It’s my birthday this weekend! I’ll turn 38 on Sunday, God willing.
I find birthdays to be bittersweet occasions. On the one hand, it’s an opportunity to be grateful for another year on earth. And those around you celebrate your presence in their lives. On the other hand, it’s a reminder of the swift passing of time, of coming ever closer to the Final Hour and Final Judgement, both of which God indeed describes as “coming ever closer” (21:1 and 24:1).
But in addition to contemplating questions like, “Did I make the most of the last year?” and enjoying the company of my family, I’ll be marking the occasion by doing what I love doing most of all in service of God's cause. For the first time I’ll be teaching all three of my educational programmes on prayer, revelation and leadership simultaneously. Since I’m not getting any younger, it’s time to step up the intensity!
On Sunday morning, I’ll be delivering a “power hour” to Club Revelation participants on the topic of Mountains, exploring all the verses in the Qur’an where the giant, awe-inspiring structures are mentioned. Here’s one famous example, “Had we sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbled and split apart from being in awe of God. Such are the examples we strike for people so that they reflect.” (59:21)
Then in the late afternoon, I’m due to deliver Session 3 out of 6 of Last Day Leader on Mission and Strategy. Essentially, it's about how to figure out the best way to apply all that God has given us - time, resources, networks, opportunities - to serving His cause in the short time we have on earth.
And then on Monday afternoon, I’ll be kicking off Transform My Prayer, Winter Holiday Edition. There has been an amazing response to this tried-and-tested course with hundreds having signed up already. If you want to join in, now’s the time to do so, especially as there is a “Pay What You Can” option if the standard course cost is unaffordable. I’ve introduced this option for the first time precisely because I’d like this course to be as accessible as possible to every believer on the planet! Click here to find out more and sign up.
If you’ve already signed up, but you’d like to gift a place to a friend or family member, then you can do so here.
Below are some insights and useful resources...
Last night I delivered what has become my most popular webinar: How to Get Your Kids to Pray. Well over 1,000 people signed up for this session and the feedback has been really positive. All praise belongs to God of course!
I break this topic down into three key areas:
1) it’s not about them, it’s about you: understanding how critical it is for parents to be on an ongoing journey to improve their own prayers, in order for their children to take them (both parents and prayers) seriously.
2) make the experience natural: normalising the special occasion of Salat. This includes the way we refer to the prayer when we invite our children to participate. There are much better ways to get the family together to pray than to simply say, “Right everyone, let’s do Salat!”
Check out this short video in which I elaborate on this particular point.
3) handle difficulty with wisdom and dignity: being really careful when our children show resistance or apathy. The way we deal with these moments can be ‘make or break’ when it comes to whether or not our children will be serious about their prayers in the long-run. May God give us wisdom in handling tough situations!
Click here to watch the on-demand replay of yesterday's How to Get Your Kids to Pray webinar.
I was reflecting recently on just how important it is to understand and say the words of the Opening Chapter (Surah al-Fatihah) with full devotion and meaning. It’s said that the rest of the Qur’an can simply be seen as an elaboration of what’s contained in the seven oft-recited verses; which is as if to say that any study of revelation should result in a deeper, more meaningful expression of Surah al-Fatihah. Don’t underestimate the importance of being focused on basic matters such as these, especially when this chapter is at the heart of our prayers. To help you get more out of these verses that we all recite day in, day out, here are a couple of resources:
I’ve really been enjoying teaching the Last Day Leader course so far. We’re almost half-way through and, as mentioned earlier, we’re about to explore the importance of developing a Mission and Strategy.
Do you know what your mission and strategy in life are? Or are you just moving from one day to the next without much direction? What are the visions and dreams that you’re not yet fulfilling?
If it’s fear that’s holding you back – which is one of the most common reasons people tell me they’re stuck in their current reality – then this wonderful quote might help. I came across it recently and it seems to reflect very precisely the messages in revelation about the power of believing, trusting, deciding and acting:
“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.” (W.H. Murray)
Basically, whatever it is, go for it!
God is with you if you are with Him.
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I hope you enjoyed and benefited from this edition of INsights. Please comment below with your feedback.
Have a blessed fortnight. I'll see you in two Fridays, God willing, for a special end-of-year edition!
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