Don’t forget July thanksgivings!

FMF:Forget.

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is: Forget

There were so many things jostling for position in my thoughts when considering the word ‘forget’:-

all my experiences and understanding of dementia; the call to ‘forget not’ the wonders and commands of the Lord; and my own clumsy stories of forgetfulness; but the subject that won my attention, to consider for these five minutes, is ‘forget’-fulness as the reason for my monthly gratitude blog.

About 18 months ago, in the space of about 48 hours, I witnessed three wonderful, miraculous and diverse answers to prayer. Of course this was tremendously encouraging to my own faith and prayer life – I saw what an enormous privilege and honour it was, to pray and see the power of prayer changing lives.

But what struck me most was that I so often pray about things and then completely forget about them. When the emergency has passed and all is well, I forget about the sweat, anxiousness and concern of those moments and I slip so easily into taking for granted the healings, the protection and the countless blessings that have taken place. Sometimes I didn’t remember to even ask the person how the situation had progressed, for which I had been praying.

The emergencies capture my attention and I pray, but then I forget.

So I began not only writing down my prayers, which helps me to focus intentionally in prayer, but also every couple of days to reflect on what I was praying for and check in to see if those prayers were already answered, or need revising.

Those answered prayers are then recorded in a little thanksgiving book.

The practice of reflecting allows me to see the miracles, blessings and answers to prayer all the time and to constantly encourage me to pray more.

More importantly for me, it reminds me to stop and say ‘Thank You’. I always have this image of the ten lepers who begged Jesus for healing and were cleansed as they went on their way… but the one who came back to thank Jesus, he was made whole!

I want to always remember to acknowledge, notice, recall, remember and praise and thank my God for all the prayers He has answered every day and to never forget all of His benefits.

I like to do this publicly each month, to praise God publicly and to encourage you to not give up praying, and to keep looking for those answers to prayer in your every-day life.

My five minutes are over now, but I will take this opportunity to now include my heartfelt gratitude for all the prayers answered during the month of July – those specific prayer intentions, as well as all of those general heartfelt longings for loved ones and the groans of the Spirit, that I know He hears.

(I had not forgotten to do my monthly thanksgiving, but I have been extra-specially busy these past Summer weeks. It is too easy to let it slip and allow busy-ness to become an excuse to forget again.)

So specifically I thank and praise God for:

For help, ideas and blessings during the two Sunday School lessons

For the kindness, prayers and support of friends and church family during some difficult weeks

For the prayers for me for freedom

For your many promises to me, especially psalm 103

For the safe travel connections for my sons and for the opportunity for them to holiday together

For another powerful EH weekend training and for all the work You did in and through us

For a blessed visit and couple of days with J and V

For the dedication of the refurbished building, and for the dedication of K, and the blessed fellowship connections and gatherings for each

For showing me images and memories, and guiding me in my own healing journey with You

For a blessed trip to Cheltenham and laying to rest of R’s ashes and for the smooth arrangements and renewed relationships and contacts.

For precious times with grandchildren

For breaking strongholds and revealing truth

For J and J and their willingness to help professionally

For your Peace in the storms and for financial help

For a lovely party for J and S and all the precious guests

For a precious family day out together

For a blessed time of fellowship and connection with S

For faith, peace, hope in you

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven and Glory to God deep in my heart.

Don’t forget to say thank you.

Please be the one leper who comes back daily to say thank you.

May ‘Thank-You’

May Thanksgiving for Answered Prayer and Protection.

Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.

Luke 17:12-16

I want to always be the one who sets off in obedience and is cleansed, but who also comes back to thank You and worship You and to be made whole.

Let us never tire of coming back to say Thank You.

For answered prayer in May, I say thank you:

For a special family start to May with ordinary togetherness and fun.

That R. feels happy and blessed on his birthday.

For the new connection and blessing of M.C in B.J.

For the successful visit and connection with C. and P.

For inspiration and ideas to do the 4 sketches for section 2.

For use of the car and amazing first weekend of my new counselling/prayer ministry course and for the provision of books and the special people and learning so far.

For the time and inspiration to do the homework and for all the work of the Holy Spirit in me through the application of the teaching even at this early stage.

For how You teach me lessons that I then can apply to Sunday School lessons, leading devotions, blogs and other areas in life.

For the encouragement from the kids in Sunday School.

For the hard-working team and Your blessing and coordination in all the preparations for venue, food and hearts for the banquet in Your name, and for every one of those beloved guests.

For your glory, Father God.

For the Scripture Deuteronomy 11:23 – that You drive out the opposition only as we advance head on.

For all the new people finding their way into AA and for giving them courage to take the steps towards transformation.

For all the film-and-food nights with C. this month.

For courage to take the steps in obedience to Your leading and the blessing and peace that comes from that.

For blessing S’s heart especially over the last 5 months.

That S. has come off the medication and is making progress in the right trajectory.

For the 1000 people at the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer gathering for Nottingham and for Your tangible presence there and in this city.

For your presence, protection and blessing with me in A&E and for the privilege and opportunity to speak with and encourage G, and to pray for G, M and A.

For the care received by the farm staff and the paramedics and A&E staff.

For the rapid healing of my body after the accident and the concussion shock.

I always want to give You thanks for the countless times You have protected me and my loved ones from dangers that I have not even perceived. That all those we pray for, are in Your arms and Your care. I thank You for the ongoing guidance, transformation, growth and for the constant sowing and growth towards a future harvest in places that maybe I do not see.

But You are faithful.

You ask us to pray and You hear us.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Thank You, Father God, that when we ask for direction, You do lead and guide us in the measure that we are willing to take the time to lean in and listen for You.

