reclaim the symbols and emblems of our nation from those that abuse them for their own ends. On 23rd April 2010, I joined a group of schoolchildren on the lawn at Bishopthorpe Palace in York to play cricket, eat gingerbread men and wave St George’s flags to celebrate our patron saint’s day. It was a wonderful moment and all very British! ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 7 In the same way we need to celebrate what makes us a Christian nation. We should celebrate the freedom we have to worship; the freedom we have to pray for our neighbours; and the responsibility we have to care for those around us. Symbols are valuable, but they are not the be all and end all. It is, of course, important that people should be allowed to wear a cross around their neck or a wear a union jack badge on their lapel in our country, but if someone is denied the right, or chooses not to express themselves in this way, it does not make them any less Christian or any less British. In 2007, I cut up my dog-collar in protest at the way Robert Mugabe was cutting up the national identity of the Zimbabwean people. My identity as a member of the clergy was tied up, partly, in my wearing of a dog-collar and I wanted to show solidarity with those oppressed in Zimbabwe. However just because my collar is now in several pieces, and I refuse to put on a new one in its place, does not mean I am not still an Archbishop! Our identity comes from our sense of who we are before God and before others. No-one can remove our nationhood, and no-one can remove our faith â€“ it is part of our very being. Just like that early Hebrew nation, there will be times when we need reminding about what it is to live well before God and before others. The challenge is to respond in a way that will honour God and the rich heritage of this nation. To be British is to be generous and kind-hearted. To be Christian is to love others no matter what their attitude or circumstances. No-one can ever take these things away from us. Rejoice in who you are. John Sentamu was born in Uganda in 1949. He practised law in Uganda before coming to the UK in 1974 where he read Theology at Cambridge. He was ordained in 1979 and served in London where he was appointed Bishop of Stepney in 1996, Bishop of Birmingham in 2002 and Archbishop of York in 2005. For more information visit www. archbishopofyork.org. JOIN IN PRAYER WITH THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK ON P29. 8 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday Are you struggling with what life is throwing at you? ng L rn r yo u in c to fa e ’r sta nd g up in th e po we r o f G o ci fa e ’r u yo e u d co nq u O work-c over.in dd ISTIAN UNITED 08 /12/ 29 28 :16: 12 CHR 1 ADC BRO ERS AST 2/4/09 UNI TED and conq O uer the g issue you’re facin 33 10:47: CHR ISTIAN BRO ADC ERS ou RS TE AS DC N IA D ITE UN RIST CH OA BR .indd -cover finance 1 rage in th e po w er of G od ’s m igh ver co DI AST disc p u O an ht nd ht mig ta ig e d’s s m th s to s er is of G ht n to stand up in the power mig od’s ar po G ea O ue e Le Learn to he in t up stand of r we nq co su ingv m o er c & r nNg ve D EFBITN A N C EUWNOERMKcP &oming i m L OY MEN cPoT A T I O T ISSU r e ES vT E M Learn ’ od and is e th SC men t-c 2/4ov er.in /09 12: dd 12: 1 12 OU RA t an d co nq ue r t he mi GE M UN ITE D CH iss ue y ou’ re fac ing ng EN T Try our series of encouraging booklets The Overcoming Series r.ind ve n-co atio mpt Te d RIST IAN BR OA DC AS TE RS 1 2/4/ 09 11 :28: 56 The Overcoming Series are 12 booklets tackling particular issues people face, by using 28 relevant readings from The Word For Today, articles from specifically chosen organisations and prayer points. Some of the titles include: Overcoming Fear, Overcoming Finance & Debt Issues, Overcoming Temptation and Overcoming Grief. To order these helpful booklets call 0845 60 40 401 today! FEATURE ARE YOU FACING AN IDENTITY ? NICKY GUMBEL H arvard psychologist Oliver Sapp offers this penetrating diagnosis of the human condition: ‘All of us have a basic intuitive feeling that once we were whole and well, at ease, at peace, at home in the world, totally united with the grounds of our being, but then we lost our primal, happy, innocent state and fell into the present sickness and suffering. We spend the rest of our lives searching for what we’ve lost. Perhaps one day we’ll find it.’ The all-pervading sense that Sapp describes is an ‘identity crisis’. Who are we? How can we find ourselves? 10 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday Our culture often gives a one-word answer to this question: More. To ‘find ourselves’ we need more money, more stuff, more sex, fame and power. A visit to the ‘Celebrity Biography’ shelf of your nearest bookshop soon reveals that this is deeply mistaken. The wealthy, popular and powerful of this world offer a startlingly unified warning. Those who seek More are forever eluded by another little word: Enough. We cannot find identity this way. Go now to the ‘Mind, Body, Spirit’ shelf, and you’ll find scores of self-help books proclaiming that identity is not discovered outwardly – by having more stuff, being more popular or wielding more power – but by looking deep within ourselves. We must love, believe in and make peace with ourselves. The diagnosis is good, but the cure is hopeless. It is ludicrous to try to ‘find ourselves’ by ourselves within ourselves. Turning to a third collection of books – The Bible – we find an answer that is wonderfully different from either of the above. In Ephesians 1:3–14 Paul tells us that we find identity not by outward pursuit, nor an inward journey, but by receiving gift after gift from someone else: Jesus Christ. His gifts are so profound that they transform and restore our identity. Paul writes ‘he predestined us to be adopted as his children.’ Under Roman law, if a man had no heir, he could ‘adopt’ a son. Through adoption the son gained a new family and status, becoming heir to everything that was his father’s - free of all prior debts. Who are we? Paul answers that in Christ we become God’s adopted sons and daughters, heirs of ‘the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure’. We can often feel expendable and interchangeable, both in our relationships and in the workplace. But Paul says ‘he chose us in Him before the creation of the world’. God didn’t choose us because of anything we had achieved or been, but before creation itself he chose to adopt us as his children. This identity is prior to anything we do and contrary to whatever we see in ourselves. Yet, Paul says, this gift of identity transforms our lives both inside and out. Whilst we await a future ‘redemption’ we have his Spirit, a ‘deposit guaranteeing our inheritance’. I once met a woman named Ildiko Pap. Once she was a homeless alcoholic, begging on the streets of Budapest. She was invited to an Alpha Course. She experienced God’s love. She was set free from alcoholism, found a job, and started life anew. I asked her, ‘What difference has Jesus made in your life?’ She replied, ‘He’s changed me from a beggar to a princess’. This is our identity and our inheritance in Christ. Nicky Gumbel is Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, an Anglican church in the heart of London www.htb.org.uk. He is also involved in The Alpha Course, a course for non-church goers to find out more about Jesus. www.alpha.org. Purchase Nicky Gumbel's book, 30 Days, from UCB2GO on p56. TESTIMONY THE PRESSURES OF THIS WORLD I have grown up knowing God, but I went to a non-Christian secondary school and it was immediately apparent that Christianity was not something you admitted and if you did you would be singled out. The pressures of trying to fit in and be something that you’re not, having friends and immediate friendship groups, it all ended up with our individuality and differences being taken from us and everyone becoming the same kind of person. Media and magazines say that you have to look, and be, a certain way if you want to be successful, to be happy and fit in. You have to be skinny, have perfect hair and perfect teeth. I ended up developing the eating disorder anorexia. I didn’t believe I looked good. I thought I looked horrible because that’s what the media said or other people around me. I ended up having to spend a couple of months in hospital due to the anorexia because I nearly died. Now every morning I begin the day with the Word4U2Day. It’s such a useful resource and helps me to live out the Bible in modern day society. God has completely changed my thinking about life, my family, and my relationships. It has helped me to learn more about God’s word, my heavenly Dad and myself. Being a Christian really is the best way to live, knowing God loves me and is on my side, makes waking up in the morning feel great! Even in the bad times, God is always there looking out for us. RACHEL H 12 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH BEATEN, HARASSED, TAKEN TO COURT… ...that’s the daily risk for millions of Christians denied basic religious freedoms I P O D V O0 N 7 01 2 ORDER RESOURCES 01993 885400 or visit: www.opendoorsuk.org/idop ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 13 IMAGE IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. LOSING YOUR IDENTITY FOR JESUS NINA KELLY, NATIONAL PRAYER COORDINATOR OPEN DOORS UK & IRELAND C hristians are forbidden by law to evangelise to Muslims in many countries, but in most of these places God steps in and directly reveals himself to those who are seeking him. Every year many discover the unconditional love of Christ through dreams, visions and satellite television. However, their traditional loss of family and community identity is just part of the price they have to pay for their new found faith. 