The similar phrase 'Worldly Christianity' is one used by Bonhoeffer. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Armatrading Kalimba

This video starts rather unpromisingly but if you persevere you get a great song (Woncha come on home) from a great artist and the rare sound of the African finger piano or kalimba.

Chocolate Orange

I came across some facts recently about the Terry's Chocolate Orange. I was surprised to learn it first appeared in the 1920s. Apparently there was a Chocolate Apple originally but they stopped making it in 1984. They did try a Chocolate Lemon 1979-1981 (don't remember that). I'm sure I saw somewhere that something like one in every ten Christmas stockings contains a Chocolate Orange. More details here.

Expect Attempt

In a blog entry from some time ago here Michael Haykin tells us a little about William Carey’s famous sermon of May 1792, preached on Isaiah 54:2-3, a sermon that consisted of two parts summed up by two phrases in this order: “Expect great things from God” and “Attempt great things for God.”
I turned to it having come across an example where the order had been reversed. You'd be amazed how often that happens. The google top 10 should be found here. Often it is a mere mistake but sometimes the re-ordering betrays an attitude quite different to Carey's own Calvinistic one. There is a world of difference between attempting then expecting and expecting then attempting.

Henry Who?

Radio 4 had a nice documentary on Purcell's influence over Pete Townshend recently. You can catch it here for the next 6 days.

Musically mixed

Yesterday was a day of disappointment and joy on the musical front. I had planned to see Focus live in Aberystwyth tomorrow night (with The Strawbs and Wishbone Ash) but the show has been cancelled (lack of ticket sales I would guess or may be someone just wised up to the fact that West Wales was not the place to be between gigs in Newcastle and Folkestone!). Ah well, perhaps I can catch them elsewhere.

The latest Julie Fowlis album Uam, ordered weeks ago, finally arrived in the post. A fine piece of work it is too. Intro below.

Zen für Dummies

Do you ever get these things? This is one of the dumbest ones I've ever had.

Greetings from,
As someone who has purchased or rated America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln by Mark A. Noll, you might like to know that Zen für Dummies will be released on 4 November 2009. You can pre-order yours for just £16.99 by following the link below.

Zen für Dummies Inken Prohl
Release Date: 4 November 2009
Yes. It is a German language title explaining a branch of Buddhism. The obvious sequel to Mark Noll on American church history.

GBM Meetings 2

So I went to hear a presentation by Peter Milsom concerning the work of UFM for my second seminar. Again, very interesting.
About 400 gathered I guess for the evening meeting. featured reference to Naomi Clark, recently married and due to be working in The Philippines with her Filipino husband plus Fiona, Andrzej from Poland, Helen Cook soon to retire from the radio work and Andrew Murfitt from Brazil.
The preacher was Steven Curry from Northern Ireland - familiar to many of us from the Carey Conference. He took us appropriately to Luke 11 and the Lord's words on prayer, especially the parable of the persistent friend. Typically, with a thorough well researched and supported but constantly applied sermon he made five points. These concerned
1. The motive we should be driven by - For the glory of God and out of love for others
2. The patience we must display
3. The boldness we must possess - we should be shameless in our praying
4. The perseverance we must show - the asking, seeking, knocking
5. The willingness we must understand - the example of kindness in fathers


My it was a lovely day yesterday.

GBM Meetings

I am here in Euston at the annual Grace Baptist Mission meetings. They are always held in the Autumn half term. I find them a little frustrating in some ways but very encouraging on the whole. We started with the delegates meeting, which is never easy as the balance between the churches getting their say and the impossibility of discussing everything blow by blow is not easy to judge. Kenya has been a problem as some will know and a question was asked but that was it. Anyway better this than the set up with most missionary efforts where the churches have practically no say.
I had a nice lunch with Adrian Tribe at nearby Chutneys vegetarian Indian restaurant - a long standing tradition. It's been been good to see various folk I know. I went to Fiona Steward's seminar just now on the student work in Bordeaux. She's always a breath of fresh air, though very given to upspeak and estuary English (I'm such an old fogey).
Anyway another seminar to come and then the evening meeting. It's a wonderful opportunity all told.

