Prayer Changes Things

‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14)

The thing that struck me the most about St Nic’s when I first started attending almost 2 years ago, was their heart of prayer. Prayer that supports, prayer that heals, prayer that changes. It changes circumstances, it changes hearts, it changes relationships and it changes lives! All we need to do is call upon the Lord, pray to Him and He will listen to us (Jeremiah 29:12). There are so many promises throughout the Bible of God promising His people (that’s us!) that if we engage in a relationship with Him through prayer, He hears us and responds. Although that response may not always be in the way that we imagine or hope for, we can trust that ‘as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [His] ways higher than your ways and [His] thoughts your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9).

Recently I have been wonderfully blessed by two separate events at St. Nic’s: The Australian Prayer Network (APN) Foundational Level prayer course, and the Churches Together united prayer evening. I just wanted to share some of my experiences, some of what I’ve learnt and how I have been encouraged me in my own prayer life in the next two blog posts…

Prayer Changes Things

The APN has several ‘levels’ of different prayer courses and this was the first one which focuses on the beginnings of really learning about how prayer works and how we can put into practice some Biblical truths. I want to focus on HOW prayer works. The main thing that I took away from this session was that prayer only changes things if we do what God tells us to do in response to our prayers to Him. There is no point in us praying and hearing a response from God then completely ignoring what God is telling us to do! Prayer requires action.

Prayer requires action

Prayer is an activity of God and it requires our cooperation: to be ‘totally available and radically obedient’! He wants to work through people – through you and me – to change the world. There’s a thinking that prayer requires God’s cooperation; that when we pray we want God to do exactly what we want and exactly how we want it. But that’s where we’ve got it completely wrong! God is far bigger, far greater than our circumstances, and if we focus on trying to simply find the right words to say, or believing that we have the answers then we’re losing sight of WHY we pray. Prayer is praying into God’s plans and purposes which are already known; ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

You know that feeling of when you’re praying for somebody or something, and you just can’t find the right words to say? That you don’t really know what to pray for? That the circumstance feels too big or too out of your own depth that you are lost for words? I want to encourage you and reassure you that THIS IS OK. It is not our words in our prayers that change the world. We need the power of God to change the circumstances. All we need to do, in every aspect of our lives INCLUDING our prayer lives, is to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…’ (Proverbs 3:5-6) And prayer is one beautiful way that we can reach out and touch the power of God, and allow it to flow through us in our lives! While I am aware not all of us pray in tongues, I have found this I have found that using this gift can really help me personally when I don’t know what to pray for – but that’s for another day!

Prayer and your passions

One of the big questions that many people have is ‘what do I pray for? There’s so much to pray for: my own family, friends, my community, my nation, the world… Where do I begin?’ Don’t worry. God has it covered. Start by understanding the passions of your heart; those individual talents and passions, remembering that He created you in His image (Genesis 1:27) and that He knit you together in your mother’s womb and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). This is where to begin. God wants to use these things that He has given you to make changes in your life and others’.

I spent some time in prayer after this challenge and I wanted to share one of my biggest passions – people. For people who are hurting, people who are in need or who are suffering. And also just to love people, to connect and encourage people as they are, where they are. For those of you who know me, this may not surprise you (ha!) but I’ve been really following God’s passion and trying to take every opportunity that presents itself in action and in prayer whenever I can, on a whole new level. It’s something that comes very naturally to me and I just love meeting and connecting with others wherever I go. But this is what God wants to use! He wants to use what we already love and are already passionate about to increase His kingdom here on earth!!

What you need to pray for every day

So I want to encourage you to seek God’s face and to ask Him what He wants you to pray for. Consider what are your passions? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What encourages you to keep going? These are the things that are God’s call on your life – and what you need to pray for every day.

Lift these things up to the Lord. Place them before Him and then ask Him want He wants you to do – then act on it! Remembering that faith moves the hand of God. Passion moves the hand of God. God searches for our hearts and uses those passions. So keep praying – passionately praying. We can’t NOT pray if we carry God’s heart for something. And we can stand secure in the faith that God will hear us, and He wants to work in us and through us to change the world. All we need to be, is ‘totally available and radically obedient’. That’s my challenge to you today.

Blessings, Zoë x

Where is your sacred space?

Where do you go when you need to pause, ground yourself, and reconnect with the Holy Spirit?
We live in a noisy world and live in a place where we have noise coming at us constantly, 24/7, trying to unplug and listen can be difficult. Needing to connect to God in a meaningful way is a daily thing but how do we do that if we are not at church?

Sacred Space in Godly Play

In Godly Play we help the children enter into a sacred space in a number of ways.
This starts with them being greeted by the doorperson, asking if they are ready and then crossing over the threshold into their space. Each child has their own mat to sit on signifying their spot in the circle.
We then get even more ready for our time with the Word. A stillness settles over the children as we breathe in and listen to our surroundings. The story is told slowly. The storyteller focuses on the objects and places moments of silence in the story. These silences are so that the children may start to wonder.
The Godly Play ‘room’ is not just a place for the children in church to go but a sacred space and, like the church, a liturgical space. Ideally it is designed to help us come close to God and prepare us for God to come close to us.

Connecting with God throughout the week

But how does this help us during the rest of the week? Do you have a space where you can cross the threshold to find your spot? Is there somewhere that you can read or listen to God’s word?
For some people that may be a cosy chair in a corner; some, a walk along the foreshore. For others it might be an exercise—a treadmill, a jog—wherever you are able to connect with God and find the sacred, to be able to disconnect from the distractions and simply listen can become your sacred space.

