in the (dry) river

26 01 2014

Praying when nothing seems to happen. Praying where no-one else prays. Praying when the needs around are like a tidal wave rising before you and you can do nothing but pray.

We are river people. We believe that God’s love flows like rivers. The Bible is full of it.  But following Jesus and doing church – trying to grow church – can sometimes feel like maintaining a dry river bed. Endlessly tending, clearing, weeding. Like Noah, when other people say ‘why are you doing that?’ There is, quite obviously, no water. If we want people to know the love of God, then there are other places where the river already flows. Surely if we are river people, we should go where the river is?

Except that our God is in it for the long haul. We are in it for the long haul. We put our churches where the people are, not where the rivers are. Because we patiently wait for the time the river flows. We prepare. Below is a picture of the source of the River Wandle.  It is dry. It is a dry riverbed. I have often looked at it and wondered why it is still there. 

Then, after 15 years, it rained. And rained. And where the river bed was dry, all of a sudden it flowed. And now it is this:

As we were praying for our area, even before we knew about the arrival of the Wandle, we felt that God was encouraging us to pray even when around us feels like a dry river bed. Because God is at work, underground, maybe far away from us. But the water is coming. And when it comes, we must be ready. The landscape will change.

Like people being motivated to pray for our local area.
Like people discovering and rediscovering faith.
Like finally having enough men to do a men’s curry night.
Like today, when a third of the church congregation were new to us this year. It is still January. Are we ready? 

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3 responses

26 01 2014
Irene.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d] of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

Here is our God. God of the dry plains and the flooded lands. To all those struggling with all this water, we pray and hope that you find strength to carry through.

1 02 2014
Connie

My prayer today before reading this was ‘Lord turn the trickle of water of your Holy Spirit in st Helier into a river, we need a river’ and I was thinking of you and fran at the time. It will come. I think a new season of prayer may be upon us as we pray for some things to stop on the estate that are currently quenching the water and some things to be opened up.

2 02 2014
carol

Prayer is hard, Why? because we can only bring faith along with us. God teaches us we have no provisions of our own to bring to the table of prayer, we only have need, vunerability and faith. Everything else is down to our God ‘who is able to do that which is far beyond our imagining for good’
I find prayer both terrifying in its stripping off of self confidence, and exciting in making God the centre of my hope and trust!

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