La Cathedrale

This is a track called La Cathedrale de Strasbourg by Focus from their album Hamburger Concerto


Found this first part of a message by my father-in-law on 'The godliness of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones' here. Worth checking out.

Islam in the Caribbean

I came across these two interesting items recently. Although Islam is very divided and generally in decline (apart from biological growth) it has money and influence and is far from being a spent force.

Though the percentage of Muslims is small in the Caribbean the influence of Islam is growing, both from Muslims within the Caribbean and by means of Islamic funding from outside. Trinidad (7% Muslim), Guyana (8% Muslim) and Suriname (14% Muslim) are members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. St Lucia refused financial help from Libya to build schools but has recently agreed to accept help from Dubai. Jamaica’s power company is 40% owned by Abu Dhabi. Christians in Anguilla cannot open churches in Muslim areas, because they are required to get permission from the local community, and when the community is Muslim they do not give permission. In St Vincent there is a growing trend for government scholarships to enable young people to go and study in Arab countries; some of them return strongly Islamised. Hip-hop music’s leading artists have included many from a sect of the Nation of Islam. Please pray that Christians in the Caribbean will be alert to what is going on and will work and pray to help their governments make wise decisions that will maintain the Christian character of the region.

Islam is growing fast in Haiti. There are now thought to be around 40,000 Muslims in this Caribbean country, up from 4,000 in 1993. Muslim missionaries are running feeding programmes and meeting other social needs. They are also promoting the false idea that voodoo, the traditional religion of Haiti, had its origins in Islam. They say that “Book Man”, a voodoo priest who led the people in a fight against slavery, was actually a Muslim and the book he read was the Qur’an. Pray for Christians in Haiti, that they will be able clearly to proclaim the living Word of God.

Jazz Akkerman

From a recent concert in Holland. Amazing.

Bible ignorance again

We were talking about biblical ignorance the other day. I notice today that commenting on Daniel 9 Don Carson writes:
Note carefully: the heart of the matter, as Daniel sees it, is neglect of what God said or disobedience to what he said. That is always the heart of the issue. Conversely, genuine sanctification comes through adherence to God’s words (Ps. 1:2; John 17:17). That is why the rising biblical illiteracy within confessional churches, let alone the culture at large, is the most distressing and threatening symptom among us.

Old Severn Bridge

Visiting Dad 15

I saw my dad again this week. He is now in Panteg, what was the county hospital, although Aneurin Bevan's name is now associated with it in some way. (I 'phoned them in the morning and got through on the third attempt. Each time they greeted me with Bore da/Good morning. You just knew they didn't speak Welsh though somehow).
I drove up on Monday night and on the Tuesday we had a consultation with the medical staff and a social worker about the future. Previously the idea of a nursing home was in the offing (I actually visited one possibility that morning - that was interesting. First thing I saw by the door were copies of Watchtower and Awake in the reception area. It seemed efficient and clean). Now, however, they think he needs to stay in hospital. At least on this ward he is being treated more appropriately, given that he is not going to improve.
I went and had a cuppa and a bite to eat with my sister Gail then at Amelia's in New Inn. When she went back to school in Blaenavon and I went back to see my dad. We had driving rain most of the morning - I forget what real rain is like, living in London. It's not nice but it blows the cobwebs out.
My dad was rather sleepy and not making too much sense. He had an infection and wasn't feeling his best. I didn't stay too long.
I drove around a little bit then. Cwmbran always leaves me nostalgic and frustrated. For nostalgia's sake I drove back over the old Severn Bridge, stopping briefly at the services to take some pictures. My memories are of crossing it back and for, mainly with my dad driving. I remember that when it first opened a neighbour drove us down to have a look at it (we had no car then). I also remember reading that the fellow from The Manic Street Preachers was last seen at the services there, which just adds to the depressing nature of memory.