14 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday Mona* came to Egypt to study. She was a devout Muslim and recalls, ‘I felt so sorry for my friends who talked about Jesus because I really believed they were going to hell. I used to wear the veil and I taught children the Qur’an. I was part of a group of ladies who met to study the Qur’an and was being groomed to be an Islamic evangelist. Eventually I got tired of it all as it seemed like a lot of effort for nothing; so I stopped praying and took off the veil. ‘Then God revealed Himself directly to me in a number of dreams and visions. In one dream, a persistent, buzzing fly wouldn’t leave, even though I kept reciting verses from the Qur’an, until a voice told me to command it to go in the name of Jesus Christ, the risen God.’ Through tears, Mona described how Jesus came to her in a vision. She concluded, ‘He stood really close and took the crown off His head and gave it to me. Eventually I was baptised and my sister has accepted the Lord too.’ However, Mona also spoke of the personal identity crisis that many believers experience in leaving their close-knit bonds of family, friends and shared values. Muslim-background believers often feel as though their roots have been pulled up and can feel bereft and alone. Building a new life can be very difficult as in many Muslim-majority countries, such as Egypt, Muslims cannot change their identity to Christian, although Christians can become Muslims. A Muslim-background believer girl cannot marry a Christian man as the children take on the religion of their father. If two Muslim-background believers marry each other, their identity papers cannot be changed to Christian, and their children’s identity papers are also identified as Muslim. These children are then treated as Muslims in schools and can become very confused and suffer from an identity crisis. Mona said, ‘Of course, children will also come out with the Christian teaching or songs whilst at school and be punished both by teachers and by other children, who can become very aggressive’. We have a freedom that we can easily take for granted. We can read our Bibles wherever we like and talk to our children and our friends about it. We can go to church and worship with other believers whenever we wish. It’s easy to forget that millions still don’t have this right to believe and they are looking to us to join them on our knees in prayer. Remember them in your personal and corporate prayers on the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted Church on Sunday 7th November 2010. * Name changed for security reasons Open Doors exists to strengthen persecuted Christians in the most hostile places. Contact Open Doors for a full set of International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) resources for use in both Sunday services and small groups www.opendoorsuk.org/IDOP or T: 01993 885400. Materials are adaptable for any time of the year and will include the Open Doors Right to Believe petition. JOIN IN PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH ON P26. ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 15 REV. ANDY DRAKE T he other day I found myself sitting through a primary school lesson. It had been a while (I’m a 39 year old man) but I nevertheless found myself instantly recognising the various elements. There were engaging songs with lots of actions, simplistic explanations from the teacher about the subject matter of the day, opportunities for interaction which all were encouraged to participate in, and a nice sense at the end that life was, well, nice. Which was all great, except I wasn’t in a primary school; I was in church! Christian Vision for Men (CVM) has been helping churches to redress the balance for the last 20 years. We’ve found that men can be passionate about Christ but absolutely crushed by their church experience. One man I spoke with recently (a leader in his church) was quite frank with me. He said, ‘I was in church the other Sunday and I thanked God that my shift pattern means I can only make one Sunday in four’. He’s not a bad man; in fact, he’s quite a good one! So what’s the problem? Life can be tough, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, but speaking for the men I have met, I’ve found that they want church to deal with reality through relevant preaching, clear worship and strong leadership. These things are often in short supply when churches instead Men across the UK are struggling with church focus on emotion-centric subjectivism, – it’s a fact. The average church attendance is a kind of tyrannical niceness. Speaking 70% female and only 30% male. Even accounting personally, I can’t count how many for women living longer than men, it seems the times I’ve heard a worship leader UK church is really failing to reach and retain men. share an anecdote about their feelings when all I have wanted to do is get on with praising and honouring the living God! 16 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday Men also need to feel they are a part of a band of brothers – just watch any male orientated movie for the proof, but they can find it hard to generate this kind of connection; they have to get past their fear of looking stupid first. Churches that have a male leader (not necessarily the minister) who understands men and easily gets their respect can be instrumental in building up such a group. The current cultural landscape only complicates things as men struggle to find their identity; are they meant to be breadwinners, or lad-dads, or metrosexuals, or retrosexuals, (in touch with their feelings or stoic through the pain)? Being a man can feel thankless. If we start listening to men, the church can help them, and in the process, help itself. CVM sometimes challenges churches to take a ‘man-audit’ of themselves. MAN-AUDIT YOUR CHURCH • Ask the questions: How does a man feel in this place? What obvious and subtle signals are being sent? Does there need to be change? • You can even invite an unchurched man to come and give you an honest appraisal! No church is too small or too far gone, and men can surprise us with their loyalty, humour and understanding. Let’s just not make it too hard for them. Andy Drake is the National Ministry Director for Christian Vision for Men, who aims to equip the church to introduce every man to Jesus Christ. For more info, visit www.cvmen.org.uk. JOIN IN PRAYING FOR MORE MEN IN OUR CHURCHES ON P38. If you liked this article, why not read 'Why Men Hate Going To Church' by David Murrow, available to purchase from UCB2GO on p57. ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 17 r yday e v E s d Wor g n i g a r Encou UCB FROM O A G IF T B R A DI A D L A ION ON NAT DO YOU NEED A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT? The Word For Today is a collection of Bible based notes to encourage you each day. They help you to get into Godâ€™s Word and include references for reading the Bible in a year. Call 0845 60 40 401 to get your FREE copy of The Word For Today or tick the box on the form at the back of Prayer For Today. 18 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday BIBLEFRESH 2011 WHAT PLACE DOES THE BIBLE HAVE IN THE UK CHURCH TODAY? IS IT DUTIFULLY TAKEN TO PRAYER MEETINGS ONLY TO REMAIN UNOPENED BESIDE US? HAS OUR TEACHING VEERED AWAY FROM GRAPPLING WITH THE TOUGHER PASSAGES? HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THE VALUE OF THESE ANCIENT WORDS? According to recent research only a third of churchgoers read the Bible daily and only two-thirds reported that the Bible was regularly taught at their churches. As a consequence many members of the church are lacking confidence in their understanding of the Bible. What can be done to rebuild passion for the words of eternal life? Perhaps denominations, festivals, Bible colleges, publishers and ministries could work together to encourage the Church to focus on the Bible in 2011. They could provide resources, special teaching days and evenings and creative experiences to help even the youngest Christian to understand and love God’s Word – and so to live changed lives. This is the vision of Biblefresh. On the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, we are asking churches to take four steps: to read the Bible together as a church, to invest in training for the whole church, to raise money to translate the Bible for those without it, and to help people experience the Bible in new and creative ways. So why not join in with Biblefresh in 2011? To sign up as a church, and for more information and a whole host of resources, articles, and videos, go to our website: www.biblefresh.com. ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 19 HONOURED TO BE A CHRISTIAN ORGANISATION MARIANNE CLOUGH CHRISTIANS AGAINST POVERTY “H ow do you get away with being so Christian?” CAP was recently asked at a meeting with MPs. “Well,” replied the charity’s founder John Kirkby, “When you are drowning you are just happy that someone has thrown you a lifebelt. You just grab it. You don’t read the words on it first. It is the same with Christians Against Poverty. People from the outside looking in expect our name to put people off from wanting our help. This is not echoed in the reality of what we find. You can read the words on the lifebelt at your leisure.” CAP is honoured to be a Christian organisation. We make no excuses for offering to pray with clients. They are in huge need and often carrying enormous stress built up over time. It is a very natural thing for our debt coaches to ask God to bring them peace and new research shows 77 per cent of them “appreciated it”. If they say “no”, we help them just the same. This positive and confident approach can really be life-changing for our clients. Rebecca was full of self-loathing and was convinced her financial problems displayed what a bad mother she was. She was so desperate she had even thought of putting her daughter up for adoption. “Day and night I would think of ways to try and solve our debt problems. I thought of doing illegal stuff, I thought about suicide, I thought about trying to skip the country and I thought about everything else in between all of these things. My brain was a heap of mess. I was unable to function, scared to answer my phone and too worried to open the front door. I was absolutely ashamed and full of self-hatred.” “We had seen other debt advice companies before and they were useless and belittlingI expected the same. Something else happened instead: Lynne bounced through our door. I’ll never forget the big smile on her face and her first words to me. “Don’t worry. We’re here now, we’re here to help”. ‘Wow! I thought, Wow!’. What a greeting! What a magical person! There I was, scum of the earth, completely spat out and this lovely lady was being kind to me. “ Rebecca has continued to work with CAP and is looking forward to becoming debt free. “What I can’t express in words is the overwhelming compassion and unforgettable kindness that has not only saved our lives but also given us a sense of belonging, meaning and a reason to carry on. Knowing that even though it’s tough sometimes, that it is a fight worth fighting. Knowing that humanity is not lost. “ • All those people – like Rebecca - needing CAP’s 20 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday PLEASE PRAY FOR: support and expertise, that they would hear about our work and have the courage to get in touch. • Thank God for His provision for this rapidly growing operation and ask for this to continue and for the support of the church in this. Christians Against Poverty is a debt counselling charity offering hope and a solution free of charge. It also trains churches to run the CAP Money course which teaches people how to draw up a household budget and stick to it. For more info, visit www.capuk.org. • Strength and stamina for all our staff who work directly with clients. • God’s protection as we continue unashamedly to place Him in the centre of what we do. ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 21 SHEILA HENDLEY T his is a question that each human being will ask at some point in their life and involves issues like – “What is life really about? What is the purpose of my life and what happens when I die?” The good news is that we are not just a random collection of atoms that come together by accident but we were created, planned, chosen and carefully put together and created in the image of the most amazing personality of the universe, God. In Genesis 1:26, God says: ‘Let us make man in our own image.’ This means that like the Godhead we have three parts yet we are one – We were created as spiritual beings. God breathed His Spirit into Adam so that he could commune with God. We have a soul which is made up of our mind, emotions and our will; and we have a body – the physical part of us; the part that people see. We are indeed, fearfully and wonderfully made. WHO AM I? 22 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday When God created human beings He gave us five main attributes. We were created: 1. IN HIS IMAGE 2. WITH FREE WILL 3. TO BE SPIRITUAL BEINGS 4. TO BE IN RELATIONSHIP TO GOD 5. TO HAVE DOMINION OVER THE EARTH It is absolutely great! Or as God said it ‘It was very good’. No insecurity, no feelings of guilt or shame, just a total sense of acceptance, security, belonging to God and to each other. Then the devil, the father of lies, managed to deceive Eve into believing a lie instead of continuing in obedience to God’s truth. He made them feel that God was not giving them the best, that He was withholding something that was very desirable, the ability to ‘be like God’. This act of disobedience by the first human beings had severe consequences for the rest of us. For out of the five attributes God had given only two remained: 1. WE ARE STILL CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE 2. WE STILL HAVE FREE WILL 3. GOD WITHDREW HIS SPIRIT - THAT IS WHY WE ARE BORN SPIRITUALLY DEAD 4. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WAS BROKEN 5. SATAN BECAME THE ILLEGAL RULER OF PLANET EARTH When we come to Christ three and four are restored to us and five will be fully restored at the return of Jesus Christ. When we come to Christ, we start to live out of our true identity; sons and daughters of a powerful and loving heavenly Father. Satan continues to encourage us to live an image, getting our worth from externals, designer clothes, the cars we drive, the perfume we put on. Make a choice today and discover your true identity, then you don’t need ‘image’ because inside you know who you are. You are the apple of His eye! Sheila Hendley is an accomplished speaker and Director of Academy for Life, an urban Bible school to equip and train individual Christians and Churches. She is also a trustee of the World Prayer Centre, Birmingham. For more information www.academyforlifeuk.com. JOIN IN PRAYING FOR IDENTITY ON P30 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 23 WHATâ€™S HAPPENING AT UCB BROADCAST YOUR PRAYERS TO THE NATION I n 2009, UCB began broadcasting Christian radio to the whole nation fulfilling our vision of 23 years. We are so excited to be celebrating our first year of national broadcasting. In recognition of this you are invited to participate in two special events. We want to hear from you! Both events can be heard on our three radio stations. You can listen through a DAB radio set or online through your computer by visiting www.ucbmedia.co.uk. 24 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday The first event is a special day of Prayer and Praise which takes place on 1st November 2010. On this special occasion we want you, our listener, to share your prayers of praise and thanksgiving on air with the whole nation. This is your opportunity to bless others as you have been blessed. Every day our professional radio presenters touch others with their words of encouragement ... and now it is your turn. Listen in on November 1st for details of how to get in touch. The second event takes place on November 9th, 10th & 11th 2010. For three days we will be doing things a little differently on air. We will be celebrating, chatting with some very special guests, appealing for funds to renew our DAB broadcasting licence, letting our hair down and generally doing things we donâ€™t normally do. We hope you will mark your diary and join us on the airwaves November 9th and 10th for some laughter, lightness and surprises. NOV / DEC / JAN 2011 In this section of Prayer for Today, you will find daily prayers that highlight specific topics and issues that affect our personal lives, relationships, communities, nation and world. We hope that these short prayers will encourage you to not only pray for these issues, but also to act in your family, community, city and nation. We believe that prayer and action go hand in hand and that the power of God is released in amazing ways when we pray together. Letâ€™s be the hands and feet that Jesus uses to reach out today! NOVEMBER NOV MONDAY 1ST NOV PSALM 86:16-17 MUSLIM BACKGROUND BELIEVERS IN EGYPT Lord, we pray for Egyptian Christians from Muslim backgrounds seeking to have their change of religion recorded in their identity documents. Grant them favour with the authorities, and protection from reprisals from anyone who opposes their faith. TUESDAY 2ND NOV PSALM 70:5 OPPORTUNITIES FOR MUSLIM BACKGROUND BELIEVERS Father, we ask for protection for Maher and his daughter Dinah in Egypt, following Maher’s request to have his religion changed on his ID card. Clear the way for them to live a normal life again, we pray. WEDNESDAY 3RD NOV PSALM 118:5-6 UZBEKISTAN Lord, we thank You for the many Uzbeki people who found Jesus when their nation’ gained independence from the USSR. Strengthen them now, as they face persecution from those who believe that ‘traditional’ Uzbeks should be Muslims. READ ABOUT THE PERSECUTED CHURCH ON P14 Source: www.opendoorsuk.org THURSDAY 4TH NOV PS 119:161 AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN Lord, we pray for Habib and his family, living among the Taliban and fearing for their lives. Give them strength to trust You each day. Lord, work by Your Spirit to bring many more to faith in this troubled region. FRIDAY 5TH NOV PSALM 120:1-2 PAKISTAN Father, we ask that You will bring an end to the abuse of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which seem often to be used without evidence or justice, just to avenge Christians and other minority groups. SATURDAY 6TH NOV PRAYING FOR