Tony’s Experience of Personal Prayer

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For many, many years I have tried to start the day by setting aside time to read the Bible and pray. Whilst I was working in industry and had a young family, I would get up early to spend time with God before the rest of the family were awake. At one stage my boys would join me, and we would read a children’s bible and pray together, special times and memories.

However, I always found reading the Bible easier than praying and I ended up spending much more time in Bible study than in prayer. In the months, immediately before leading my first church I was challenged about the depth and quality of my prayer life, was it sufficient to build a church on? I knew the answer was no. I therefore set myself the task of developing my prayer life. What I put in place then has stood the test of time, I follow the same basic structure now, over 25 years later.

I am not suggesting you follow my pattern, but I am encouraging you as part of our focus on prayer this month to review your prayer life and see if it needs any development.

My pattern has four distinct elements.

  1. I read a chapter or two from the Bible, a different section each day.
  2. I then journal in a notebook. I write todays date and then the word yesterday. I then prayerful reflect on the previous day, writing down what I learnt, what I felt God was doing.
  3. I then read from a devotional book. I try to read a book to encourage my praying at least once a year.
  4. I then write out my prayers in the same book used for my journal. I write prayers under four heading, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. ACTS.

If you feel challenged to develop your prayer life may I suggest that you start by reading a book on prayer as well as setting aside some time each day to pray.

Books I have found helpful include

Too busy not to pray by Bill Hybels (The book that more than any other revolutionised my prayer life so many years ago.)

Ordering your private world by Gordon MacDonald (Covers much more than just prayer, but another book that helped me develop my relationship with God.)

Prayer by Tim Keller (I more recent book, a little harder to read but worth it.)

The circle maker by Mark Batterson (His story of the power of prayer in his ministry, easy reading)

Fresh wind, fresh fire by Jim Cymbala (Another story of the power of prayer)

Written by Tony Thompson

The Importance of Prayer


I am continually challenged by God about the importance of prayer. It started when I was preparing to lead a church for the first time, over 30 years ago. I realised my prayer life was not strong enough to sustain a church. I spent months reading about prayer and seeking to rebuild my prayer life.

Periodically I have felt called to encourage others to review their prayer life and to preach about prayer. I have recently been speaking to a friend of mine who is serving God in another nation about their prayer life, I am concerned for them that they are not developing their relationship with God in a way that will sustain a long-term ministry. There are already signs of strain.

Over the Summer we will be returning to the subject of prayer with a series of sermons inspired by this verse in Luke 11.

11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

The disciples were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and ministry, yet we don’t see one recorded time in Scripture where they petitioned Jesus, “Teach us to preach.” We don’t see one recorded time where they said, “Teach us to heal,” “Teach us to prophesy,” or “Teach us to do miracles.” After spending three and a half years with the Son of God, they requested, “Lord, teach us to pray”.

This verse doesn’t just show us the impact that Jesus’s prayer life had on his followers, it also implies that we can learn to be more effective in prayer. My prayer is that over the next few months we will learn more about prayer as a church and as individuals by studying together Jesus’s prayers and his teaching on prayer.

I have always found the prayer of the early Christians recorded in Acts 4, a helpful model for prayer.

The believers pray.

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

‘“Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.” 

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

I am reminded of the importance of filling my mind with the greatness of God, “Sovereign Lord”, before “considering their threats”. Reminding ourselves of all that God has done, and how relatively insignificant the nations are, how men may plot but God is in control. Catching sight of God changes the content of my prayers.

We too face many threats, this passage encourages us to pray, filling our minds with who God is and what he has done and then bringing those threats to our all-powerful God. The passage also points to our need to be doing this both as individuals and as a church.

Over the Summer can I therefore encourage you to pray, to give some attention to your personal prayer life! As well as sermons looking at Jesus’s prayers and his teaching on prayer, we will be republishing a series of blogs on prayer to encourage you in this.

An update from Kristina

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An update on my exciting Internship year….

I am writing this blog to update you on the cross-cultural internship program I began in September 2022 with Unreached Network (which is a part of New Frontiers.) The Internship consists of a fortnightly lesson via zoom where we have the privilege of listening to guest speakers who share their stories, knowledge, and insights with us. These lessons are also always full of lots of prayer and support from beginning to end. The Holy Spirit is always very present as we learn together and as we learn from each other; He is moulding us to be of one heart and of one mind together in Christ Jesus.

Each month we have a book assigned to read and usually, the author will be one of our guest speakers during that month. I feel this has been truly valuable giving us the opportunity to discuss the book with them in detail and to hear the questions from others involved in the Internship and from the interns themselves. This is great for expanding your learning because we all have different ways of seeing things plus God speaks to us all in different ways. We have tasks and broadcast modules that are set monthly for us to complete, but they have been very kind by not putting pressure on us with deadlines but to complete them at our own pace.

