In view of the continuation of the lockdown, and the cancellation of all meetings and events, we have decided, for the time being, that we will only issue the Bulletin on a monthly basis, based around a monthly prayer letter. Should the need arise, however, we can issue a Bulletin Update between the monthly Bulletins if necessary.
Prayer Letter – August 2020
by Rachel Raw
Trusting God in the midst of disappointments
‘What though my joys and comforts die,
The Lord, my Saviour, liveth!
What though the darkness gather round,
Songs in the night he giveth!
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?’ (SASB 663)
‘When we cannot see our way
Let us trust and still obey;
He who bids us forward go
Cannot fail the way to show.’ (SASB 689)
There are many times on our personal journeys where the Lord calls us to trust him in the midst of trials and adversities. These come in many different shapes and guises. As believers, no one is exempt from troubles. Jesus clearly tells us to expect this in John 16:33 (NLT version): “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.” We can take comfort that, with Jesus by our side, we do not have to be fearful or anxious. As I write this I am reminded of when Jesus was asleep in the boat during a great storm and the disciples were terrified that their boat would sink. When going through my own personal trials I can relate to the disciples, especially when I feel like the waves are crashing all around me and when things seem unclear or adversities seem to come one after the other. It is often during these times we can easily fall into the temptation of giving into worry, fear, doubt or become despondent, especially if we do not walk in obedience and stand on his word. Whenever the old foes, anxiety and worry, creep in God has disciplined me, in love, through the following bible passages: Matthew 6: 19-24, James 1:6-8,Isaiah 40:10.
One of my favourite Sunday school choruses is, ‘With Christ in the vessel you can smile at the storm.’ These words are so relevant and a great reminder to all of us that if we allow Christ to reign in our hearts and be the steering wheel, we can smile at the storm. God is and always will be, in control and nothing is too hard or impossible for Him.
If you are going through any kind of adversity or disappointments, may these encouraging verses from Isaiah 43:1-3 (written to the Israelites) also be an encouragement to you and may you know that God will never leave you to face these trials alone:
But now, O Israel, the Lord who created you says: “Do not be afraid, for I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Saviour.”
Please prayerfully reflect on the words of this Songster song’ Bow the Knee’ penned by Chris Machen and Mike Harland. This reminds us to turn to Jesus at all times.
V1. There are moments on our journey following the Lord,
where God illumines every step we take.
There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us,
As we try to understand each move He makes.
When the path grows dim. And our questions have no answers, turn to Him.
Bow the Knee; trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee; lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of his plan, In the presence of the King, bow the knee.
V2. There are days when clouds surround us, and the rain begins to fall,
The cold and lonely winds won’t cease to blow.
And there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel;
We are tempted to believe God does not know. When the storms arise, Don’t forget we live by faith and not by sight.
Will you Bow the Knee in prayer and trust the heart of our Heavenly Father?
The beautiful worship song ‘Blessings’ written by Laura Story has become a special song to our Corps and has been sung many times by our Songsters. This song was written during a time when Laura and her family went through their own personal trials and adversities.
There is a line which says ‘What if your greatest disappointments are your mercies in disguise’ reminds us that God can use this as a blessing. You may question, how can life's disappointments be a blessing in disguise? When disappointments come our way, we don’t always see the blessings at first, all we see is the hurt, loss, grief and pain. It’s when we look back and see how God’s love, and providential care sustained and strengthened us, it then becomes a blessing in disguise.
Whenever we face disappointments or adversities, Jesus calls us all to bring our concerns and to Him. Nothing is too hard or impossible for God and He knows our daily needs. Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 6: 32-33(NLT) “Your Heavenly Father already knows your needs, and he will give you what you need day to day if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern.”
Whenever we come to the Lord in prayer, God promises us, “I will answer them before they even call to me about their needs. I will go ahead and answer their prayers.” (Isaiah 67:24, NLT)
We can easily become disappointed when God answers no to a particular prayer petition. It’s how you respond to the answer no, that matters. Do you lose heart easily, allow doubt or fear to creep in? Or do you put your trust in our Heavenly Father who is all loving, all knowing and “look back at those prayer requests and were grateful that the Lord didn’t give the answer you had hoped for? Sometimes a maturing perspective reveals that getting what you had desired, would have been disastrous.” (Charles Stanley) When God answers no, it may be because the prayer was not in alignment with God’s will for your life. Therefore the answer no, becomes a blessing in disguise because God has a far better plan for you and wants to stop you going in the wrong direction or on the wrong path.
