Published: 14:44, 20 November 2020
| Updated: 14:45, 20 November 2020
In a regular church column with the Messenger, Chris Gill, Pastor at King’s Church, Gillingham, recalls how an advert for beer helped him make a big decision. Twice.
A UK survey in 2018, polled on behalf of Tearfund, found that one in five people prayed regularly even though they would say that they were not religious. I wonder whether that figure has gone up over the last few months in 2020?
I particularly remember praying to God as a teenager and not really expecting an answer, but one day everything changed. It was the day of leaving home at 16 to take up a job as a police cadet in London.
Never having really travelled before, I remember saying goodbye to my family at Deal train station full of confidence and expectation for the future, but by the time I reached Ashford station, all such feelings had changed.
I felt dreadfully homesick and by the time the train approached London Bridge station, it was my expectation to get the next available train straight home again.
As the train began to slow, I prayed perhaps for the first time really from the heart. I remember saying, "God I feel fearful and I want to go home if that was all right with you?"
The moment I prayed, something unexpected happened. Out of the window a billboard by the side of the track became clearly visible and written on it in large letters were two words, "Take Courage".
I immediately felt stronger as if those words were written just for me to read. Those of you who know the Tower Bridge area will remember that there was a Courage brewery located below the arches under the main line for many years and such a billboard was part of their advertising.
God can speak through anything, and that day strength and encouragement came by those words.
Twenty-seven years later after a career in the police force I felt that the Lord was leading me to leave and to become a Church minister.
It was a big step and I was nervous about the future. On a train from Brixton to Ashford, I found myself praying and asking God to confirm that He was leading me.
As soon as I said "amen", a billboard loomed into view from the train window with two words written on it and yes you’ve guessed it, the words were, "Take Courage".
I was amazed. On a train travelling in the opposite direction 27 years later God was again reminding me of His presence and giving encouragement as to the future.
A Psalmist in the Bible once wrote: "Hear my prayer O lord…. In the day that I call, answer me speedily."
God does still answer prayer and in these difficult days, that’s a real comfort to know.
If you would like to find out more about Churches Together in Medway or what it means to become a Christian, contact the chairman Pastor Stephen Bello on 01634 920941 or email email@example.com