O avondrood

This is Red Sky At Night by Focus from the out takes album Ship of Memories. It originally had lyrics taken from the poem O Avondrood by the Dutch poet Jules Deelder (b 1944). it is one of my most popular Youtube videos.

O Kerstnacht

Still a bit early for Christmas but this is very pleasant (and slightly weird)

Dry Bones

I'm still posting my sermons on Ezekiel on my sermon blog. I've just posted the one on the dry bones here so I'm getting there.


Heard this on the radio the other day. I don't think we've had calssical music on here before. Shows I'm no snob. Just love the way it builds.

Reasons why we don't pray 4

4. It often seems to make no difference whether we pray or not
Surrounded as we are by people who take the pragmatic approach and ask only "does it work?" we too are often affected by the fact that it is so difficult to demonstrate empirically what difference prayer makes. Sometimes we are very prayerful about a matter, at other times we are not. However, there often does not seem to be a whole lot of difference between the one and the other. We have all had the embarrassment too of people saying, thank you for praying, when they have had an answer they desired, when in fact we know that we hardly prayed at all.
Today the police, the teachers and the NHS and other institutions have targets to attain to and this has made them very goal oriented. Again, we imbibe this sort of thinking and because prayer often seems to be one of the less productive aspects of Christian living we are tempted to downplay it. We refuse to give it up altogether as that would clearly be wrong. However, its vital nature, even if we pay lip service to the idea, quite honestly seems questionable at least.
So what is the root of this problem? Basically it is a lack of faith that undermines our prayer lives at this point. Too often we are looking for quick, tangible, easily assessed results not the more long term, spiritual results that are much less easy to assess at this limited vantage point. We need to get a more eternal, less earth centred angle on things. Yes, prayer often does not seem to work but what do mean by such a statement? Are our minds closed to the idea that it is only at the very end that things can properly be assessed? Why are we so often thinking only in the short term. We believers, of all people, should be armed against that particular trap.

Henry Erskine Anecdote

I was just looking for something about Thomas Boston, who I don't know that much about when I came across this anecdote regarding Henry Erskine, under whose ministry Boston was converted as a boy.

Apparently Erskine was one of 33 children, which is quite something in itself. Then there is the fact that his wife was buried before his famous sons Ralph and Ebenezer were born!

Mrs Erskine had been buried in the local churchyard, and because her husband was so distraught, the family heirloom of a gold ring wasn't removed from her finger, which was still heavily swollen. So she was laid in her coffin still wearing the ring; and the church sexton, knowing that the valuable item was there in the graveyard, resolved that he would steal it before the grave was finally closed. Armed with a strong knife, he opened the grave and he began to cut off the ring finger; and you can imagine his astonishment when blood spurted from the wound, and Mrs Erskine sat up in her coffin. The man fled in terror, and the good lady literally rose from the grave. She made her way to the door of the home, and she stood and knocked for admittance. Her husband, conversing with friends who were trying to comfort him, when he heard the knock at the door, said "Were it not that I had just put my wife in her grave, I would say that that was her knock." He rose and went to the door, and there stood his wife wrapped in her grave clothes, with her uplifted finger dripping with blood. "My Margaret!" he exclaimed. "The same," said she. "Your dear wife in her own proper person. Don't be alarmed." She lived after that for eight years, and became the mother of several children, among whom were Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine.

It was said of Henry Erskine, "Above Henry Erskine's head, let the weather be foul or fair to his neighbours, the sky was always blue. In his heart, every month of the twelve, the birds sang, the flowers bloomed, and the river of the water of life made happy music."

Beatles again

Just thought this might be nice here. I remember my mother taking me to see Help! in the cinema when I was about 5 or 6.