Entering 2022 with Thanksgiving

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Psalm 100:4

This theme and this verse has come up so many times this last month, and it delights me now that I am beginning to understand it by experience and not just by hearing.

This monthly public thanksgiving to God now marks one whole year of doing this!

This morning I looked back, in my ‘Answered Prayer’ book, to the first records of specific prayers answered last February and over the year.

I am overwhelmed with awe and such gratitude that the God of all creation should listen to the prayers of a little me (and you) and should allow me (and you), through prayer, to bring God’s intervention into the lives of those around me (and you!).

What an enormous privilege, honour and responsibility!!!

And I have the privilege, honour and responsibility to come before my God and to give Him thanks and to give Him the glory by publicly sharing all that God has done.

Psalm 50:23 – “Giving thanks is the sacrifice that honours me, and I will surely save all who obey me.”

So with all joy and thanksgiving and without further ado, I thank God for all the specific answered prayers during January, but also for God’s ongoing intervention in areas that still await a breakthrough, and for all of those extra blessings and favour of which I may be blissfully unaware.

– That my neighbour responded with kind neighbourliness

– That many good re-connections made with long-standing friends during January.

– That A. sold her house and has moved back home.

– For many answers to prayer for S. – that she passed her license medical; bought good return tickets to M; for the long-term parking space and the last minute transport help; for all the favour and help in the journey and though controls; for your healing, personal growth and blessings; and for your protection and blessing through recent covid.

– That my own time of isolation enabled me to do lots of writing, editing and deep work

– For J.’s successful eye operation and for stopping the nose-bleeds

– That S. is now trained and willing to cover for contingencies and for the breaks we need at work

– That K.’s loan was swiftly agreed

– For the pleasure of meeting A. and for the power and love you have shown in miraculously healing little A. and for working in M. and mum and reuniting all the family. Glory to You, Lord.

– That D. is healed and policies in place for her to return safely to work

– That a lovely parcel of provision arrived from A. and then the funding back in place for her to return to work with the team in K.

– That E.’s tumour is completely gone

– That R. has done longer periods sober and You are changing his heart

– That C.’s funding has arrived

– That You healed C. and E. of their fevers and sickness and brought us all through swiftly

– That P. was fully prepared and enjoyed his exam

– That Y. has had great care and has gone home in peace to be with You at last

– That You provided me last minute with legal representation, but You were with me, Jehovah Shammah, and You fought my court case and You won for me. Glory to You, Lord.

Lord I worship and thank You for Who You are – such a Good, Miracle-working, Love-in-action, Holy, Amazing God and the most loving Father EVER!!

I am so grateful for Your faithfulness in all of Your promises:

And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

And that

Your mercies are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22

my choice of images reflect the morning sun breaking through the path through the trees…

August Praises

Isn’t gratitude one of the greatest pick-me-ups? How many times has a dose of the doldrums been transformed into bubbling joy and calm, simply by thinking through and naming all the things for which you are grateful? Have you ever done it long enough to come to the end of your list?

But, slow learner that I am, I again made the mistake of thinking I didn’t have anything interesting to blog about last week and was too busy to listen… yet I had a post to be written all along. I had made a commitment (ooh, serious word!) to giving public thanks to God every month, for His faithfulness in hearing and responding to my prayers, with His Father heart of love. I am so excited, on a daily basis, as I acknowledge petitions that are answered, issues resolved, miracles happening… as I witness God happening in my life and in the lives of those around me… but, come the end of the month, I think – “I’ve nothing to write about!”

So here we are on 21st September and I’ve still not given public thanks and praise for all God’s visible goodness and intervention throughout August. But I will do so now, with repentance again for my warped priorities! Meanwhile God is so faithful, that my notebook for September continues to show countless blessings!

august definition: 1. having great importance and especially of the highest social class.

So, August praises to God is a fitting title, in all respects!

I give thanks:

That the chairs went back into rows in church, after 18 months of restrictions,

That C got more than enough distinctions and merits from his access course and a good grade for his GCSE maths, and was offered a place in university.

That my videos, recordings and writings continued successfully and the fourth edit of the book finally complete and is off for feedback.

That August holiday lunch-club was successful and many local families blessed with food.

That S and I had a very productive week of DIY in the house, related well, and managed to visit old friends.

That J and V got the council house they were looking for.

That I was able to receive the medical advice needed and tests all clear.

That You healed my right foot.

That I was able to help S to edit her paper enough to finally submit it.

That I was able to have a weekend away with old friends and all went smoothly and well.

That D and R back together, so child-care issues resolved.

That B’s tests and urgent flight tickets all resolved smoothly.

That I’ve been honoured to host a home-group for the new prayer course.

That S’s travel plans worked well and was released from the quarantine and able to visit all the people planned for.

That D’s cancer has gone and she is well.

That the tribunal hearing has been postponed until a more suitable time and venue.

That I was able to spend more time than usual with my beloved grandchildren this month.

Lord, there were 3 disappointments this month – 2 people for whom I had prayed, but who died. I don’t understand why, but I trust You. I trust You to know the bigger picture and continue to entrust all the bereaved into Your loving arms.

Not all of my prayer is petition and intercession (asking for intervention and favour for self and others) but many areas of growth and life are just too difficult to define in words and to quantify or qualify. Praise and gratitude are a large part of my relationship with my Lord and Creator.

I am most grateful that I can come with confidence into the presence of God and that He not only knows me better than I know myself, but that God loves me despite knowing the areas I hide even from myself. In other words, I am most grateful for the relationship with God and the fact that I really can bring all burdens, concerns, questions, celebrations and everything – even disappointments and laments – to a loving God, who listens, comforts and lights those burdens and pains with a peace beyond expectation and a joy that seems extravagant!

You are so loved! Always pause to give thanks for that!