Paul told the Romans that they should understand the present time:“the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Rom 13:11)

As we pray during the month of January, we need to understand the present time. There is great discouragement all around our area. Unemployment is high; the economic conditions are not good; there is a general feeling of insecurity and even despair in many areas. We should not be discouraged by what we see in the visible realm, however, and need to keep our eyes fixed on God, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph 3:20).

As we walked the streets of Goldthorpe today, there were two scenes which set people praying.

The first was this desolate, overgrown area on the new estate:

Isaiah 43:18-19 is a Scripture which has been coming back to various people at church over recent months. This says, “‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” What seems overgrown and untended to us can still be made into something beautiful by God.

Isaiah 58:12 says “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” We have a God who is able to repair and restore that which looks desolate and barren.

The second was the water tower:

Water is often seen as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In John 7, we read “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:37-39) Our prayer is for those rivers of living water to flow from within many more people in Goldthorpe as they come to know the Lord in 2013.