Manic Week

Pretty manic week. Monday and Tuesday it was committees - three of them, including an all day and very full LTS Board meeting. I should have been at a fourth committee in the evening but thankfully I'd completely forgotten. They coped without me.
Wednesday it was meetings - midweek meeting in the evening where we looked at the last chapter of Deuteronomy. In the afternoon I was in the BUPA home I regularly visit on Genesis 3:1-15. The morning was pretty unusual. I spoke at the harvest service in the school my youngest son attends - on the parable of the sower. My Welsh is not great but we managed. Only really sticky moment was when one boy was confused over the word "drain" which he took in the English way whereas in Welsh it is used for thorns (pron: drine).
Thursday night was a church members meeting which went off okay. During the day I was busy with practical work - putting up a new curtain rail downstairs and assembling a new bedstead upstairs. Our old bed was being held up on one corner by a pile of books so it's good to get that sorted.
Friday was quieter with only the clubs in the evening to attend to. Rather a poor turn out to the older group sadly. Watched the film Duplicity when I got in with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts. I think it was supposed to be clever and funny but we just didn't get it. Pretty useless film really but passed the time.
PS I haven't had my camera out this week. The pic was taken a week or two back when conkers were all that mattered.

Deuteronomy 34

I spoke on Deuteronomy 34 tonight. In the course of preparation I came across a careful paper defending the Mosaic authorship or at least defending its defensibility here. It is by Dr William D Barrick of the Master's Seminary. I thought it quite thought provoking. Dr Barrick's whole site looks interesting. See here.

Mohler on Obama

Al Mohler has been commenting on a recent speech of President Obama on "gay rights" here.

Persecution complex

I read this today on the Barnabas website. It's not mentioned anywhere else and I can't vouch for its accuracy. It is amazing the lengths some people will go to.

Officials in a Middle Eastern country have produced Bibles with cell phone microchips hidden inside the covers. The aim was to trace the location of the Bibles and thus track down Christians. Several house churches were discovered in this way and their members arrested, but most were released after signing papers promising that they would not meet again. Pray that our brothers and sisters will be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

Fowlis Live

A sampler from Saturday night.

Julie Fowlis Live

So Saturday night I headed off to Hammersmith, to the Irish Cultural Centre there to see the wonderful Julie Fowlis and her band for myself. I recently bought a tartan shirt which I thought would be appropriate but it was the only bit of tartan I saw all night - so much for my stereotyping of the Scots.
Saturday's not the best day for me but I was able to get back before midnight and so as a one off it worked quite well. The hall there was packed out with about 150 or so present I guess. It was a fairly cross-sectional audience I think. The lady I sat next to was from Ulster and in front of me was a young Swedish lady. Bonus of the night for me was when a chap called Jon Thackray (hi!) introduced himself to me with his Scots wife Kerry as a visitor to this blog.
When Julie checked for Gaelic speakers in the audience she found only three or four so most I guess were listening as I do - not understanding. Having said that, probably over half the set was instrumental with the (clearly pregnant) Julie blowing those tin whistles with great gusto.
They did three quarters of an hour, took a break and then gave us another hour with an encore of two final songs - one slow, one fast. There was a good deal of variety - one a capella number, one just with bodhran, two or three with piano, one with two fiddles and the rest with the band taking more or less part (ie her Irish husband Eamon Doorley on bouzouki, Scot Martin O'Neill on bodhran, Scot Duncan Chisholm on fiddles and Irish man Tony Byrne on guitar). They palyed some tracks from the new album, some favourites and one or two that I don't think are recorded. There was lots of banter from all the band and a good deal of talk all told, which some may not like but seemed okay to me.
So basically it's high quality musicianship, great traditional songs plus the fabulous Julie Fowlis voice. The Corrs they are not but my it's good stuff.

Don again

Just read this in Don Carson (on Ezekiel 43 ostensibly but really on 48:35).
The culmination of this vision within the book of Ezekiel is found in the last verse of the book: “And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE” (48:35). That is wonderful. Wherever the Lord is, is holy. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1:13-16). John saw a vision of “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2). The voice cried, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).
We must always remember that: The Gospel is not admired in Scripture primarily because of the social transformation it effects, but because it reconciles men and women to a holy God. Its purpose is not that we might feel fulfilled, but that we might be reconciled to the living and holy God. The consummation is delightful to the transformed people of God, not simply because the environment of the new heaven and the new earth is pleasing, but because we forever live and work and worship in the unshielded radiance of the presence of our holy Maker and Redeemer. That prospect must shape how the church lives and serves, and determine the pulse of its ministry. The only alternative is high-sounding but selfserving idolatry.