UCB Pray for God’s blessing for the UCB Shareathon which will broadcast live on UCB UK and UCB Inspirational on the 9-11th November. We pray for creativity and inspiration for all those involved this coming week. SUNDAY 7TH NOV PSALM 121:1-2 NIGERIA The Nigerian government claims freedom of religion, yet persecution seems to go on unchecked. Today, on this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, we pray that believers in countries like Nigeria will find hope and a voice. PRAYER CHALLENGE: 26 PICK A PERSECUTED NATION/PEOPLE GROUP AND PRAY FOR PROTECTION & STRENGTH. The daily prayer section is a pull-out section of Prayer for Today magazine. MONDAY 8TH NOV PSALM 68:5 PRISONER’S LOVED ONES When someone goes to prison, their loved ones often suffer from isolation and ostracism. Pray that God will give them courage to reach out for help, and friends who will stand with them no matter what. TUESDAY 9TH NOV PSALM 68:6 FINDING JESUS For many prisoners, the greatest challenge is to understand that fulfilment comes when we leave our own ways of handling life and seek God’s help. Pray that they will have the courage to make that life-changing choice today. SATURDAY 13TH NOV PRAYING FOR UCB UCB TV is now available to virtually all mobile phones with internet across the globe. Father, Thank You for this wonderful breakthrough. We ask that You will use this technology to touch the lives of millions of people in every country of the world. READ ABOUT PRISONS WEEK 2010 ON P48 NOV WEDNESDAY 10TH NOV PSALM 68:9 PRISON CHAPLAINS Prison chaplains often have to work in stressful, challenging environments. Pray that God will give them an abundant measure of His grace, strength and wisdom, so that they will know how best to support those in their care. FRIDAY 12TH NOV PSALM 68:19 AFTERCARE FOR PRISONERS Pray for the Community Chaplaincy and ‘Caring for ex-offenders’ initiatives, that they will be given all the support and funding they need, and that their work will be effective in helping recently-released prisoners not to re-offend. THURSDAY 11TH NOV PSALM 68:18 PRISON REFORM Pray for those with power and influence to make changes to our penal system; that God will give them His wisdom to find imaginative, effective solutions to the problems of crime and violence in our communities. PRAYER CHALLENGE: FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR LOCAL PRISON AND COMMIT TO PRAYING REGULARLY FOR IT, THE STAFF AND INMATES. 27 NOV SUNDAY 14TH NOV PSALM 116:14-15 REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY Sovereign Lord, we remember today the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in war, particularly those who have died on Operation in Afghanistan in the past year. Grant Your comfort to friends and loved ones who grieve. THURSDAY 18TH NOV PS. 116:16-18 ENCOURAGING CHURCH LEADERS Pray for church leaders - along with their spouses and children – especially those under particular pressure. Ask God to confirm them in their calling, and to give them a fresh infilling of His love, hope and faith. MONDAY 15TH NOV PSALM 116:3-4 REMEMBERING OUR FORCES Pray for all those in the armed forces, especially those who are on active service at this time. Intercede for their safety, and ask that God would grant them spiritual insight, comfort and strength in times of trial. FRIDAY 19TH NOV PSALM 117:2 APPRECIATING NHS STAFF Pray for NHS employees and other public sector workers who are subjected to rudeness, abuse and violence at work. Ask God to protect them, help them remain calm, and remind them that their work is valued by so many. TUESDAY 16TH NOV PSALM 116:5-6 UNSUNG HERO Remember those you know who, for little pay, undertake unpleasant and menial tasks in our society. Ask God to prompt you to express your appreciation for what they do and to offer friendship, just as Jesus would. SATURDAY 20TH NOV PRAYING FOR UCB Lord we thank you for the Facilities department at UCB. We pray that you will bless them as they continue to keep UCB’s facilities functioning behind the scene. We pray for continued safety as our drivers spend many hours on the motorways collecting and delivering guests. WEDNESDAY 17TH NOV PS. 116:7-9 PEOPLE IN SUPPORTING ROLES Thank You, Father, for people with those crucial gifts of administration and practical help, who support the work of many others. Please grant them a deep satisfaction and sense of fulfilment in knowing that what they do behind the scenes is significant - and pleasing to You. PRAYER CHALLENGE: 28 Source: www.care.org.uk PRAY FOR YOUR GP SURGERY TODAY. FOR STRENGTH TO PERSEVERE AND THAT THEY WILL BE APPRECIATED FOR ALL THEY DO. THURSDAY 25TH NOV MATT 5:14-16 LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE Lord Jesus, who sends us to the nations, give us courage in adversity, hope in disappointment and life in the midst of despair. May Your light shine through us that all may come to know You as Lord and God. MONDAY 22ND NOV GEN 12:1-3 BLESS THE NATIONS Lord of the nations, we cry out to You for the oppressed and fearful. May the strong know how to protect the weak, the rich how to bless the poor, that all nations might live in godliness and peace. FRIDAY 26TH NOV REV 21:7 CHILD OF GOD Heavenly Father, thank You that You created me to reflect Your glory. Help me to remain faithful to You, and to remain firm in my identity as Your child, that Your name may be honoured in all that I do. TUESDAY 23RD NOV GEN 1:27 CREATED IN HIS IMAGE Heavenly Father, we pray for those places where Your image is not honoured in others. We pray for those who have been exploited and downtrodden. Shine Your light in their darkness, that they might know Your freedom and restoration. SATURDAY 27TH NOV PRAYING FOR UCB The Supporter Care team are usually the people that answer calls and correspondence made to UCB. We thank You for their valuable contribution to the UCB family. We pray that You will help them to be positive, helpful and caring even on days when they feel far from it. WEDNESDAY 24TH NOV 1 COR 12:27 ONE CHURCH Lord of the Church, we long for the day when Your people will be seen to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Help us to live out our faith in love for one another and for You. NOV SUNDAY 21ST NOV JER 31:1 BLESS FAMILIES Heavenly Father, we ask that You would watch over all families. Bless them in their joys and walk with them in their difficulties, that all may flourish and become the family that You have created them to be. READ THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK’S ARTICLE ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BRITISH ON P6 Source: www.archbishopofyork.org PRAYER CHALLENGE: READ EPHESIANS 1:3-14 & WRITE A LIST OF ALL THE THINGS GOD’S WORD SAYS YOU ARE AS HIS CHILD. THANK HIM FOR EACH IN TURN. 29 SUNDAY 28TH NOV 2 COR 5:17 A NEW CREATION Jesus, Thank You that You made me a new creation, dealing with my past on the cross. Help me co-operate with Your Holy Spirit, taking control of my mind, my thoughts and my emotions so that I can become like You. DEC MONDAY 29TH NOV EPH 2:10 SEATED IN HEAVENLY PLACES Dear Lord, Thank You that I can be certain that when I pray I have access to Your power and authority. Your victory on the cross has defeated the enemy and I can reign with You now and throughout eternity. TUESDAY 30TH NOV PHIL 4:13 CHRIST GIVES ME STRENGTH Dear Lord, Thank You that in You I can do all things. Help me to look for You in every situation, trusting You to guide me. Help me not to panic today but to open my heart to Your peace. DECEMBER WEDNESDAY 1ST DEC 1 SAM 17:45 GOD GIVES US THE VICTORY Lord, help me to exercise faith today with my ‘Goliaths’ - the giants of despair, addiction, financial debts, bereavement or fear. Thank You that You are bigger than my giants, and that You have already given me the victory. THURSDAY 2ND DEC GEN 50:20 WHAT YOU MEANT FOR EVIL GOD MEANT FOR GOOD Dear Lord, help me to forgive all those who have hurt and abused me, and help me to believe the truth that my destiny is not determined by my past but by Your sovereign will. FRIDAY 3RD DEC ROM 8:28 ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD Father, help me to trust that You are always in control, even when everything seems to be going wrong. Help me to welcome Your work in my life, even when it seems to be less than good. SATURDAY 4TH DEC PRAYING FOR UCB Father, thank You for the many contributors and writers that help to make Prayer for Today magazine happen. We pray that You will open doors and create editorial opportunities for future issues that will speak powerfully into the lives of its readers. Source: www.academyforlifeuk.com PRAYER CHALLENGE: 30 CONTACT SOMEONE YOU KNOW WHO IS STRUGGLING TO BELIEVE THAT GOD CAN USE THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES FOR GOOD AND GIVE THEM A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT TODAY. SUNDAY 5TH DEC 1 TIM 6:6-7 OVERCOMING MATERIALISM Lord, please reveal to me what has a hold over my life. Help me to see how materialism might be at work in me, and help me to make sure it never becomes an obstacle to my relationship with You. MONDAY 6TH DEC PSALM 23:1 THE PRISON OF WANT Father, thank You for everything You have done in my life: for dying on the cross for me, and providing me with an eternal future with You. Nothing I can have in this life could ever compare to this. WEDNESDAY 8TH DEC 1 TIM 6:8 BE CONTENT God, in a world where the media tells me my