Thursday 13th August.
Today’s reflection from Julia Jennings

PRAYER, PRAISE AND PLANTS

I came across this blog at https://arocha.org.uk/prayer-praise-and-plants/

I have found it difficult to know how to pray in and for these trying times.

I’m currently working from home and my sunny windowsill is filled with a variety of herb and chilli plants of varying shapes and sizes. I have found that tending and nurturing my various plants has helped my personal well-being and acted as a helpful prayer guide during what has been unprecedented times.

The alpine strawberry. This prompts me to pray for God’s help to read the Bible and to spend time in His presence in prayer; hopeful that these will bear fruit in due course (John 15).

The Lemon mint. This represents my church, and I pray for our scattered church community to be deepening roots within their neighbourhoods, to be lights in these dark times and for ways to be abundantly loving and serving those around us (Matthew 5).

My Rosemary gift. As I water the rosemary that was kindly given to me by a neighbour, I move on to my own local street and community. Praying for local residents who are working in the medical or teaching or other essential service sectors. I also take advantage of my daily walks/cycles to pray a blessing over the areas I visit as part of my daily exercise (Numbers 6:24-26).

The Tansy herb. This is a great plant for pollinators, so it’s been helping me to pray for wisdom and financial stability for A Rocha UK’s Partners in Action and other environmental charities that seek to give nature a home and secure a healthy environment for wildlife. (Psalm 24:1)

My chilli peppers. As I check on my chilli pepper collection from different countries, I remember to pray for governments around the world to not forget about the ongoing climate crisis and I pray for leaders to take strong actions for a just and sustainable reboot to our world (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

The Marshmallow. This final herb is growing taller each day and is my praise plant! I praise God for His goodness, His faithfulness, and His love. I thank God for the role of the church in sharing hope amidst adversity, for the charities and volunteers that are supporting the vulnerable in our communities, for the countless acts of kindness and generosity that happen daily. I thank God for the gift of His beautiful creation that soothes my troubled and anxious spirit; I praise Him for the moments of joy when I hear birdsong, for the scent of a flowering jasmine, for a beautiful sunset.

As an ‘allotmenteer’, I started to think about the food I grow and my prayer and praise plants would be:

Potatoes- Grown on most allotments and the foundation upon which so many meals are built. For me this represents the church and the ministry team who I pray will continue to inspire us with their teachings as the foundation of our faith.

Courgettes- The plant that keeps on giving throughout the Summer; just when you think it has come to end, out pops another one. This reminds me to pray for the wide range of keyworkers who continue to provide for us during the pandemic.

Strawberries- As the strawberry season comes to an end, the plants are shooting out runners with tiny new plants at the end that I pot up and nurture for next year. These represent the young people in our community that we need to nurture and pray that they will lead the world in a new, more positive direction

Purslane- A very resilient herb that that can be ignored, trampled on and generally neglected but it keeps on growing. This reminds me to pray for those who suffer persecution because of who they are or what they believe in but find the strength to carry on.

Plum tree- This is the praise plant on my allotment. It produces an abundance of fruit that I can share with others, fresh to eat now or made into jams and fruit crumbles to freeze for the Winter and I give thanks for another bountiful harvest and praise God for the wonders of his creation.