Stained Glass Radio

I've just spent a mostly pleasant half hour being interviewed on the telphone by Ken Hancock for a radio programme called Stained Glass Radio! The subject was being born again and arises from my book on the subject published by Evangelical Press. The interview will be interspersed with music and should be broadcast a week Sunday I believe. It goes out across North East Scotland but is alos broadcast in the Highlands and islands and can be heard via the internet. I feel like a swan madly kicking just below the surface when doing these things but hopefully it he will make something of it and the Lord will use it to bless others.

Reasons why we don't pray 3

3. Prayer is something unseen and we often like to be seen
Part of what makes an iceberg the phenomenon it is, is the fact that some five eighths of it lies, unseen, below the water's surface. In a similar way, it is often the case that a person's power in public, where he can be seen, grows out of what has gone on in private, where he cannot be seen. Take musicians for example. Most musicians worth listening to are worth listening to because they have honed their craft unseen, behind closed doors. Self-denial and a willingness to be hidden are essential if one is to make a mark here and in similar ways too.
Now in the matter of private prayer, we also have an essentially unseen activity. It can only be done in secret. Because it is that sort of activity, no-one knows for certain, except you and God himself, just how much time you give to such unseen private prayer.
Now, although this will no doubt vary from person to person, one reason why most of us spend so little time in private prayer is because of its unseen, hidden nature. Attending meetings, preaching, public prayer, formal evangelism and similar things are seen by men. Though it is sin to do even these good things simply to be seen by men, even the best of us would have to admit that an element of man pleasing can be present when we engage in these public activities. When it comes to private prayer that temptation is not present in anything like the same way and it is no doubt another factor in the paucity of private prayer that can so often characterise us.
Going back to musicians. It is sometimes said of the most highly dedicated and skillful musicians that if they fail to practice for a few days, they can see the difference; a few more days and friends can see the difference; a little longer again and the general public will be aware. Perhaps there is something applicable in that to genuine heartfelt private prayer.
As for dealing with the problem of our lack of prayer, one of the things we must do is to work at humbling ourselves before him and subduing pride. Careful self-examination will reveal areas where we are being menpleasers. Success in overcoming this sin will at least make us more ready to give the time and effort needed to be alone with God, unseen, and to pray.

The Outlaw

This is a version of the late Larry Norman's song The Outlaw that you may enjoy. I should add that this video, strikingly, also features a saw player.

Calvin all the way

No-one can argue that Calvin's five hundredth birthday has not been well and truly marked in this year. Another three Calvin things for you to digest.
1. Last Sunday we were invited to join Andrew Hill and the folk over the hill at Highgate Road Chapel to hear Garry Williams on the subject "Is the world out of control?". I think we were about twenty. With consummate skill Garry eschewed and academic consideration of suffering and ploughed a practical apologetic furrow, drawing on Calvin's life (being a refugee, an oft hated man, a widower, at death's door, etc) and labours as well as his writings (about the sovereign God who is also a Father to all in need adn who is seen best in Jesus Christ) to say that God is in control although it does not seem so at times. An excellent time of questions followed. We were only sorry not to be able to stay for tea. (Garry drew partly on his paper at the Banner this year. See here).

