Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes


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Prayer for regular folks can be enjoyable

Most people consider that prayer is the most important activity of a believer, however, most also consider prayer meetings to be the most terrible meetings that a church runs. I get it and there are many prayer meetings I avoid (sorry to admit it, but it’s true).

Alpha Prayer Guide

This guide, written by the good folks at 24-7prayer.com, is specifically written to help ordinary believers have times of enjoyable prayer. It’s inspirational and practical and this one is free. If you prefer to own a copy with nice binding and a color cover, head over to yourchurchzone.com and order a copy.


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A Follower of Jesus isn’t balanced

Our culture is quite taken with the notion of living a balanced life – unfortunately, we have no idea of what this looks like.  We balance the cheeseburger, fries and coke with coleslaw or a Caesar salad.  We balance 9-10 hours of work with 3-4 hours of TV.  We balance keeping our spouse happy with making ourselves happy.  There is trouble afoot and the consequences are troubling; but for a follower of Jesus, we have the key to living in perfect balance – it comes by letting our first priority win.

My idea of a balanced life needs constant tweaking.  This last week as I reflected on how I feel I realized that I was showing signs of stress – busyness and distraction are wearing me out.  I wasn’t built to be a source of someone else’s success – I was made for loving God and being loved by God.  Continue reading


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How to Pray for your Alpha course

by Pete Grieg, Alpha’s Director of Prayer

What I’m realising more and more is that prayer isn’t just a way of getting things done and making things happen…

…(a healing here, a heavenly memo there and a parking space at the supermarket on a Saturday afternoon).

Prayer is the life-giving heartbeat of a dynamic, colourful, intuitive, intelligent, fun interaction with Jesus Christ.

When he was very little, my son Danny came into my study one day and started playing with my hole-punch. He was very taken with it, very impressed, and he spent a long time driving it around the floor like a car and snapping it like a crocodile. It was a long time before he turned to me and said, ‘Daddy, what is this for?’

We can often treat our faith like that – enjoying it, admiring it, using it for all sorts of things but never really stopping to wonder, ‘Father, what is it for? Why have I been saved? What is the point? Now that I am Spirit-filled, baptised, and helping on a <Youth> Alpha course – what now?’

We are not Christians because of some cosmic strategy, and we do not pray merely to get things done while functionally serving the Lord. My wife Sammy and I did not have children as a ‘child-raising strategy’, but as an expression of our intimacy: we desired to lovingly raise children to maturity. We pray because we’re wired for delightful intimacy with God.

I’m so excited that you’re setting out on this journey of running a <Youth> Alpha course. I would encourage you to simply find a friend or two and get together to pray for your course. It’s a good thing to pray for the course in the months and weeks leading up to it, as well as throughout the course itself. Ask others to pray for you and your course, too. If you ask God to do specific things, you’ll be amazed at the miracles you’ll see!

There are no secrets to this stuff, but I would encourage you to try to make it fun as well as functional. Why not include worship, or write down, draw or paint your prayers, or maybe use some visual aids such as photos as you pray for people. Try sticking your small group list on the bathroom mirror, or setting your phone alarm to remind you to pray a one-liner for them at a certain time each day?

Let’s upgrade our prayer lives by daring to ask big things of God, and making prayer as creative and enjoyable as possible – the word ‘functional’ only makes sense with those first three letters (fun!) at the start.

I hope that as you run <Youth> Alpha for your friends you also celebrate and grow in your relationship with God, by making time to walk and talk with him each day.

Article originally posted on the UK Youth Alpha website.