Stormie Omartian recognises the power of prayer to change things, sometimes in what seem to be near impossible situations and in this series of books she helps us to see how praying for our family members, whether it be for husband, wife, children or grandchildren can make a real difference, whether they are already Christians or not. She helps us to see that prayer often changes us so that we can become part of the transformation process, but also makes clear statements as to what we can pray for, helping us to understand better the needs of those we care about. We all need to cover our loved ones in prayer and these books can give helpful guidelines, encouraging and enlightening us in what can sometimes seem like an uphill struggle. She helps us to see that whereas worrying changes nothing, prayer can change everything.
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
This is a spiritual classic that you may have heard of, but never read. It is a series of letters and conversations from a lay monk who worked in the kitchens of a Monastery in Paris in the 1600’s. He came from a poor peasant family, and being unable to read or write was denied the religious life of a monk. However his desire to know more of God was so deep that he determined to find a place and was appointed as a lay brother to work in the kitchens. It was there that he learned to practice the presence of God, developing such a deep peace and joy that, as years passed, many sought his counsel. Reading about his simple approach to God and its profound effect upon his life cannot leave us unchallenged in our often over-cluttered lives. This is certainly a text worth reading.
The Night the Angels Came by Chrissie Chapman
Born in Cheshire and trained as a midwife in Epsom, Chrissie Chapman tells of how God led her to Burundi, although at the time she had little idea of what that would involve. This is the amazing story of an ordinary woman made extraordinary by the power of God. Throughout the danger and suffering caused by the civil war in Burundi, she was able to witness time and time again God’s provision and protection and amazing answers to prayer. She writes about the miraculous as if they are everyday events, whilst being totally down to earth and fully aware that God often works in ways that we don’t understand. This is an easy book to read but with an enormous message of faith and the power of prayer, inspiring us to believe that God can do far more than we can ever ask or imagine.
Your comments needed on FlashPark parking proposal
The unauthorised use of the EMC car park is increasing and is likely to get worse when a new doctor’s surgery opens in the flats next to the church in about May 2018. The picture on the left is the current sign at the entrance to EMC car park. The Stewards have concluded that we should investigate introducing a system of fines for unauthorised use of our car park.
The current proposal is to use Flashpark (the trading name for Vehicle Control Solutions Ltd) who will issue an £85 parking fine based on a photo taken of a car which is parked without a permit (except on Sundays).
To comply with the law we will erect seven signs, in clear and prominent places around the parking area and at the entrances, stating that fines will be levied on cars parked without a permit. A large red ‘Flashpark’ sticker will be placed on the windscreen any car parked without a permit which has been fined stating "WARNING! You are parked on private property where parking is restricted. Your number plate has been recorded and any future notices will be difficult to remove. Refer to Car Park Warning regulations. Please ensure you do not park here again. Your co-operation in this matter is much appreciated. Drive Carefully."
EMC can cancel any fine which has been raised inappropriately but this does incur an administration charge (if not done within 24 hours) and so we would request that the car owner reimburses EMC £10 to cover this administration, if it has not been cancelled within 24 hours.
We have visited a Church in London (St John’s Wood Church) that has successfully used Flashpark for about four years and discussed with them the administration and effectiveness of this scheme. They recommended its use and stated that it had the desired effect of significantly reducing unauthorised parking and that the scheme worked smoothly.
Permits will be provided by Flashpark, specific to members of the congregation who need them. There will be windscreen holders for these permits and both will be available (as at present for permits) from the office. Temporary permits will also be available from the office for one-off use of the car park and can be requested in advance and will be left in your pigeon hole if you are likely to need the permit while the office is closed.
Flashpark retain the fines as part of their income for administering the scheme and rent us the signs. The cost to EMC for sign rental (£32 p.a. each to rent), purchase of stickers (£1.25 each) permits (42p each p.a.) and permit holders (50p each) will be about £400 per annum.
A very easy-to-read book of only 106 pages, ‘Let’s talk about Prayer’ addresses many questions that we may have as Christians when we think about prayer. It doesn’t go into great detail, but gives plenty of Bible references which you can look up for yourself and sets of questions at the end of each chapter that can prompt further thinking. It certainly challenges the reader to think through their approach to Prayer as well as their approach to the God who answers prayer, especially when life is hard and prayers seem to hit the ceiling.
Moving Mountains by John Eldredge
We all want to see answers to our prayers and in this 230 page book, John Eldredge helps us to see how we can all pray with passion, confidence and authority, the sort of prayer that can move mountains. He explains that we are in the midst of a great and terrible war, but that, whilst the collision of the kingdoms is going on all around us, God is looking to us to be his soldiers, learning on the job, growing in understanding and confidence as we go!! There is no greater adventure than that of God using us to bring about a change in his world and we don’t have to persuade, beg or cajole him, as if he were some reluctant and distant benefactor. He is already there ahead of us, willing us to become involved in what he is already doing, assuring us that as our Father he loves to see us learning to be totally dependent on Him.
Praying with the Grain by Pablo Martinez
I suspect that we have all struggled with prayer, feeling that we either don’t get it right or don’t use it as we should. In his book, ‘Praying with the Grain’, Dr Pablo Martinez writes as a doctor and a Christian counsellor on the way that our personality type can strongly affect how we pray and how, in being aware of this, we can not only recognise our strengths, but also work on our areas of weakness without feeling guilty. If you are interested in knowing why we often struggle as we do, then this is an excellent book on guiding us into a more intimate and powerful prayer life.
Prayer: Does it make any difference? by Philip Yancey
In this book Philip Yancey writes honestly and inspiringly about the vital part that prayer can play and the difference it can make to our Christian lives whilst acknowledging that prayer is never easy. He relates instances when prayer has brought about change both in situations and people which, without divine intervention, would have seemed impossible. He also addresses the difficulties we can experience in prayer. He quotes John Wesley who said: “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” Read this book and beware! You may hear God speaking to you.