2. On Monday we were at the Westminster Fellowship where Hywel Jones, recently returned from the USA, was the speaker. He preached first and then spoke on Calvin and his preaching - especially whether he preached Christ enough. After lunch we spent the time in discussion of the paper. The sermon was on John 16:23, 24 and specifically Christian prayer, prayer in Christ's name. Dr Jones's preaching does have a certain Chinese food quality (in that when he speaks he seems to open up vistas but when you try to describe what he has said it can sound rather ordinary).
The paper and the discussion was stimulating. He suggested that Calvin often didn't preach Christ as much as we would have expected. The factors here he suggested (I think) were
1. Human factors - he preached as appropriate to the situation
2. Use of terms - we can't assume a failure to mention the word Christ means not preaching him
3. The covenantal structure of Scripture so that when preaching on the Old Testament the mention of Christ is minimised
4. The very fact that he preached Old Testament sermons to a more convionced audience
5. The reality of there beuibf but one olive tree
He also had interesting things to say about Calvin preaching the Vox Dei as well as the Verbum Dei and the actual tones of God's voice. Also, declaring a trinitarian authroite, vivacite, familiere. He used an interesting quotation from T H L Parker who suggests that Calvin's commentaries are charactarised by abrupt moves from one end of the exegetical continuum to the other:
"For page after page he can look like Calvinus Judaeus (something he was called not long after his death) and then suddenly show that, in his voluntary exile among the men of the Old Covenant, living with them in shades and shadows, he has not forgotten the Sun of righteousness who, as he himself already knows, will in their future rise with healing in his wings."
(Calvin's Old Testament Commentaries, 1986).

3. The third thing I want to do is to draw attention to what may be the last conference of the year with dose of Calvin (from Garry Williams again and Don Carson) - The Westminster Conference here in London in December. More here.

Reasons why we don't pray 2

2. Prayer demands privacy and we often lack privacy
Private prayer is possible without privacy. When Jesus speaks about going into your closet to pray in the Sermon on the Mount, he is talking about where to place your heart rather than your knees. However, being creatures who are affected by our surroundings for most of us to get any praying done, we are going to need privacy. For many of us this doesn't come easily and is another reason, I would guess, why so little praying gets done.
Even if you don't live in a family setting where one member of the household or another is likely to be barging in or making a distracting noise elsewhere for much the day, there are plenty of other factors that are likely to intrude on your privacy. Between the insistent door bell and telephone (often more than one these days) and the theoretically more easily ignored computer, TV and radio, the number of likely invaders of privacy is quite large.
So what can we do? The smallest room in the house is often conducive to privacy but seldom to worship. Leaving the house can be effective, once you learn to pray with your eyes open and your mouth half shut. It is not likely to work, however, if you are going to bump into chatty dog walkers or others who are unlikely to take in the fact that you are actually deep in prayer.
Yet again we are forced back into seeing the value of the early morning hour or the late evening one, when interruptions are likely to be at a minimum. As with the time factor we need to work out a plan and then a Plan B and keep working at it as best we can.
As with the time issue, it is worth remembering that as the eldest of a large family with limited space, Jesus struggled with the same issues as we do. We know that on at least one occassion he arose very early indeed and got himself to a place where he was not likely to be found - although he was eventually tracked down by Peter. He is not only ur Saviour but our example too.

Visiting Dad 14

I managed to get down to see my dad again last Thursday. I went down by bus and basically just saw him with not much time for anything else. It was a pleasant surprise to find him very well and we had a good conversation. I even plied hm with questions about the family tree and he was able to answer quite well.
He even told me a story (though not a great one) from the war time of how my grandad was with Jonesy from Fielding Street or Witham Street and they had a midnight feast of spuds and two ducks. The punch line was concerning these ducks. When my grandad asked where they came from Jonesy told him not to mind where they came from , what really mattered where they were going - ie inside them.
We had a bit more of Mark's Gospel. We've reached the end of Chapter 4 now. I also prayed.
This bout of good health was short lived I understand and he has been more sleepy and more vague since. I found the whole saga of dying especially with all there is in the news at present most fascinating. I do fear some would have written my dad off a while ago and even now are not that enthusiastic about helping him to get better. If we weren't there rejecting suggestions like putting a DNR (Do not resuscitate) sign on him, who knows where he would be. He might live a few years yet. I know it is costing a fortune but what sort of a society wants people dead just to save money?

