I have been reading the compline prayers of a group of meditative Christians over the last month, looking at the style, the wording, watching for similes and synonyms that would be useful in my prayer life.
I realised that I didn’t know what compline meant but that the prayers were well rounded, contained elements of intercession, confession, adoration and were directed to all the components of the Trinity.
I looked at the collects in MWB and they are not the same. There is a sparsity of language. I know I have to learn to slow down when I am praying in public as the leader of worship in a service and I think I will start using the collects to do that rather than pray extempore.
And more than that I will attempt to write prayers that follow the rule so of either compline or collect discipline.
I was talking to someone this week who wanted to explore extempore praying, that at the moment they don’t feel free to do so. There can be many reasons people don’t pray in public: scared, scared to say wrong thing, scared someone will talk over them, unsure of words, other people speak reams of prayer how do they do that? Feelings of inferiority, feelings that everyone else is waiting for you to speak, feelings of inadequacy in terms of language or form or theology.
Having spent a few years listening to other praying extemporily I have noted a few things. Some people recite a prayer they have learned to say whether from themselves or from someone else. Others use their own framework, a bit like a collect and then freely pray within that framework. There are a few people who pray without any of this but their language is filled with scripture. And again a few who open their mouth without knowing what will come out, truly extempore, open to the leading of the Spirit.
In fellowship groups and bible studies I tend towards this kind of prayer, let it come out how it will.
But as a leader of worship I wonder (too much) about what would happen if I went blank so I write down a prayer spoken at some point in the week beforehand after some meditation all prayer about the congregation. Sometimes I lead prayers of intercession with the basic framework in my head and no thought as to what will be said in between. Like praying for world situations, country situations, county situations, town situations, the church, our families and so it encompasses world events, country politics kind of, community outside and inside the church and those we know well petitioning for healing, wisdom and peace.
Over a year ago I had the huge privilege of listening to someone praying out loud for the very first time. It is for those moments I am on this journey, each one precious for the person and for me and for The Lord. I have heard many first extempore prayers since then and it hasn’t lost its magic. I have watched my sisters and brothers in Christ grow, particularly in the last two years and I am in the stands clapping and cheering them on.
I know that I have given others those moments too. And I thank God for all the people in the stands clapping and cheering me on.

Fierce but not so proud

I write about the stuff going on in my life, in my family’s life and general comment. Occasionally I just get an urge to splurge poetically. I met a guy called Skuse yesterday and immediately started rhyming it with excuse. I had to stop because I was laughing too much.
Hoping that I can get a bunch of kids enthused over a play (short ten mins max) on Sunday based around a secular version of We want to see…
Thinking of advent and wondering who put the ure at the end.
Because when we delve into advent devotionally we are on an adventure, drawing closer to our King, the Light of the World, who shines like a beacon in the darkness of our messed up world.
I feel on fire thinking of the expedition, preparation is key and I am getting all my materials together. What do you have around you when you spend time with The Lord?
I need to meditate so I have a colouring book, there is nothing like some colouring in to free the mind. My canvas is ready, the background is dry so it waiting for inspiration. Bible obviously, I am using the paraphrased The Voice and king James versions. Loads of paper and everything I need to make joyful noises. Finally I have the space. I have a place now where it is quiet, silent and quite warm (for my house nine degrees) and I will be on the floor, grounded.
So all prepared, just waiting for the first delivery.
It all came together today, everything is absolutely perfectly dovetailing. I know will continue to let the old “me” take over every now and then but I am ready to go, to stay to do whatever is needed.
I am jumping up and down in joy the heeby jeebies have been banished and I just want to do and be acceptable to God.


Oh you do have legs. Oh you look nice today. Oh you scrub up well.
Those are the polite things that get said to me when I wear a skirt.
Each time something is said to me like that, I think of the scars covering my legs, most have faded with time. Scars by me and scars done to me. But I know every single one, I know when they happened and how.
I think of the times my body has been scrubbed so the blood vessels on the surface have popped.
I am grateful it is not needed anymore.

I said something this week as innocent as the opening statements above but it took someone somewhere else and offence occurred.
We don’t know what our words mean to someone else. We use humour to deflect. We defend when there is nothing to defend.

It costs nothing to offend, it costs everything to apologise.

We should apologise more, before it’s too late.

Hurt people hurt others.


A moment of clarity. Everyone else is seeing it.
All the introspection getting ready to give my testimony, well I just reacted by going to default. But they said yes. I was accepted even at my most incoherent.
To be honest, I was looking at me “perform” and I was wondering what garbage was going to come out because it wasn’t what I had prepared.
But that is over finished.
Since then I have preached freely, no constraints, well except time, the shuffling had started, the attention span had waned, so I skipped a couple of minutes and finished early.
I led bible study this morning and again I felt free. I went off script regularly, for some reason pieces of scripture came to me, some of the people shared honestly about their faith or trial or a combination.
I didn’t have a “model” bible studier that I followed but I noticed that the bible studies that come with books, have questions, challenges, points of encouragement and I don’t see that in the local bible studies.
I knew I wanted to break the ice with seekers and new believers, that they have valid points about their own lives without it becoming the pity feast it sometimes becomes. I am searching for a balance between information given (from commentaries and theologians) and asking the questions that pierce.
So in one bible study I asked what was people’s favourite commandment from the OT. Another I asked when was the last time people were aware of Gods grace in their life. At another I asked them to name some backsliders in the bible. Interestingly the last one led people to think of when they were on the precipice of backsliding and share openly.
I am not saying the Suzie way is the right way, but am finding my feet, feeling more confident in my knowledge of scripture.
As I come to the end of my year of giving to the church I look back and see there has been progress. I might not always get the right balance but it is a work in progress. I am more sure of how to word my faith journey so am not struggling with vocabulary.
On Wednesday I was asked to explain two terms for someone, one came up in conversation and the other was from bible study the day before. I don’t want to be in the position where people don’t feel free to ask questions within a bible study if they don’t understand a point. My aims are inclusivity and accessibility, both of myself, the group and God’s word. It wasn’t written so we couldn’t understand. It was written so we could. Not all of it. But the stuff we need to.
I thought I was facing a series of hoops, but this week they changed to brick walls, I changed to “I have gone through enough, this is enough”
So what did God do, he placed people who were in need in my path and I responded to their need. He gave me confidence and strength. He got me back on track.
And they aren’t walls or hoops, they are just assumptions, I need to coherently address them. Knocknaheeny and their like needs me to step up and not step down. I am not a box person I am free in the Spirit, I just need to let it be known.

