I have found myself having a few funny responses to this Covid thing. Watching the First Minister of Wales just now, as he announced another lock-down throughout the whole country, I wondered “Has he had a decent breakfast today?” Odd response, eh?
But he’d just told us that the cabinet had been in discussions at the weekend and they’d met again this morning, and he looked greyer than usual, weary, his voice revealing his depth of concern. And I wondered how he’s doing.
Yesterday in our online church service, we prayed for our leaders and today watching Mark Drakeford I had to pray a bit more! If he was my husband or son or brother, I would be praying for him all the time – no man or woman can bear the responsibility for thousands of lives, for creating an effective and protective policy in a unique pandemic, without great cost to themselves. What a cost! To most of us this time of lock-down and disruption is an inconvenience. To those who lose loved ones to the virus, it’s a time of separation and sorrow. But to our society’s leaders, it’s a cruel and impossible responsibility, and I’m sure that it will affect them for ever, it may blight their futures, haunted by the fear that they could have done more, or that they did too much. And in this situation, there is no proof of anything. No one will be all-right and no one will be totally-wrong.
In my last blog I remembered “What we value, we make time for.” And now I’d just like to say, also, that those we value, we pray for. There are some people I pray for every day, some of them several times a day, and some are present in my mind like a back-drop to my life, so that I often, often see things that remind me of them – a pretty notebook recalls a journaller, a small boat on a choppy sea brings a family to mind, a lollipop (you know who you are!) reminds me of a sugar free pal, even a sausage roll can spring the image of a dear friend into my mind! All sorts of things remind us of those we love, and when that happens they get a prayer. Why waste a thought when it can be a prayer? It’s heart warming to think of those we love, and don’t you think that God smiles to share those thoughts?
Talking to my pal, Piers, this morning, he asked what my prayers are. It’s great to be asked these questions, to be given the opportunity not just to think and put into words, but to hear our own words coming back to us, so that we can weigh them up, and judge whether our thoughts are clear or a bit muddy and messy. I have some of both sorts! The trouble with blogs is that they don’t ask me questions. I say what I say and no one makes me question what I think. It’s just me blah-blahing into the ether.
So, what did I say to Piers? What are my prayers? Something vaguely along these lines: Well, of course thanks and awe come first, an acknowledgement of who God is and who I am, a period of wonder and joy and sometimes tears. You know, stunned stuff. But after that? What do I pray for those I love? I told Piers that I pray they will know the love of God, know that they are loved by him, that they will look for him. I know that when we look for God, truly look for him, we find him. I pray that those I love will be drawn closer and closer to Jesus so that they become like him, so that his nature shines out of them, so that they walk the way he leads them, full of joy because the Spirit of God is the centre of their lives.
And then I pray for a few other things, like “Please could Beth get her commission for two episodes?” and even “You know that rat in my loft, Lord? Couldn’t you just smite him with a mighty smiting?”
But today, particularly, I am praying for Mark Drakeford, and Boris Johnson. Not the politicians, the men. The sons who are Mark and Boris, the brothers who are Mark and Boris, the fathers who are Mark and Boris. May they, and leaders everywhere, of nations, churches, cities and towns know that however hard this terrible time is, God loves them, and in this time, as in all times, God holds all things together. And I pray for the leaders of my church particularly, because they’re a bit fab.
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Hebrews 13:17
** When it’s a leader like Trump…… hmmm. Then I think we turn to God, BIG TIME!