The Internship also consists of a placement one day a week and for this, I am placed at Hope Church, Luton. As part of this, we are running children’s holiday events, with our next one coming up at Easter. We are still in need of volunteers for this so please do spread the word and if you feel prompted to get involved, please speak to me, or email me, we would be very grateful to have you on the team. At Christmas, we ran our first children’s holiday event. It was a success, we had a good turnout and we all had lots of fun together playing party games, getting creative with crafts, decorating biscuits, hearing the Christmas story, and acting it out.

Last year we began running a fortnightly drop-in homework club as another part of my placement at Hope Church. We had a family come regularly whom I was able to build a great friendship with and they introduced me to two other families whom I have also got to know well. A connection I have with the Luton Rotary club enabled me to take two of these families shopping for winter clothes, shoes, and school uniforms with money the Rotarians donated to the church for this purpose. I know they felt extremely blessed by the Rotary club’s generosity and support from Hope Church, not just with homework but the fact that they had somewhere warm and welcoming to come, away from the hotel accommodation, which they all describe as prisons. One week we opened up our kitchen for one of the families to cook, which they have no option to do in the hotel accommodation. This is something I would like to do more of but I would need more volunteers to make it happen on a regular basis.

Going forward we are changing the homework drop-in to a mums come and connect group at the earlier time of 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm on Tuesdays. The idea is to again open the church doors and welcome ladies and their children to a warm space away from the same four walls, somewhere they can meet other mums have a chat and feel love and support from people around them. Toys and games will be provided for the children and hot drinks and cake will be available. It would be very nice to get a team of ladies who love to chat and spend time with people on board for this! If you feel called to get involved please be encouraged to step out in faith, just come and speak to me.

I have continued to visit local families that Shirley and we as Hope Church had built good relationships with pre-Covid. This time spent reconnecting with them and strengthening our friendship has been such a pleasure for me and I always feel so blessed by them. The aim is still to establish a team of people here at Hope Church who will be part of reaching out to these friends and neighbours from other faiths and cultures. If you feel called to get involved in this please do contact me because we need people who genuinely want to give their time to build friendships with those who are not like themselves, to learn from each other, and to share life and our faiths respectfully together.


  • Thank you so much for all your ongoing support
  • Pray for further success with the studies and also with the community relationships and projects
  • Contact me on if you’d like to get involved.

God bless you,  Kristina Druce.

A challenge to a tolerant society

I am deeply disturbed by the treatment of SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes. I have read some of the articles she has written and listened to various interviews she has given. She comes across as an able, articulate, passionate politician and a committed Christian. Yet her honest articulation of her Christian values are put forward as disqualifying her from high political office.

With a Hindu as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and a Muslim as the mayor of London, it would seem that the UK is at last fulfilling the promise of a multi-cultural society. Yet events in Scotland suggest that there is one group who are in effect banned from meaningful political leadership – Christians who actually believe what Jesus says!

Why do people who champion the right of people to hold diverse views and live life as they choose, have a blind spot for Christians? How can people claim that not having a faith at all is somehow neutral? How can people fail to see that politicians with moral convictions enhance public life rather than undermine it?

Tim Farron writes, Western progressives lack curiosity as to why a Christian might take a different, jarring position on issues such as refugees, sexuality, poverty, abortion, greed, and gender.

The idea that private faith should be kept private and not expressed is nonsense. Faith impacts everything we do. We live in a society that claims to respect people’s views, which is also Christian teaching. However, it seems that Christian views are not allowed in public debate. This is all deeply disturbing and deserves the debate and reflections that are taking place around Kate Forbes candidacy. It is potentially a defining moment for British democracy, how tolerant are we?

Encouragingly there are many voices speaking up for Ms Forbes, e.g., Kevin McKenna; Ms Forbes’ views on the sanctity of all human life from conception until death is a fundamental pillar of both Christian and Muslim belief. As is her belief – based on science – that sex is binary. The treatment that she’s already beginning to receive offers further evidence of the poison now circulating at the top of the SNP. That you’re free be whoever you want to be, just as long as you’re not a Christian.”

Or this from AN Wilson, forget for the moment what she believes about Christian marriage. Be big-minded and big-hearted enough to consider, just for a moment, what it might mean to elect someone to high office who is a committed Christian. We are still feeling bruised by having lived through the Boris Johnson years, and having experienced what it is like to have a prime minister who does not distinguish between truth and falsehood, and whose sleazy money dealings leave an extremely unpleasant taste in the mouth. If questioned about gay rights, he would sound like a liberal, but which would you prefer in Downing Street? A pious Christian who was the spouse of one other person, or Johnson, whose army of exes make him seem like a character in a seedy Feydeau farce?

I close with Forbes herself, “I will defend to the hilt everybody’s right in a pluralistic and tolerant society to live and to love free of harassment and fear, and in the same way I hope others can be afforded the rights as people of faith to practise fairly mainstream teaching. That is the nuance we need to capture.”

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