Nigel's three-year journey of faith begins
Norwich Methodist minister Rev Nigel Fox has been on a three-year journey of faith leading from a Hebrew blessing through fire to revival. Here he begins a trilogy of articles describing his experience.
I’d heard of Ffald-y-Brenin, read the book, become intrigued, and decided to use a week of my 2013 sabbatical by being resident there – quietly joining in the rhythm of daily prayer. For those not familiar with it, this is a very quiet and unassuming place near the SW corner of the Preseli Mountains in Wales. It’s quite a drive from Norwich, and has become the launchpad for the ‘houses of prayer’ movement, worldwide.
What happened to me there has progressively opened up a fresh journey into prayerfulness and a heart-longing for ‘the work of God’ to be revived in our time!
This first week at Ff-y-B (I’ve been three times, and am booked again for this year) began quietly, but then became peppered with wonderful things. Sometimes, the 30 minutes of formal prayer, spoken slowly and gently, would linger on in silent God-moments or gentle songs.
On the Thursday lunchtime, our scheduled 10 minutes took an additional 40 minutes. That morning, several of us stood at their ‘high cross’ on a rocky outcrop, and I’d prayed ‘for release’. I was then a little late for the next prayer session, and had to squeeze down between the natural rock centre-piece and the wall of the little beehive chapel – bad back and all.
Unsure how it started, but I began laughing, laughing with increasing energy and becoming hot in the process. God was doing something… To cut the story short, everyone received a mighty release… with one visitor released from her serious burdens, and another eventually bathed in laughter lasting into the small hours of Friday morning! My heart was on fire, and my back was significantly better, too.
As it happened, that week led directly into a hastily-arranged fortnight in Jerusalem, staying with ‘the White Sisters’ just outside the Damascus Gate, and frequently praying in the Garden Tomb and sharing daily fellowship with their volunteers. I was also able to walk around the old city and its environs, camera in hand, stopping to listen and speak with whoever – so privileged to be soaking up that which is so special in a place of tragic tension.
One detail that made this time so incredible was an unexpected meeting with a Hebrew tutor at ‘Succoth Hallel’ (one of several prayer-houses). His teaching from Numbers 36 was mainly in Hebrew, and beyond me, but I thanked him afterwards, as it confirmed to me a godly principle that God’s gifts are not transferable, but given. As a Methodist, I firmly believe we have already been gifted with revival: it’s our heritage, if not our experience, but we’re still called to live it anyway.
It transpired that he was the individual who was led to visit Ffald-y-Brenin some years ago, specifically to sing the Priest’s Blessing over the warden and his wife, as a blessing of the Lord from Zion. This all seemed hugely significant to me.
So began my post-sabbatical series of teaching of Numbers 6:24-26, and my learning to pray it in Hebrew.
Seriously, it carries a double-promise and it imparts blessing, even in English. Try it!
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Click here to read the second part of Nigel's trilogy
Click here to read the final part of Nigel's trilogy
Pictured above is a chapel at Ffald-y-Brenin.
Rev Nigel Fox continues to serve at Wroxham Road (Sprowston), White Woman Lane, and Bowthorpe Road (Chinese) Methodist churches, until retirement in 2017.
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