adventurous weather talking

You gotta have faith, the song tells us, but we really do gotta.

Faith is a gift from God but once given to us, what do we do with it? is it thrown at the bottom of the toybox after a few weeks? Is it taken out for an airing once a week on a Sunday?

Or do we live it and live by it?

Can others see your faith?

Can they see mine?

We gotta get past the weather talking to deep, honest, sharing. And yes it is uncomfortable and can be challenging. Measure every word because if it is not of God it is coming from somewhere else.

Loose talk cost lives, loose spiritual talk costs souls.

So some people aren’t ready to get past the weather, we pray for those people.

We as Christian people on this planet have a mission, to bring the hope that is Christ into every person’s hearing. That they can know the love of God, freely given, just like we know.

A friend said to me something that bigged me up in some respects but also put me in my place. I am the person living on the margins of normal society. So I talk to them. I talk too much?

One evening last week I returned to default, it was like pulling teeth getting a coherent sentence out. Even I was looking at me and wondering what was going to said next. That is not me, but neither am I just the carer of my son, neither am I just the person who got through various bouts of breathing in and out is too hard, neither am I just the person who should never have been born, neither am I just the fixer, the coper, the getting on with things.

I am none of these people now, I am empty, ready to be used. I cried yesterday for the longest time, again feelings of inadequacy filling me, again bucketloads of conversation with God. Why me? What use can I be? and then a phone call and another answer, yes. Yes I am not up for the task by myself. But that is not what is needed. What is needed is total surrender.

So I am, using adventurous faith every day, reaching out.

Just said yes again on the phone to something different, who knows where it will lead? God knows.

4 Alls

The lady experienced grace
And in that moment
Everything changed

Because that ain’t no lady
In the genteel world
Everything changed

He wrote in the sand
They walked away
Everything changed

We all need this
We all can change at the well
We know it is real

Moments like this when
Everything changes
And we continue to change every day

So turn to towards the Light
Naked, lonely, afraid
Transform to loved and loving
It is the only true way


Day 21the end

So my 22 days with John are at an end a day early. It has been great, have enjoyed each study session, I held onto them like a mother with a baby.

We can be so dismissive of our church fathers, oh that was just for then. Now is the time…

but really they were living in a broken world, like we are, there was alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, thieves, murderers and rapists. There was abuse of power and the rich being horrid to the poor, there was child slavery, indentured and debentured servants with a half day off a month, there were ginhouses and factories with really bad conditions where you could die going to work.

Wesley wrote about arsenic and lead poisoning from work, and I remember the women who were poisoned by ingesting radium whilst painting luminous numbers on clocks, Eleanor Swanson tells the story in Radium Girls:

We sat at long tables side by side in a big
dusty room where we laughed and carried
on until they told us to pipe down and paint.
The running joke was how we glowed,
the handkerchiefs we sneezed into lighting
up our purses when we opened them at night,
our lips and nails, painted for our boyfriends
as a lark, simmering white as ash in a dark room.
“Would you die for science?” the reporter asked us,
Edna and me, the main ones in the papers.
Science? We mixed up glue, water and radium
powder into a glowing greenish white paint
and painted watch dials with a little
brush, one number after another, taking
one dial after another, all day long,
from the racks sitting next to our chairs.
After a few strokes, the brush lost its shape,
and our bosses told us to point it with
our lips. Was that science?
I quit the watch factory to work in a bank
and thought I’d gotten class, more money,
a better life, until I lost a tooth in back
and two in front and my jaw filled up with sores.
We sued: Edna, Katherine, Quinta, Larice and me,
but when we got to court, not one of us
could raise our arms to take the oath.
My teeth were gone by then. “Pretty Grace
Fryer,” they called me in the papers.
All of us were dying.
We heard the scientist in France, Marie
Curie, could not believe “the manner
in which we worked” and how we tasted
that pretty paint a hundred times a day.
Now, even our crumbling bones
will glow forever in the black earth.

I think of all the many people who died because of corruption and greed at the hands of the bosses, in Wesley’s day.

Slavery was still actively a business and yet today we still have slaves. We have learned nothing from history. We have not changed this earth for the better we have sat in the squalor of our ancestors and made it worse.


Every now and then a voice calls to us in the wilderness, in this case John Wesley, and he says follow Jesus, leave the world behind, yes there are rules but love is the first one.

Jesus calls to us through preachers like John Wesley for his time and ones today to come out of the quagmire that is the world, out of the darkness into the beautiful light that is God revealed to us in Christ.

The God who loves us to absolute bits and wants us to love him back.