From the Benefice – A Time to Pray & Help

At this time of writing, the world is very concerned with the situation in Ukraine. The news is dominated with the terrible events happening since the Russian invasion. During one of the regular news bulletins, the correspondent moved inside a large Church in Kyiv, where hundreds of people were praying. Also the Church of England and Pope Francis called for a day of global prayer and fasting on Ash Wednesday, 2 nd March, so right across the world people are praying for the situation in Ukraine. It is interesting to note that throughout history in times of crisis, people are often called or prompted to pray. Today I received an email from the Bishop of St Edmundsbury pertaining to the Churches response to situation in Ukraine, and this is what he says –

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

We here want to help, and prayer is our first means of doing so, and I know churches are also involved in collecting supplies for people in Ukraine.  I am pleased that we have been able to secure a straightforward way to make donations from churches and individuals through teaming up with World Vision, a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee.  Mark Sheard, the chief executive of World Vision, is a Lay Canon of the Cathedral and lives in Worlingworth and I am very grateful to him for expediting this straightforward means of making donations from our churches.  Please send money via the link below as soon as you collect it so it benefits those who need it as quickly as possible, and that may well of course mean making multiple donations over the next weeks.  This, therefore, is our Lent Appeal, and I know your churches will be generous.  We are very grateful to be in partnership with World Vision who will receive our donations and handle the gift aid. Be assured that every pound goes directly to those in need. World Vision is also part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), whose appeal is supported by the UK Government. 

(If any of us would like to donate funds to the Ukraine situation, we can do it by going directly to World Vision Ukraine site).

It is interesting to note that the Bishop begins his appeal with the words “We are here to help, and prayer is our first means of doing so!” There is no doubt for me personally every day begins with prayer, as over the years I have seen and experienced so many amazing and miraculous answers to prayer! In 1988 a friend suggested that for one whole year I should keep a Prayer Diary. I believe the idea at the time was to be able to record not only the prayers being prayed, but also any answers to those prayers. This seemed to me at the time an interesting idea as very often it can be a case of praying and petitioning God on all sorts of matters and then at a later date often forgetting those prayers, and also not really recognising if and when they were answered. At the end of that year, I re-read my diary of prayer and I was really encouraged with all the answered prayer! Since then I have encouraged people who pray, to try and keep a prayer diary for 12 months and then review it after that period, I know they like me, will be truly encouraged.

I take heart from some words from the Bible – first St Paul said – “The Lord is near; do not be anxious, but in everything make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” And finally words from the Lord Himself –“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Keith Lewis (Lay Reader)