Where is your sacred space?

YouthCare in Australind

On Thursday, 2 weeks ago, Helen Browne and I were sitting at a table in the Treendale shopping centre as part of the street collection for YouthCare. One man came up to us and said how much he appreciated the Chaplain from Treendale Primary school. Last term his 9 year old son was thought to have cancer and was undergoing tests. Geoff, the chaplain rang the family everyday during the holidays to enquire about the boy and tell the family that he was there for them. This is the sort of support that the chaplains offer to families of the students in their care.

Not only do students come to talk to the chaplain but parents and teachers do too.

They know that they will find a listening ear and a praying heart. Last year Geoff himself was undergoing medical tests for a potential life threatening condition. He knew he had the support of YouthCare as the district chaplain, David Cunniffe, made his condition known so we could pray for him. He made a remarkable recovery.

YouthCare  is an organisation that promotes God’s love in action in our schools and the wider community. It’s fundraising efforts help pay chaplains whose schools want them more than the 2 days of the government subsidy. Two of  those schools are in Australind.

On Friday 25th November, they are having a progressive dinner and we have been assigned the place for entrees’ assisted by the other churches in Australind.

As a fund raiser for this, we are having a garage sale next Saturday, 29th October, at 10 Buckton Place. Anyone who has things they would like to donate, contact me on 97960440.


Panoply of Prayer


Not long after my arrival here I had a strong sense that God was inviting us to ‘seek His face’. This phrase occurs several times in the bible. Perhaps most well known is from 2 Chronicles 7:14  ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ I believe this is an ongoing call to us as a Minster parish. Just over a year ago I gave three talks on this: You can access the sermons here:

The early Minsters were firstly communities of prayer. I believe becoming a community of prayer is crucial for our life and mission together as a minster parish. Last month I created a prayer sheet highlighting some of the areas our church and community need prayer for. Today there is one for September. I invite you to pick one up at church and pray with us around these things. This is one small part of the panoply of prayer. We meet weekly at 6 pm on Sunday evenings for prayer. Our small groups are praying together, we pray in and through our services. We are learning to pray through the day individually.  Most importantly ask the Holy Spirit to inspire our prayer that we would share God’s heart and mind and purposes for Australind and beyond. As we have prayed we have seen answers in provision, guidance, healings and wisdom. Do you have testimony of answered prayer you could share over hospitality or with Karen for the website? 

Shalom Jamie

#TryAlpha – Ask anything about life, faith and God


Last week our reading from Luke captured the heart of Alpha, a course to enable us to do just that. When Rev Jamie suggested we run the Alpha Course this year, I was curious to find out more and soon offered to help. What is Alpha? We have posted some info on the notice board. The Alpha websites are brimming with information, with great videos to watch, outlining everything one needs to know. Check them out! ALPHA = Beginning. I feel excited to start my faith journey at the beginning again and explore Christianity in greater depth using this fantastic resource.

YOU are invited to BELONG too.

This year we are running two courses for our church family commencing in October for 10 weeks, Wednesdays 6.30 a 8.30pm and Friday 10am – 12pm. In 2017, we plan to reach out to the community with more courses. Maybe you want to participate in the course this year. Register now. Maybe you could assist with hospitality, even once or twice serving the evening meal or morning tea. Maybe you feel you could lead a small group or be part of the prayer group to support this learning. There are great new resource materials to support your learning and we propose to make them available to all through a loans scheme.

Keep an eye on the notice board or website for more details or ask Rev Jamie or me.

Blessings Lois

What the St Nicholas Op Shop means to me

As a child we didn’t have Op shops where we lived, so on holidays to Melbourne one highlight was to visit the local ‘Opportunity Shop’ where our hard earned spending money went so much further! For years I had my felt doll ‘Ipana’, named after her beautifully stitched teeth, and my sister had ‘Dollar Wednesday’- no explanation needed! I didn’t realise then, but I have now realised what a blessing these shops are to the community.

A few years ago I felt it was my season to be able to do some work for the church and our community. Monday is my day off from teaching so with the understanding of the Op shop staff I was put on sorting fortnightly.  As possibly the youngest staff member, this definitely brought some challenges. For example I’m aware of some different brands to our other helpers, so when I see a pair of Mossimo jeans (which usually retail for over $200 a pair) I think “Awesome, put these on the rack” not “Those jeans have a tear, bin them”

We are so fortunate and blessed that our community are so giving. There is always so much to be sorted, and as a result our shop is only stocked with quality goods.

Due to the excess items we are able to help even further than our immediate area with Seafarers Mission, Women’s Refuge, the Prison and to the needy overseas.

A personal bonus of working at the Op shop is that it has given me the chance to find things for my classrooms and to wear myself!! I have found that this has actually had a positive reaction at school. I’m never embarrassed to say where my clothes come from, and as a result, my students now know if they comment on my outfit, the response more often or not is “from my favourite shop”, to which they respond with “Oh, the Australind Op shop”. I believe this has actually helped take the stigma away for some families who don’t have a choice but to buy preloved clothes as my students have gone home and asked their parents to take them to our Op shop to have a look!!

The Op shop is not just a place to buy a bargain.

It can be a place where people come feeling a bit low, find someone prepared to listen to them, and leave feeling better.

I love volunteering in the shop and chatting with customers.  I love helping them to locate what they are hoping to find. I strongly urge anyone to volunteer their time to the Op shop (especially some younger people) as it is very rewarding.

Shani Kaitani

What does it mean to you?