Try praying

Manchester City stadium

“It was a miracle,” said Roberto Mancini, Manchester City’s manager. “God looked at our game and gave us a helping hand.” Manchester United fans probably wouldn’t agree, but for all who followed the afternoon’s football, it certainly was a nail biting two hours with plenty of twists and turns. The Premier League title was at stake, as was possible relegation for Bolton Wanderers or Queens Park Rangers. At the end of ninety minutes Manchester City were losing to Queens Park Rangers; the title almost belonged to Manchester United, who had just won their match. Manchester City needed two goals in five minutes of injury time to win their match and claim the title, a task that would be in anyone’s eyes a “miracle”. Yet Dzeko and Aguero did “the impossible”, scoring two goals before the whistle went.

According to David Clayton on Manchester City’s website, “Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero were the men who scored the winning goals and turned despair into delirium.” Even so it’s just possible that Gary Owen – a veteran City midfielder, sold to West Brom in 1979 – gave them a helping hand. Gary was interviewed on the BBC News Channel during City’s victory parade on Monday. Gary described how he left his seat in the Etihad Stadium during injury time to pray for victory in one of the executive suites. “I’m not a religious man,” he said, but he knew where to get help, and had faith to believe for the impossible. He went on to say that when Dzeko scored he didn’t let go of God, saying “I haven’t finished yet; we need another goal.” Anyone who knows the Bible, knows that God responds to that sort of faith. Powerful men from ancient times, such as Jacob and Daniel clung to God in desperate times, and found that God is indeed the God who answers prayer. As the author of the book of Hebrews writes:

“I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” (Hebrews 11:32-34)

How about you? Do you pray, really pray … and believe? Why don’t you Try Praying?

Don’t look back!

Colin Bell of Manchester City
Colin Bell of Manchester City

Last Saturday was an important day for the City of Manchester. On the same day that Manchester City won the FA Cup, Manchester United became Premier League champions. In recent years City fans have been those who looked back, particularly to a three year period from 1968 – 1970, when they won four major trophies under the leadership of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. Now however, they can look forward with renewed hope for a brighter future.

For those who still look back, wise King Solomon once remarked, “Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10) Why not? Because the more time we spend focussing on the past, the less effort we are putting into preparing for, or even improving, our future.

Looking back isn’t all bad of course. We can learn from the past – that’s something our world needs to do more of. For those who know Yeshua (Jesus), looking back spurs us on as we move forward. As we look back to the death of Yeshua on the cross, we are reminded that we are forgiven, cleansed, made new; we have been freed from a guilty conscience. And as we look back to His resurrection, we realise that we have the power and the permission to live a new life. Our future is not the grave, but a new quality of life in God’s presence. How about you? Are you still holding onto the past or are you making the most of your time to create a brighter tomorrow?

Our Creator certainly wants you to make the most of your future. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)