Be assured that whenever you face disappointments or adversities, God will never forsake you, he is still working behind the scenes and in your life. He is still directing and guiding you into the right path that will one day lead you Home (Heaven). Will you let God walk with you and lead you Home?
There have been many personal disappointments in my life over recent years, where it seemed like it’s one thing after another through losing loved ones, disappointments of being told by my consultant there’s nothing much they can do for my chronic health conditions, the disappointments of losing most of my independence due to restricted mobility issues, the unpredictability of how I will be health wise day to day. The disappointments of not being able to work again and broken dreams of being a mother. I may never know the reasons why, on this side of eternity, but one thing for sure is that God’s blessings will always far outweigh the adversities in my life. The blessing of knowing that I am not a defect or a burden because of my health issues and that I am a child of God. The blessings of knowing that the Saviour loves me unconditionally and is walking me through my own deep waters. The blessing of being humbled and knowing that He can still use me even though I don’t always realise it myself. The blessings of time to get to know him more and He will provide for my daily needs. The blessing that knowing if I trust in him, He will lead me onto the right path he has planned for me and whatever the future holds I am in His hands (Psalm 139:16)
What are the blessings and mercies in disguise that have come out of your greatest disappointments?
Will you trust the Lord with all your heart in the midst of life’s disappointments or adversities? Will you seek His will in everything you do and let Him direct you?
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will direct your paths.”
Whenever disappointments or adversities come our way, help us to put our trust in you. Help us to not let fear, anxiety or despondence creep in and deter us from you. Open our eyes and hearts to always see your blessings in disguise. Thank you Heavenly Father that you promised that you will never leave us or forsake us and that you walk with us whenever we go through our own personal deep waters. Help us to stand on these promises and to trust and obey.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Since the lockdown started, we have been blessed that more people are joining our Corps Prayer meetings online on Sundays and Wednesdays. Also many people who do not have internet access are also praying alongside us during these times and are kept up to date with regular prayer requests via mobile phone texts. If you would like to join us in prayer, our Corps prayer meetings are held online every week online on Sundays 9:30 am and Wednesdays at 7pm. Even if you have not got internet access, please join us during these times and pray for our Corps family, nation and as the Holy Spirit leads. Let’s keep Corps prayer meetings going!
Karen will be leading us on Sunday prayer meetings and I will continue to lead the Wednesday prayer meeting online. If you would like further information or would like to join our online prayer group or be contacted via text regarding prayer requests, please contact Major Valerie, Karen or me. For those without the internet, I would be happy to send you prayer points, scripture readings for Wednesday prayer groups.
Due to these unprecedented times we are living in, we will continue to keep trusting and to be patient until it is safe for all of our Corps family to return to the Hall. We will also continue to pray that when we do resume activities at the hall that people will join us for our prayer meetings. This will be in God’s time and all we can do is wait upon him.
Personal Word of Thanks
My family and I would like to give thanks to our Corps family for your prayers, cards, telephone calls and messages since our beautiful Mum (Jenny Elliott) was promoted to Glory. She was a loving wife to Dad (Ken) and a special mother to Kelvin and I and mother in law to Eunice and Andy. She was also our best friend and a dear friend to so many. We will be having a thanksgiving service for her, once we are able to return to the Hall. Please continue to pray for Dad who is locked down in his care home. We give thanks for your support during this difficult time and we miss her dearly. God has got us and we take great comfort in knowing that mum is now in the safe arms of Jesus and the Lord is watching over us.
Call to Prayer at 12 noon
Christians from all over the UK and world are encouraged to pray every day at 12 noon. Will you join us at this time in prayer and intercession. Many Christians use the Lord’s prayer at this time. Parents with young children and teenagers, please encourage children to join in and be creative with prayers.
Prayer Intercession : Will you join me in Prayer intercession;
Thank you Lord for your endless mercy and goodness. Help us to keep trusting and praising you through both the good and bad times. Lord help us to keep our eyes fixed on you.