life is not complete without a certain product or brand, help me to be content with what I have. Protect me from letting the desire for possessions become an obsession. FRIDAY 10TH DEC PHIL 6:23 GIFTS FROM OUR FATHER Father, at this hectic time of festive preparation, thank You for Your wonderful gifts. No matter which season I may be in, help me to receive and embrace Your peace, love and grace amidst the busyness. SATURDAY 11TH DEC PRAYING FOR UCB Pray for a good measure of health and strength for all the UCB staff and volunteers and for Godâ€™s divine protection and blessing upon them and their families during the Christmas period. DEC TUESDAY 7TH DEC 1 TIM 6:9 EXERCISING RESTRAINT Lord, I know that my decisions are sometimes based upon greed and selfishness, but I pray that You will help me see that You know what is best for me and what will build my character and bring me peace. THURSDAY 9TH DEC JAMES 2:17 GOOD STEWARDSHIP Help me Lord, to identify areas in my life where I need to exercise faith for Your supernatural provision. Give me the wisdom and discipline I need to be a good steward of all that You give me. Source: www.ucb.co.uk, Overcoming Series NEED PRAYER? Call UCB Prayerline on 0845 456 7729 (UK) or 1890 940 300 (ROI) (Avg call length 5 mins) PRAYER CHALLENGE: BUYING GIFTS IS A PRAYER. THIS YEAR, BUY GIFTS FOR LOVED ONES WHICH MIGHT TELL THEM SOMETHING OF WHY YOU LOVE THEM AND WHAT YOU ARE PRAYING FOR THEM. 31 SUNDAY 12TH DEC LUKE 1:68 CAROL SERVICES Pray for those involved in church carol services in the coming weeks, that those communicating the gospel will do so with clarity, and that those attending will allow the message of Jesus to impact their lives. DEC MONDAY 13TH DEC LUKE 1:73-74 CHRISTMAS CARE FOR THE ELDERLY Pray for those involved in providing extra care for the homeless this Christmas, opening shelters and other community facilities, to offer food, accommodation and support. Pray for the provision of all the finances and volunteers they need. TUESDAY 14TH DEC LUKE 1:75 WITNESS AT WORK Pray for Christmas celebrations in the workplaces in your community, that peace and integrity will reign, and that the Christians involved will forge new friendships with their colleagues, as well as finding opportunities to share their faith. WEDNESDAY 15TH DEC LUKE 1:77 TELLING IT ON THE STREETS Pray for those who will communicate the Christmas story on our streets through music and art. Whether believers or not, pray that they will understand its message of hope and joy, and will communicate it loud and clear. THURSDAY 16TH DEC LUKE 1:78-79 VISITING HOMES AND HOSPITALS Pray for groups of carol singers visiting hospitals and residential homes this Christmas, that their talents will bring beauty and laughter, and that they themselves will leave with a deeper compassion for the sick and elderly in their community. FRIDAY 17TH DEC LUKE 1:80a CHRISTMAS PRESENTATIONS IN SCHOOLS Whether traditional nativities or musicals about lobsters and spaceships, pray for all those children taking part in Christmas shows this year, that alongside the fun, they will also gain a deeper understanding of what Christmas is really all about. SATURDAY 18TH DEC PRAYING FOR UCB Father we pray at this special season, that the resources that UCB send out will be given to those people who would normally not give you a thought and that it will be a useful tool to bring someone to an understanding of who You are. Source: www.24-7prayer.com PRAYER CHALLENGE: 32 UCB… CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF SPREADING THE WORD OF GOD. Together we can continue reaching people with God’s Word. Please prayerfully consider setting up a £2.50 per month Direct Debit. Call 0845 60 40 401. PRAY FOR A CAROL SINGER. NEXT TIME YOU SEE A GROUP SINGING OR PLAYING IN THE STREET, WHY NOT ASK IF YOU CAN PRAY FOR THEM. SUNDAY 19TH DEC PSALM 52:15-16 A LONELY CHRISTMAS Pray for those in your community who will be alone this Christmas; that God will warm and accompany them, and that His Church will play its part in reaching out to express His love to them. MONDAY 20TH DEC PSALM 147:3 GRIEVING ALONE Pray for those for whom the weeks ahead will be marred by the ache of grief and loss. May they know the company and comfort of the Holy Spirit, and, as the season passes, a deeper healing from God. WEDNESDAY 22ND DEC MATT 25:34 –36 FACING CHRISTMAS WITHOUT A HOME Pray for those who will spend Christmas on the streets; that they will know that there is one who loves and values them. If you see someone in that situation over Christmas, why not stop and talk to them. FRIDAY 24TH DEC PSALM 139: 1-2 HIDDEN LONELINESS Pray for those who are trapped in ‘successful lives’, but who feel a painful lack of depth in their relationships; that God will strip back appearances and speak truth into the part of their heart which is missing out on intimacy. SATURDAY 25TH DEC ISA 42:6-7 CHRISTMAS DAY Pray for those being held hostage today, that their families will know God’s comfort in their fear and loss, and that they themselves will find new hope from God for breakthrough in their situation today. DEC TUESDAY 21ST DEC MATT 28: 20 ELDERLY AND ISOLATED Pray for the elderly who feel forgotten and lonely. Ask God to grant His Shalom to their days and nights. Why not invite an elderly person to share Christmas day with you, or drop in with a card and a gift. THURSDAY 23RD DEC HEB 13: 1-3 SEPARATED BY PRISON Pray for the children of prisoners this Christmas, that they will be surrounded by family and friends who love and care for them. To help practically, why not contact the Prison Fellowship, who work to support prisoners and their families. Source: www.mustardtree.co.uk PRAYER CHALLENGE: IS THERE SOMEONE YOU KNOW WHO IS FACING CHRISTMAS ALONE? PRAY THAT THEY WILL GET AN INVITE TO SHARE CHRISTMAS WITH FAMILY THIS YEAR. 33 DEC SUNDAY 26TH DEC 1 THES 5:16-18 THANKSGIVING A WAY OF LIFE Father, thank You that You made me, and that You command me to be thankful, not for everything but in everything, because in everything You are with me. Teach me, Lord, to live out this thankfulness throughout my life. THURSDAY 30TH DEC PS 136:2 GIVE THANKS TO THE GOD OF GODS There are many gods in this world and many things which people choose to worship. Today, acknowledge God as the one true and living God, supreme over everything. Ask Him to rule and reign in every part of your life. MONDAY 27TH DEC LUKE 2:1-7 THANKSGIVING FOR OUR HOMES Thank God for His provision of the home He has given you to live in throughout your life. Thank Him for your current home, whether humble or elegant, it is His provision for you at this time. FRIDAY 31ST DEC PS 136:23-26 GOD’S HELP IN YOUR LIFE Whatever this year has brought, God is faithful. He is the one who can and does rescue you, and provide for you. Thank Him for who He is, and for His grace in your life – past, present and future. TUESDAY 28TH DEC ISA 9:6-7 THANKSGIVING FOR THE GIFT OF JESUS Thank You Father for the gift of Jesus, in whom we find salvation and wholeness. Thank You for giving Your son to us, to be our Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Source: www.worldprayer.org.uk WEDNESDAY 29TH DEC PS 136:1 GIVE THANKS FOR GOD’S GOODNESS Father, I thank You that Your goodness has no limits; that it includes moral excellence, virtue, righteousness, kindness, worthiness, honourableness, reliability and dependability and so much more! Help me to meditate on Your amazing, wonderful and limitless goodness today. PRAYER CHALLENGE: 34 MAKE A PRAYER RESOLUTION. MAKE A NEW COMMITMENT ABOUT YOUR PRAYER LIFE AND WHO GOD IS ASKING YOU TO PRAY FOR THIS YEAR. JANUARY SATURDAY 1ST JAN PRAYING FOR UCB Lord, we thank you that UCB exists to glorify Your name and to spread Your Gospel to all those yet to hear it. We pray that 2011 will be a year when we can make an impact and win more souls for Your Kingdom. SUNDAY 2ND JAN LAM 3:22-24 A NEW DAY What does God want you to accomplish this year? Often we ask God to bless our plans, rather than seeking out His plans for us. Ask Him to help you make this year about His plans and not your own. TUESDAY 4TH JAN PS 139:13-16 NEW MOTHERS & PREGNANT WOMEN Pray for women you know who are pregnant, that God will protect them and prepare them for the new life He is entrusting to them. Pray for new parents, that God will equip them to parent according to His ways. Source: www.worldprayer.org.uk PRAYER CHALLENGE: THURSDAY 6TH JAN ISA 43:10-13 NEW BEGINNINGS FOR FRIENDS & FAMILY Father, during this coming year, help me to be a witness to my family members and friends who don’t yet know You. You know my weaknesses; please cover them, and help people to see more of You in me. FRIDAY 7TH JAN PROV 12:14 NEW BEGINNINGS IN EMPLOYMENT Almighty God, thank You for the gift of work. Bless the entrepreneurs in my community with new, ethical business ideas, and provide for their needs. Give peace to those facing unemployment or redundancy and open up new opportunities for them. DEC MONDAY 3RD JAN JOHN 3:16-18 NEW LIFE IN JESUS Father, though I have sinned, I thank You for the gift of Jesus, who opens the way for me to receive Your forgiveness and cleansing. Fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit as I rededicate my life to You today. WEDNESDAY 5TH JAN 1JOHN 4:14-16 COURSES THAT POINT PEOPLE TO JESUS Pray for those running courses to teach people about Jesus and the Christian life; that God will use their gifts to