All Saints September Newsletter
01 September 2016
Jeremy writes …
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances…” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18) I recently read about a journalist who had been assigned to the Jerusalem bureau of his newspaper. He got an apartment overlooking the Wailing Wall. After several weeks he realised that whenever he looked at the wall he saw an old man praying vigorously. The journalist wondered whether there was a publishable story here. He went down to the wall, introduced himself and said: "You come every day to the wall. What are you praying for?” The old man replied: "What am I praying for? In the morning I pray for world peace, then I pray for the brotherhood of man. I go home, have a glass of tea, and I come back to the wall to pray for the eradication of illness and disease from the earth.”
The journalist was taken by the old man's sincerity and persistence. "You mean you have been coming to the wall to pray every day for these things?” The old man nodded.
"How long have you been coming to the wall to pray for these things?” The old man became reflective and then replied: "How long? Maybe twenty, twenty-five years.” The amazed journalist finally asked: "How does it feel to come and pray every day for over 20 years for these things?” "How does it feel?" the old man replied. "It feels like I'm talking to a wall.”
I wonder if you've ever felt like that? You may have been praying about something for years, yet - in the words of Deuteronomy 28:23 - the heavens seem like brass and the ground beneath as iron. I think the Old Testament prophet Daniel must have felt like that when he prayed on behalf of a disobedient nation day after day after day. There he was, pleading with God, face to the ground - and there seemed to be no response. Yet in Daniel 10:12 we read about an angel, who came to him and reassured him that, from the very first day, God had heard his prayer. Interestingly, we also read that the evil one had blocked an answer for no fewer than twenty-one days! We are encouraged to pray persistently and continually (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18).
On Friday 16th September we will have another opportunity to pray together as a church, at a half-night of prayer. We will pray for each other, for our church, for our community here at Sanderstead, and for our nation. May I encourage you to come along, even only for half an hour. Yes, it may sometimes feel as if we are praying at a wall. But come along to the wall, like that faithful old man, because we know a God who can move mountains. So overcoming a wall is no problem to Him! Jesus reminds us as much in Mark 11: 22-25. God really does hear - and respond to - whatever we ask for in prayer.
As we enter a new season of service to God in our church, let's rejoice in everything that God has done among us! We are rejoicing in the rebuilding of our work with children and families - this month will see the rebirth of a Sunday School for primary school age children, known as JIGSAW (Jesus Is Great, Super And Wonderful); we are rejoicing in a new coffee morning on alternate Fridays in the church hall; we are looking forward to seeing our re-ordering plans move to the next stage. There is so much to thank God for!
Finally, thank you again for the many kind messages of support and good wishes on the recent occasion of my ordination as priest. Sandra and I are feeling so blessed to be among you, and it still feels as fresh and joyful as the very first day we stepped into All Saints. Sometimes, you just know when something is right, don't you!