Please pray for our Nation and the world who have been affected by this virus and for all those grieving loved ones. May they feel surrounded by your love, peace and presence in the coming days and months ahead.
Pray continually for our officers, Majors Andrew and Valerie Spivey as they lead and care for us through these challenging times. Bless them as they minister to us and we give thanks for all the hard work they do for us and for the work they do behind the scenes. Pray that the Lord will give them strength and guidance.
Lord, we give thanks for the life of Joan Jackson who was Promoted to Glory last month. Joan was a blessing and had a strong Christian influence on so many people in this Corps. We pray for her family as they are grieving.
Please continue to pray for those who are grieving loved ones. Comfort them Lord and surround them with your peace. Please continue to keep the following families in your prayers: The Cliffords, Roger Betson’s, Jennifer Elliott’s, Olive Chamberlain’s, Major Tim Wicker’s and Major Alive Snell's.
Pray for Major Kelvin who is chaplain to Harnall lifehouse and bless his ministry as he supports both residents and staff in this current crisis. Pray for the residents and staff at Youell Court. Please also pray that Hayley will be able to return as chaplain there after shielding since lockdown.
Pray for people of all ages who are vulnerable including the homeless, disabled and or have underlying health conditions. Pray for those who will have to self isolate for a long duration.
Please pray for our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Government and nation as we go through these testing times. The Lord instructs us all to pray for our leaders in 1 Timothy 2:1-4: “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth”. Lord, break any demonic divisions and unite this nation once again. Lord, we pray that you will raise up godly, Christian leaders who will seek your counsel and guide the Prime minister, when making decisions for our country. Let Your will be done!
Please pray for our NHS staff in all hospitals and within the community who are feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Pray for provision and that they will receive the equipment and resources they need. Lord guide them and protect them as they care for their patients. We pray that this virus will come to an end. In Jesus name.
Pray for community care workers who care for people at home and in residential and nursing homes. Pray for the staff and residents. Pray for the residents as they are unable to see their loved ones due to this lock down and pray for their families too. Many of our Corps family live in care homes around this City and within our county and beyond.
Pray for those in our Corps who work in many different work sectors such as education and administration, council, hospitality, retail. Pray for those self employed and those currently working from home. Pray for those facing unemployment or unemployed and those unable to work due to ill health. Pray that the Lord will provide for all those in our corps who are struggling at this time.
Pray for our School children who recently broke up for the summer holidays. Please pray for those who will be moving up to primary school or secondary school in September. Please pray for the teenagers and students whose exams have been disrupted by this lockdown. May they know that God still has a plan for their lives and they are always in his hands. Please also pray for Dani Wilkinson, Charlotte Bevins, Beth Gallagher, Caleb Griggs (Freda’s grandson), Nathan Whitmore as they make preparations to go to University in the autumn. Pray for the teachers in our Corps who continually work hard and often don’t get the recognition for this. Lord bless them in this vocation you have called them to do and may they continue to be a strong christian influence and light within their workplaces.
Pray that the Lord will help us to keep God’s armour on (Ephesians 6) and to keep our eyes on him and study his word. Pray for the Lord to open opportunities for us to share God’s love with those who do not know Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Although we are in lockdown, God can use us through conversations with people on the phone, etc. Pray that the Lord will show us the way.
Pray for the members of our Corps who are unwell awaiting hospital treatments and those who live with long term health conditions. We pray for those caring for their loved ones at home. Surround them with your love and may they know your peace and that they are not forgotten.
Please continue to pray for Dean Heeley’s Radio ministry with UCB 2. Bless his radio programme and that he will bring people to Christ through this ministry. Thank you Lord that we can access Christian radio programmes such as UCB and Premier radio and TV channels such as Revelation TV or TBN (Please check the website for details on how you can access these programmes)
Please pray for our dear brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering immense persecution because of their faith. We pray that you will give them protection and strength in the coming days and weeks ahead and surround them with your love and peace.
Lord, we pray that you will protect and keep us all safe. May we always be conscious of your presence and fill us with your love and peace. Holy Spirit, we pray that when this is over, we will be a Church on fire for you and bring more people into your kingdom.
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