Hymns: At the Name of Jesus

“…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11

Let’s just say I’m in a particularly good mood right now. The paperwork I’ve been stressing about and worrying about for the past month or so is finally on its way to France. I’ve got one exam left, in a week’s time. The weather is fantastic. (Maybe even a little too warm…). At times like this it’s really easy to see God and praise Him for His goodness.

This hymn is lovely. Lively and upbeat, and summarising creation, Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension. And then giving hope and encouragement, particularly when things are harder. It’s not always easy to praise God, although it’s something that I try to remind myself to do.

This hymn summarises exactly why I do that. Why I remind myself to praise God. Why I praise God in the first place. I love a hymn with a long list of scripture references. And so many are from the Gospels, or from Paul’s encouraging letters. The opening line comes from Philippians. Side note, we studied Philippians in CU last term. And I really loved studying it. Put simply, Paul and the Philippians are #cugoals

Anyway. We have such a hope in Jesus, and it’s so great to be able to praise Him with such a joyful, uplifting hymn that captures this hope so well.

Ways to Pray: Prayer Paper Chain

I always like to do something creative to pray. Whilst simply speaking is great, I often end up just… waffling on. So something creative can also help me to focus.

I came across this idea just before Christmas. And when I did it, I made a few mistakes. I made the strips of paper too thick, and I didn’t do them brightly-coloured enough. But it was still effective.

The idea is simple; write a prayer on each strip of paper, and join them together. You could have separate chains for separate themes (we’ve got one in our house with the theme of ‘thankfulness’), or separate colours for separate themes, or simply write down prayers and not worry about colour-matching themes. I like things being colour-matched but I also hate being too legalistic about things that don’t really matter.

Some of the reasons I like this:

  • It’s nice to have something to brighten up a uni room.
  • It’s good to see how God’s working, and everything He’s done.
  • It’s really easy to add to.
  • It’s easy to take a section and give thanks for answered prayers, or continue to pray for something.
  • It’s good for both group prayer and personal prayer

I will admit, the idea did come from a list of prayer activities for children, but then again I could quite reasonably describe myself as 20-going-on-5 so I don’t feel too bad about recommending it…

So. Much. Paperwork.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34

#thesarcasmisstrongwiththisone

Paperwork is great. I love paperwork. Everything seems to make so much sense and I really enjoy filling in form after form with very similar information, when I have exams on. It doesn’t stress me out at all that I have 2 exams next week, plus coursework due in, plus the application for next year to sort out. And I didn’t freak out at all because I had a speaking exam earlier this week.

Apologies. Most of my inner emotions work their way out through the medium of sarcasm. It’s probably not the best way of communicating though…

There have been times in the past week I’ve really struggled. Depending on the day you ask, I’ve either been fine, or panicking. Would I finish in time? Would the application go fine? Would I manage to avoid ending up a sobbing mess on the floor?

There was a prayer meeting on Friday evening, where there was also a time of worship. I realised that I probably wouldn’t go. Then the worship team asked the PA team if anyone could do PA. Being on the PA team, and realising that I probably should go, I volunteered. So it forced me to go.

The need to step away from what I was doing. The need to spend time with God. It was so good to spend that time with others. And to pray for them, and for them to pray for me. And God is so faithful.

One of my friends recently shared this, which I think perfectly sums up my feelings right now. It’s a good reminder of God’s faithfulness.

May every cry, “I can’t,”
When yet, in fact, “I must,”
Become by grace, “He can,”
And then, in Him, “I trust.” – John Piper

The context for the quote at the top is wonderful. It’s a great reminder that God knows our needs, and so we don’t need to worry about them. We should instead “seek his kingdom and his righteousness” – this changes our priorities. In fact it completely turns them on their head. It’s such a reassuring and yet massively challenging upheaval.

Ways to Pray

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

I’ve talked a lot about prayer before. It’s perhaps one of the biggest recurring themes, probably because it’s so important, but so special, to talk with God and to cast everything onto Him.

8 months ago I was at Forum, a CU training camp where CU leaders from across the country met to worship God and be equipped for mission on campus. And one of the things I took from that was that it doesn’t matter how you pray, it just matters that you pray!

To save this from being a really long post that I need to update whenever I find a new, creative way to pray, I’ve decided to make this a category of its own. Mostly so that when I’m stuck for ideas, I can look back through the category to find something 🙂

In other words: Prayer is important, I hope this is useful 🙂