bring many into the Kingdom, and that those attending will have a personal encounter with Jesus. SATURDAY 8TH JAN PRAYING FOR UCB Lord, we give the UCB marketing department to you and ask that you will give them inspiration to compile creative marketing strategies for UCB and wisdom for event planning for the year ahead. LOOK OUT FOR SIGNS OF NEW BEGINNINGS IN YOUR COMMUNITY – NEW BUSINESSES, PROJECTS OR PEOPLE AND PRAY FOR THEM. 35 SUNDAY 9TH JAN ACTS 2: 42-47 OUR NEIGHBOURS Father, forgive us for so often not knowing our neighbours. Give us opportunities to meet our neighbours, so we can pray for them and offer real friendship. Give us Your heart for those who live around us. JAN MONDAY 10TH JAN MATT 5: 13-14 SALT AND LIGHT IN YOUR COMMUNITIES Father, help us to be salt and light. Deliver people from isolation, and give them the courage to get to know those who live around them – especially those who are housebound. Raise a passion for local community among Your Church. TUESDAY 11TH JAN MATT 7: 7-12 PRAYING FOR OUR NEIGHBOURS Thank God for the gift of prayer. Give us a burning desire to exercise our Kingdom right and responsibility to pray for those around us who don’t know You. Lord, deepen our passion to pray for the lost. WEDNESDAY 12TH JAN MATT 25:35-39 HELPING OUR NEIGHBOURS Father, forgive me for the times when I turn a blind eye to the needs around me. Show me who You want me to pray for, to get to know or to help today. THURSDAY 13TH JAN ROMANS 12:1-2 ENCOURAGING COMMUNITY ON OUR STREETS Lord, change our hearts, so that we are more willing to open our homes and lives to those living nearby, no matter what sacrifices we need to make to demonstrate Your welcoming, inclusive love to them. FRIDAY 14TH JAN LUKE 7:27-29 LOVING OUR PROBLEM NEIGHBOURS Father, we pray for our brothers and sisters who have difficult relationships with their neighbours. Help them, by Your Holy Spirit, to love their enemies, bless those who curse them and pray for those who mistreat them. SATURDAY 15TH JAN PRAYING FOR UCB Pray for UCB’s Logistics department to meet the demands of despatching The Word for Today and Prayer for Today over the next couple of weeks. We pray for more volunteers who will be available to help with the mail out. Source: Rebekah Evans PRAYER CHALLENGE: 36 PRAYER WALK YOUR STREET, PRAYING A BLESSING ON EACH OF YOUR NEIGHBOURS, THEIR HOMES AND THEIR FAMILIES. SUNDAY 16TH JAN ACTS 2: 42 KEEP US FIRM IN THE APOSTLES’ TEACHING As the Week of Prayer for Christian unity begins, let’s join with the Church in Jerusalem to pray for the Church worldwide; that the picture of church given in this scripture will continue to inspire and challenge Christians everywhere. MONDAY 17TH JAN ACTS 2:44 LIVING TOGETHER IN UNITY Holy Trinity, one true God, grant to Your servants the Church, that peace and unity which is most agreeable to Your will. Strengthen the hearts of all Christian people, that we may live together in unity. WEDNESDAY 19TH JAN JOHN 17:20-24 LIVING FOR THE KINGDOM Almighty God, pour out the grace of Your Holy Spirit on Your people. Give us all a desire for Your kingdom and the unity of Your Church. May all believe that You sent Your Son for the world’s salvation. FRIDAY 21ST JAN ACTS 2:47 MAKE US KIND IN YOUR SERVICE Father, make us kind in Your service. Unite us in Your truth, instruct us in Your wisdom and assist us in our need. May we receive the sanctification offered by Your Son, and may all Christian people be one. SATURDAY 22ND JAN PRAYING FOR UCB Lord, please help us to share with our supporters the good things that are happening as a result of their giving to UCB and show us how to use the resources that you have entrusted to us to benefit Your kingdom. JAN TUESDAY 18TH JAN ACTS 2:45 SHARE YOUR BREAD WITH THOSE IN NEED Lord, may those who have sufficient, give to those in need. Call to Your service workers for Your kingdom, so that the whole world may resound to the praise of Your glory - satisfied in body and soul. THURSDAY 20TH JAN ACTS 2:46 LIVING CONCERN FOR OUR FELLOWS Lord, give all Christian people true concern for their fellow men and women. Give us Your heart for Your Church and those in need of our help, love and encouragement. May we be Your hands and feet. Source: www.ctbi.org.uk NEED CHRISTMAS PRESENTS? Go to page 56 to see great ideas for Christmas presents or visit UCB2GO.CO.UK PRAYER CHALLENGE: FIND OUT THE NAMES OF THE LEADERS OF ALL THE CHURCHES IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY AND PRAY FOR THEM EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. 37 JAN SUNDAY 23RD JAN 1 TIM 4:7 MEN STRUGGLING IN CHURCH Lord, we pray for men who are finding church life difficult, that You will help them to find their place; that they will find relationships which fit them, and ministries which inspire and challenge them. THURSDAY 27TH JAN 1 TIM 4:9-10 MAKING MEN WELCOME Pray for everyone involved in putting the Sunday service together at your church, that God will give them creativity and imagination as they consider how best to include men of all ages in the act of worship. MONDAY 24TH JAN 1 TIM 4:6 UNDERSTANDING MEN Pray for church leaders who are struggling to make their churches more ‘man-friendly’. Ask God to give them wisdom, as they seek to preach and teach in a way that gives men a strong sense of biblical identity. FRIDAY 28TH JAN 1 TIM 4:8 INSPIRED BY JESUS Father, we pray for men who have been considering the Christian faith, that they will be attracted, challenged and inspired by the life of Jesus, and that they will be drawn to follow the example He sets of Godly manhood. TUESDAY 25TH JAN 1 TIM 4:16 GOOD WITNESS TO PARTNERS Pray for those with unbelieving husbands and partners, who are trying to be a good witness to Christ whilst not unduly pressurising their men. Ask God to help them live in a ‘winsome way’, and rest their frustrations in Him. SATURDAY 29TH JAN PRAYING FOR UCB Give thanks for UCB Gospel, a radio station playing gospel music in the UK 24/7. We ask that it will continue to grow and that as people listen you would communicate your love, grace and mercy to them through the music and programmes. WEDNESDAY 26TH JAN 1 TIM 4:12 MENTORING MEN Almighty God, we pray that you will raise up spiritually mature men to be mentors for younger men. Help establish lasting, effective mentoring partnerships, so that the church’s next generation of men will be a force for restoration and transformation. READ ABOUT ADDRESSING GENDER BALANCE IN THE CHURCH ON P16. SUNDAY 30TH JAN 2 CHRON 7:14 TAKING THE NEWS TO HEART Why not choose a news story and invest some time praying about it. Reflect on how you might feel if you were involved in that situation, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your prayers as you bring it before God. Source: www.cvmen.org.uk PRAYER CHALLENGE: 38 GIVE SOME TIME TO PRAYING FOR THE MEN IN YOUR CHURCH, PARTICULARLY THOSE YOU DON’T KNOW VERY WELL. MONDAY 31ST JAN Write a prayer about something you want to bring to God JAN HAS GOD IMPACTED YOUR LIFE THROUGH UCB? Let us know by emailing email@example.com 39 UNITED CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS il to d an ema .uk If so, sen @ucb.co y a d to r fo prayer address ame and u would n r u o y h wit er yo ify wheth ail copy. and spec py or em o c rd a h like a PRAYER CHALLENGE: GIVE SOME TIME TO PRAYING FOR THE MEN IN YOUR CHURCH, PARTICULARLY THOSE YOU DON’T KNOW VERY WELL. 40 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday If you have any good ideas of your own, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can feature them. CREATIVE PRAYER A fter more than 1 million visitors to date and over 200,000 testimonies, the Prayer Garden continues to receive 15,000+ visitors each and every month. The Prayer Garden is a fantastic interactive prayer tool that guides you through the tranquil garden. Julie Anderson of The Prayer Foundation tells Prayer for Today, â€œThe idea for the Prayer Garden began as a dream in my heart to create an oasis of peace and purity, where the tranquility would lift your heart and refresh your soul; a place where you can find the space to contemplate, and re-connect with your Creator. I had always envisioned that it would develop beyond just the current journey, but I knew we had to start with what you have already visited.â€? The website is looking to build further stages in the garden. The new additions to the site will not only allow you to continue your journey through other parts of the Prayer Garden, but will also take you to Prayer City. This is an area that focuses on staying connected to God in your everyday living through teaching resources, practical help, community and interaction with other visitors. Within Prayer City will be an area for children and young people; allowing them to explore God online in a way that is relevant to their understanding. Visit the Prayer Garden for yourself on www.theprayergarden.com. For more information on The Prayer Foundation, visit www.theprayerfoundation.org. ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 41 FEATURE 42 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE MARK STIBBE A few Christmases ago, a close friend overheard that my favourite Disney animated film is The Lion King. Ever since I took my children to see it, I have adored this movie and I was clearly raving about it. She also overheard me say that I didn’t own a copy on DVD and that it wasn’t available anywhere in the shops. So on Christmas Day 2008, she presented me with a beautifully wrapped gift a DVD of The Lion King which she had tracked down on eBay and purchased from a south east Asian nation (don’t worry, it was all perfectly legal!). Ever since then I’ve been able to enjoy The Lion King on my home cinema system and watch it whenever I want to! Why do I love this film so much? There are a hundred reasons but the main one has to do with the young lion cub Simba and his father, Mufasa the King. Early on in the film Mufasa is tragically killed and Simba feels responsible. He runs away and grows up in a foreign land. One day he looks into a pool of water. He sees his own reflection which then changes into the image of his father. Mufasa – speaking from the night sky - says that Simba has forgotten him and in the process forgotten himself. His father tells him to look inside himself and remember who he is, because he is more than what he has become. ‘Remember who you are’, Mufasa repeats. ‘You are my son and the one true King’. What a great moment! Many of us as Christians struggle with who we are. Like Simba, the painful memories from our past obscure our image of who we really are and what we are truly supposed to be. We so easily get dragged down into self-doubt and even self-hatred by abusive words uttered over us by others or by the lack of affirmation from an earthly father. Bound by episodes from our past history we are robbed by the enemy of our present identity and our future destiny. Like Simba, we forget who we really are and we live out of a toxic sense of shame. We feel like we are somehow a mistake, we’re worthless and sometimes that we shouldn’t even be alive. ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 43 What is the answer? For those who are in Christ, we need to have a change of perspective. Our minds need renewing. Once a person gives their lives to Jesus, they have a brand new identity because they are brand new people. As the Apostle Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 5.17, ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ What is our new identity as Christians? The truth is, we are royal sons and daughters of the High King of Heaven. We are children of a perfect heavenly Father who reigns in the heavens over all of creation. With Jesus, we can stand in the river under an open heaven and hear the Father’s words that he spoke to his one and only Son by nature. We can hear them and receive them for ourselves, ‘You are my beloved son/daughter, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3.17). We can revel and bask in an identity that is not based on performance (what I do) but on position (who I am). We can remember that we are the King’s son or daughter and that by adoption we are part of the royal family of heaven! Maybe you are in a place of loneliness and discouragement right now. Maybe you’re like Simba in the musical version of The Lion King singing, Where has the starlight gone? Dark is the day How can I find my way home? Home is an empty dream Lost to the night Father, I feel so alone. Let me encourage you to move on from past hurts as Simba did. Release forgiveness to those who shamed you and marred your sense of identity. Stand against the lies of the enemy – who is into identity theft. The Father of lies says you’re nobody but you are 44 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday an honoured prince/princess and heaven thinks highly of you! My prayer for you is that you would be able to move from a false, old identity to a new, true identity. You are not a bedraggled pussy cat. You are a lion, a lioness… born again to RULE! As Rafiki says to Simba, ‘he lives in you’ so it’s time to leave the bad lands and come home! To see the movie clip Mark is referring to, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=byDN8aoR4TI Mark Stibbe is the founder and CEO of The Father’s House Trust www.fathershousetrust.com. He is a bestselling and award-winning author and international speaker particularly on the area of fatherlessness. Buy Mark Stibbe’s books The 100 Verse Bible & The Father You’ve Been Waiting For from UCB2GO on p56 & 57. Get Connected... Be Encouraged Be connected with Christians across the British Isles & Ireland Be encouraged by stories of answered prayer Be resourced to pray Be linked into global prayer networks Join us in prayer to see transformation across our nations Register to receive regular updates prayerforum.org ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 45 FEATURE The journey every heart must take PART 2 MARK RYAN In the last issue, Mark discussed the heart and areas of healing. Now, we look at the building blocks for a healthy heart… 46 BUILDING BLOCK 1 THE FOUNDATION… UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. BUILDING BLOCK 2 THE REPEATED QUESTION… IS THAT TRUE? No matter where we are at, our hearts need to constantly return to the unsurpassable truth that we are loved and accepted by all that God is - the most important person who will ever be! Ephesians 3:17 gives us this foundational and pivotal key to our lives… ‘And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love’. The foundation to health is to re-visit God’s love for us. We automatically think that our thoughts are true. We can be a prisoner to our own opinions. A healthy heart is built when we pause and ask if our thinking actually lines up with scriptures. A heart cannot flourish in health if it is never watered in truth. This is why the psalmist cries out ‘Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place’ (Ps. 51:6) and this is why one of the pieces of spiritual armour is the ‘belt of truth’ (Eph.6:14). Build your heart by repeatedly asking – is that true? ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday BUILDING BLOCK 3 THE HABIT OF A LIFETIME… FOLLOWING AND LEARNING. An unhealthy heart is the one that thinks it is finished and there is nothing left to learn. When Jesus asked his disciples to ‘follow’ him he was asking them to commit to lifelong learning and receiving. Regular learning rescues the heart from becoming a fossil of what it knows rather than alive in what it is discovering. Jesus invites us to ‘take His yoke’ (Matt.11:29). This is the yoke of following, learning, and partnership with him. This commitment saves the heart from atrophy. What are you currently learning about Christ? BUILDING BLOCK 4 THE ENVIRONMENT…OF AFFIRMING RELATIONSHIPS. As much as we don’t like to admit that we need others, we do need others! No heart grows alone. We need to encourage others and find people that speak wisdom and knowledge into our lives. In giving and receiving from others, our hearts are nurtured and built. The bible goes so far as to say ‘so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.’ (Rom 12:5). Even Jesus saw the need for community during his life on earth. We are not different. Place your heart in the environment of affirming relationships. BUILDING BLOCK 5 – TAKE ACTION…USE YOUR GIFTS AND TALENTS. Your heart is like an engine. It is supposed to have an output and it is healthier in motion. Many hearts seize up because they never get to experience the joy of seeing talents and gifts played out in the real world. When we use our talents there is a ‘grace flow’ as we interact with the world. As we engage in this interaction our heart is built because we learn to be used and to deepen what we have received. Health comes as we ‘…use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.’ (1 Peter 4:10) ‘Whatever you do guard your heart, it is the wellspring of life’- extreme and important direction from the book of Proverbs! (4:23). We shouldn’t just keep looking for the healing of our hearts and rejoicing that this work has begun within us, we must continuously build and feed our heart so that we can be all we were meant to be. ‘And God permitting we will do so…’. (Heb.6:1-3) Mark Ryan is the senior minister of Birmingham Christian Centre, an Elim church in Birmingham city centre. For more details visit www.birminghamcc.co.uk. ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 47 THIS YEARâ€™S PRAYER FROM THE ORGANISING COMMITTEE SAYS: Lord, you offer freedom to all people. We pray for those in prison. Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist. Support with your love prisoners and their families and friends, prison staff and all who care. Heal those who have been wounded by the activities of others, especially the victims of crime. Help us to forgive one another. To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly together with Christ in His strength and in His Spirit, now and every day. Amen. 48 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday HOW TO PRAY 21ST - 27TH NOV PRISON’S WEEK KEN MAINEY H ere in the UK, we have one of the highest ratio of prisoners per head of population in Europe. The prison population over the last year has been at a record high at over 80,000 which is almost double that of 1993. In spite of all this, God’s Grace is at work inside prisons changing lives for the better. Every prison has a Christian community of like minds where many individuals have found peace of mind amid the bedlam of daily life. Jesus is certainly alive today in the hearts of some of the staff and many of the prisoners. Alpha Courses are regularly organised by many of the chaplaincy teams and produce much fruit. Prisoners know they are sinners without having to be told so and when they discover that Jesus does not have a problem with sinners, but with those who will not admit that they are sinners, then they show an interest. Prison Fellowship Volunteers have much to offer. In many prisons they run Sycamore Courses that help prisoners face up to the effects of their crime. Every Christmas the Angle Tree project comes to life to supply Christmas presents for many prisoners children who would otherwise have to go without. Prisons Week has been a feature of our Christian communities for over 30 years. Individuals and church congregations are asked to pray for the needs of prisoners, their families, victims of crime, prison staff and the many others who are involved in caring for prisoners. This year’s theme is ‘Be with Me’, taken from Luke 23 v 33-43, and concerns the two prisoners who where crucified alongside Jesus and his promise to the repentant thief that ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise’ Ken Mainey is responsible for prison ministry at UCB. ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 49 TESTIMONY FINDING A NEW ME Last October, I got married. I didn’t only get married. I also moved to a new city to be with my husband, leaving behind my Mom and friends, my job which I loved and I also felt God say that I should set up my own business as well. Quite a lot to handle in one go! However, I felt that God wanted me to do it. So, I did. The transition went smoothly and all was well. As the New Year arrived, I started to feel quite down. I missed my family, friends, old job and familiar surroundings. I now worked from home and felt quite isolated with no car, no money and having not made many new friends yet. I became very emotional and would cry without even knowing why! Since I had got married, it felt like I had to start all over again… at the bottom rung of the ladder! It was like a period of mourning for my old life and achievements. I began to feel like I didn’t know who I was anymore. I had lost myself. The uncontrollable tears continued. One day, I cried out to God, “Lord, why do I feel this way? I don’t know who I am anymore”. God said to me, “Tash, your past is not your future”. Although I felt I had lost myself, He showed me that my future was going to be much better. Although I felt I was having to start all over again, it was actually a good place to be. I could leave behind the things that I didn’t like in my life and myself, and I could be the person I wanted to be… that God wanted me to be. Although it felt I was starting on the bottom rung again, God revealed that I had actually moved up to another level as a married woman, but I was starting again at that level. This revelation set me free. I started to look positively at my future and all that God had in store for me and my lovely husband. I began to find myself again. A new me. NATASHA RUDDOCK, EDITORIAL COORDINATOR ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 51 BRITISH NATIONAL DAYS OF PRAYER IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: DAN BOUCHER N ational Days of Prayer are days of intercession resulting from a call to pray not from the church but the state. Modelled on the example of Old Testament Kings of Israel, like Jehoshaphat, who called the people to prayer when Israel was threatened with invasion (e.g. 2 Chronicles 20), National Days of Prayer have constituted a very important part of Britainâ€™s prayer history. During the twentieth century, British National Days of Prayer were called by the monarch on the advice of the cabinet with input from Lambeth Palace. The first National Day of Prayer of the century was on January 6th 1918 and the last on July 6th 1947. In total King George V and King George VI between them called the people to prayer on fifteen separate occasions, all of which, bar that of 1947, were directly related to either the First or Second World Wars. 52 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday In some ways the most interesting twentieth century National Day of Prayer was the first. It was then nearly 60 years since the last National Day of Prayer which had been called on the occasion of the Indian Mutinies in 1857 and the practice had effectively fallen into disuse. Although requests were made for the state to call the nation to pray from the very beginning of the First World War, those in authority, concerned about what the German media might make of such an event, were very much opposed. Getting the Government to change its mind was a very long process that involved a great deal of effort. The Evangelical Alliance played a prominent role in advancing the cause as did The Christian Herald which organised a petition of some 84,000 names, including nine mud stained sheets of signatures from soldiers in France. Eventually in October 1917 after three long years, the cabinet agreed and the call to prayer was made by the King in November for a National Day of Prayer on January 6th. Once the practice had been renewed, subsequent National Days of Prayer flowed fairly easily. In huge contrast to the First World War, less than a week passed between Britainâ€™s entry into the Second World War and the calling of a National Day of Prayer! The space available does not permit any detailed consideration of any National Days of Prayer, but here are two newspaper reflections following two of these occasions to whet your appetite: After the August 4th 1918 National Day of Prayer, The Christian Herald wrote: ‘EVERY CHRISTIAN MUST SURELY BE THRILLED BY THE GREAT VICTORIES WHICH HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED SINCE THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER. THERE IS ALSO OBSERVABLE AN INCREASE OF THE PRAYER SPIRIT AND PRAYER HABIT AMONG CHRISTIAN PEOPLE.’1 After the May 26th 1940 National Day of Prayer (which fell at the beginning of Dunkirk) The Telegraph boldly stated: ‘[T]HE PRAYERS OF THE NATION WERE ANSWERED …THE GOD OF HOSTS HIMSELF HAD SUPPORTED THE VALIANT MEN OF THE BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE.’2 Dan Boucher is Director of Parliamentary Affairs at CARE. He has just completed writing a book on the history of National Days of Prayer in the twentieth century, which will be out soon. www.care.org.uk 1 Christian Herald, October 10th p. 238. CB Mortlock, ‘BEF Chaplain’s Gallantry on the Retreat,’ The Telegraph, June 8, 1940. 2 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 53 54 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday REVIEW THE 100 VERSE BIBLE The essence of the world’s most popular book By Mark Stibbe REVIEWED BY NATASHA RUDDOCK, PRAYER FOR TODAY EDITORIAL COORDINATOR He has selected 100 verses, and each verse is presented in the King James Version and the New International Version. Mark then explains the verse simply and succinctly, bringing stories, characters and ideas to life. You are encouraged to read these verses as words of love from the Father’s heart to us. IN THE NEXT ISSUE REVIEW BOOK FOAR US ‘What a fantastic idea! Great evangelistic tool as the Bible can be daunting to non-believers so this little book gives a synopsis of the Bible which can be a brief introduction to the real thing!’ This slimline, handy book cleverly takes 50 Bible verses from the Old Testament and 50 verses from the New Testament, which Mark Stibbe feels can impact a person’s life. The verses he has chosen summarise the Bible and the incredible story of God the Father’s love for humanity. RS READE R OFFE rse 100 Ve e h T y rom n bu You ca for only £3 f et it le . 6 ib 5 G B O on p s last! G 2 B C U tock while s Join the Prayer going to www.ufor Today mailing list by to receive your cb.co.uk/prayerfortoday copy of the next issue. 56 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 57 58 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 60 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday 61 62 ucb.co.uk/prayerfortoday THE FINAL WORD LLOYD COOKE I believe that spiritual authority only comes from spiritual identity; and that spiritual identity only comes from spiritual intimacy. In Matthew 7:28-29, the crowds who listened to Jesus were amazed at His authority. They were obviously not used to such authority from their regular teachers. They didn’t realise that such authority is only available to those who know who they are and whose they are. So, who are you? If you have fully committed your life to Christ, then you need to know that your sins are forgiven. The famous story is told of an advert in a Madrid newspaper that simply said: ‘Paco, you are forgiven, meet me by the office of this newspaper at 2pm on Saturday – your loving father.’ Four hundred young men named Paco turned up! If you have fully committed your life to Christ then remember that you are now God’s child. True Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. In 1 Samuel 18, we read of King Saul’s son, Jonathan, taking off his cloak and putting it around the shoulders of David. Jonathan was in effect saying ‘I identify with you & all I have is yours’. The Cross saw a similar transaction take place with God’s Son, Jesus, wrapping His love and righteousness around anyone who trusts in Him. The Apostle Paul says, ‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3). Spend time today in intimacy with your Father. Out of it you will find your true identity and also true spiritual authority. Lloyd Cooke is the Chief Executive of the Saltbox Christian Centre in Stoke-onTrent. www.saltbox.org.uk