Greetings to you all!
Good friends don’t abandon us when outside circumstances change. They stay with us through the good and the bad days. Friends are a gift from God because they are examples of the Perfect Friend, who remains loyal through the good and ugly days. As the Lord reminds us, “I will never leave you, never will I forsake you.” (Heb 13:5). Regardless of the situation, His love endures forever. This is our verse for the year from Ps 106:1, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His Love endures forever.”
Human love doesn’t always last. The closest of friends may offend each other, and never resolve their differences. Family members may argue and refuse to forgive. Husbands and wives can drift apart. Human love can be fickle. But the love of God is one constant and enduring love which endures forever.
God’s unfailing love is found in the Scriptures, and the greatest proof of his love is the death of His Son, who died for our sins. As Easter approaches this brings the reality of God’s love to us, with His death and resurrection, and what joy to know He is alive and lives within us. We have the assurance that no matter what is happening in our lives or will happen that God’s love never ends. It endures forever, and we praise Him.
Psalm 106:1 has a meaningful impact in our family recently. We were blessed and gave thanks for our latest grandson Daniel, born 3 weeks early but a good weight. Soon after birth he developed breathing difficulties which necessitated his transfer to a big city hospital Newborn ICU, where he was put on a life support respirator and other medical aids. For a week we had many anxious moments, testing our faith and trusting in God, praying fervently for our little Daniel to be spared with a full recovery. We were very aware of others praying for him and the family and conscious of God’s love surrounding us through this time and we gave thanks to God each day as he improved. After 2 weeks Daniel had overcome all problems and was breathing alone, feeding well and gaining weight and was allowed home and continues to do well. God’s love endures forever and He cares for each one of us His children.
Looking ahead to what 2017 will bring, I pray that you will give thanks to God in all circumstances, knowing He is in control and will direct you in the work He wants you to do in our schools, churches and other ministries where He leads you.
In the past few months we have had 2 prayer walks in the Mitcham area, and if you would like to be part of a prayer walk in your area please contact me to help you plan that.
Our annual Prayer and Thanksgiving Day this year is at Heatherton Christian College on Friday 1st September. More information will be sent in July. We hope to see you there.
One of our Support team members, Nancy, is adding to this newsletter, so read on.
Blessings to you all,
Marilyn Ford (Co Coordinator PGS Vic.)
WHY I BECAME PART OF PRAYER GROUPS FOR SCHOOLS
Over Twenty years ago my daughter started in Grade Six at Blackburn Primary School and my friend Bronwyn Checkley invited me to be part of the Prayer Group there. We were a Home Schooling family at the time, so this meant my two other primary aged children, a pre-schooler and baby had to come to the prayer group as well.
This Prayer group was like a lifeline in some ways, as we prayerfully supported each other as well as the school. In those days the group had the freedom to organise special events such as providing morning tea for the staff, and contributing in other practical ways to the life of the school.
In more recent years I was working for the Victorian Council of Christian Education, providing resourcing to churches in the area of Children and Families Ministry and as a result of being in this role I attended one of the September Thanksgiving Prayer Day for Schools. I was so encouraged and blessed with the Service that I almost regretted not having become involved with PGS sooner.
During this time, I also started some prayer groups in the North, East and West of Melbourne, as well as Bendigo, and it was through the Bendigo Prayer gathering that I met Barbara who shared some lovely stories of how God had been using her within the school where she led a prayer group and helped run a breakfast club. This further inspired me to become involved with PGS.
As I am now Prayer Coordinator at CCCVAT (Christian Community Churches of Victoria and Tasmania), I found it vital to become involved more with PGS. CCCVAT oversees Chaplains in a number of schools and were also responsible for helping set up INSPIRE, which brings all the School Chaplaincy providers such as Scripture Union, Access Ministries and YFC, together once a term, to encourage one another, pray and advance the work of Chaplains in Schools.
Last year I began prayer walking with the Kids Hope Coordinator from our church and it has been so exciting to hear that his year there are two Christians on the School Council and a Christian Teacher new to the school who was formerly KH Coordinator at her own child’s school. God happened to place one of these Christian Mums as a Playgroup Leader in the group I help lead at our church. At my encouragement, she has organised and just held the first Prayer Group gathering for the School.
In this last month we have held two Prayer Walks in the Mitcham area, and a Mum I have been mentoring for years who has children at both the primary and secondary school is keen to start a prayer group there.
God is so good and faithful. It is an absolute blessing and privilege to be a part of the planning for our PGS Thanksgiving Service to be held on the first Friday in September each year.