Further assault on Gaelic

Assault rather than insult I trust. Hoping to see the wonderful Julie Folwis in concert this Saturday. I've got a tartan shirt for the occasion!

Reasons why we don't pray

I've been giving thought lately to why I spend so little time in prayer. Obviously thinking and writing about it may be just another way of avoiding prayer but may be something useful can be said and even an improvement made.
1. Prayer takes time and we often lack time
I'm sure people have been busy in every age but we seem to be busier than ever. Although we have many time saving gadgets, it simply makes us more ambitious and so there are activities enough to fill more than the time available. One of the things that can easily get squeezed out is time for prayer. This is one of our problems. Obviously we should seek to pray as we go but special times of prayer are vital to promote that and to seek God earnestly.
The reason some people pray so little is that they set no time aside for it. Yes, in theory, they may plan to begin or end the day in prayer or take time for it in the day but the pressure to get other things done means that prayer is often skimped. Carving out time is not easy and probably what we need is not only a plan but a back up plan too for when things don't work out as we hope - we're up late in the morning or get to bed too late at night or miss our appointment during the day.
Of course, we can set aside time to pray and then still find ourselves unable to pray when the time arrives but at least if there is a specific time then we have the opportunity.
As for carving out time something definitely has to go if we are to spend time praying. It may be time for sleep or for TV or other entertainments but the time needs to be found. Perhaps a variety of approaches will serve best. Missing a meal from time to time is an obvious way of creating a little extra time for prayer.

Student life

My son Rhodri is "studying" in Aberystwyth these days. You might be able to spare 10 minutes for this, which despite several rough edges is quite clever. Link.

An update

The trip back from Aber last Friday was long but uneventful. I came via Newport but just didn't have time to visit my dad. On reflection, I should have been up at 6 am not 7 am. There we are. It was imperative that I got back to London in good time as I had agreed to take the funeral of a lady (Betty Plant) who I knew from the BUPA care home I visit fortnightly. The funeral was at the Marylebone Crematorium in Finchley. There were only a handful of mourners. We wisely chose not to sing. There was a brief tribute by her grandson and a poem then I spoke briefly from Romans 6:23. Refreshments were served back at the grandson's home. One funny things was that I had heard recently that she had been to Lourdes, which made me concerned about whether she would really have wanted the sort of funeral I would do. Anyway, it turned out she was a cricket fan and the trip had been to Lord's! These occasions are not easy and I don't do them often but I feel one can just gently scatter the seed and hope for something. We had the clubs in the evening. Somehow I'd found time to prepare an Autumn quiz. Saturday was mostly taken up with preparations. However, in the morning four us headed up to Golders Green to give out a tract I'd prepared. It was called The power of God for salvation. One man tried to be clever and said he had his own power. As I pointed out that will soon run out though. In the evening we had the older young people around and I spoke from the call to remember your Creator in the days of your youth towards the end of Ecclesiastes. To make things interesting I put up some appropriate little posters, played some music (death by Ravi Shankar, young gifted and black, if I had a little time, etc) and had quizzes on age related diseases and guessing people's ages (I must replicate the latter quiz some time). Sunday was a good day as we carried on with Mark 11 and Romans 1. I had to spend a lot of time preparing in the afternoon a it has been such a busy week. The days following haven't been much less busy. On Monday there were lots of Jews about marking Yom Kippur. I was at LTS for the TSG, looking at Calvin's sermons on Acts (I only had time to read some of these beforehand but it was still worthwhile being present with the other 6 or 7 present led by Jeremy Walker. On Tuesday it was the committee for organising the next Grace Assembly, preceded by a trip to Brent Cross with my wonderful wife for a cuppa in the Krispy Kreme joint there. David Last will chair next May and Gerard Hemmings will be among the speakers. Watch this space. Then to round off Wednesday was another busy day with a trip up to the new library location in Bounds Green to help out with manning the place while the stuff that has been in storage was unloaded. Ian Densham did the lion's share as ever. In the evening we had a good turn out for the midweek meeting looking at Deuteronomy 32 and praying for GBM, etc.