Prayer and reflection 





Words written with intention and imagination can transport the reader to anywhere in the world. If that isn’t good news, I don’t know what it is! Books contain a treasure trove of ideas, themes and anecdotes that not only inspire, entertain and educate, they may also help to build and strengthen faith. Few books have captured a global audience so profoundly as the Bible, arguably the greatest book of all time. It is as rich in heart as it is in faith. Colossians 3:2 states: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Reading the Bible and other inspired books is a sure way of transcending our earthly existence.

Reading several chapters of the Bible every day is a great practice for some people. I find more value in immersing myself in a few short verses and allowing them to settle in my soul. Embracing the word of God and connecting with it on a profound level is a beautiful practice of love in motion.

When we left London a couple of years ago, I cleared through our belongings, giving away many things no longer needed to charity. I found this easier with clothes. Books were more difficult to part with, though the thought of someone else enjoying them made it easier to part with what was eventually a very large pile. 

I think it is a lovely concept that we make space for something new each time we give something away. I like to think this is what has happened since I recently joined a book club. We are all neighbours, women of different ages and backgrounds. Everyone gets on, and there’s a lovely atmosphere as we enthusiastically discuss our chosen book. As a result, I am discovering books I never would have read without the group. 

Two recent gems have been Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See (Scribner UK) and Water by John Boyne (Doubleday). The former focuses on women’s health and friendship while also exploring ancient Chinese culture, and the second is a complex character study of a woman in crisis. I found both books hard to put down. I love how reading can create lasting friendships, and, like a great friend, revisiting books when the time is right feels as fresh and as honest as the first time around. Happy reading, everyone!

When I lose my words,

When the world around seems senseless,

Father, please shelter me with loving kindness and hope.

When I am confused,

When reason and logic fail,

Father, please free me from the shackles of self-doubt and fear.

When I wake on a warm summer’s day,

When the clouds part to brighten my path,

Father, please awaken me to your words of wisdom.

When I go about my business,

When to-do lists are longer than my arm,

Father, please simplify my life so I may live by your example.

Loving Father, through your words and deeds,

Please bring everlasting peace and healing 

To all those in need.