God is our help (Psalm 46)

For some years now I’ve taken part in various editions of the 12-song challenge, a songwriting initiative hosted by resoundworship.org. The challenges and the supportive songwriting community have kept me writing at least one song a month. even during busy and trying times like vacancies and the pandemic.

This month the assignment was to write Assembly Bangers:

assembly – gathered, collective worship in schools, supposed to be daily and of a broadly Christian character. Though not so common throughout the school experience as it once was, it remains a staple of many children’s experience in primary school (ages 4 to 11)

bangers – a British colloquial terms for great song that make you want to get up and dance

songs that:
– are repetitive and hooky
– have a simple structure
– are easy to play and lead on piano (or guitar)
– have an accessible vocal range
– have words that children can read/memorise/understand

To start with I revamped an existing song called “God is my refuge”, also based on Psalm 46. Slowly but surely the revamp evolved into a song in its own right, including a new verse that references war and peace and a bridge based on “Be still, and know that I am God” (v.10).

I don’t know if I hit the brief exactly. Perhaps the song is too confessional and belongs in the church, more than the school assembly. Time will tell.


God is our help in times of distress
God is our refuge and strength
God is with us always
No need feel afraid
for God will keep us safe.

Even if the earth starts to tremble
and mountains start to slip and slide
even if the waves start to roar like lions
God is by our side


One day God will stop all the fighting
All weapons will be scrapped and burnt
One day God will reign over all the nations
Peace will come on earth


Be still and know God is on the throne
Be still and know, God is in control.


From the blog
Big strong tree
Prayer poem: Not forsaken
Circle me, Lord

3 Prayers for Christian unity

IK IK (ME ME) Reflect


3 prayers on the theme of Christian unity to coincide with the 2023 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an annual prayer initiative that usually takes place from 18 to 25 January.

Let us pray …


Lord, we pray for the unity of your Church.
Help us to see ourselves as rays from the one sun,
branches of a single tree,
and streams flowing from one river.
May we remain united to you and to each other,
because you are our common source of life;
and may we send out your light
and pour forth your flowing streams over all the earth,
drawing our inspiration and joy from you.

~ after St Cyprian of Carthage (c.200-258),
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #527


Lord Jesus Christ,
who prayed for your disciples that they might be one,
even as you are one with the Father;
draw us to yourself,
that in common love and obedience to you
we may be united to one another,
in the fellowship of the one Spirit,
that the world may believe that you are Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

~ written by William Temple (1881-1944), from re:worship


You made us, God,
in Your own image,
and then became one of us,
proud of those you have made.

Make us proud of being part of that worldwide family,
and eager to discover and celebrate Your image
in every person, every culture, every nation,
that we are privileged to encounter.

~ from the booklet for the 2023 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Racial justice at forefront of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Church of Scotland website).

Soft eyes help


Soft Eyes Blessing

“And all the believers met together constantly,
and shared everything they had….”
Acts 2:44

may the god who is community
be with us as we seek to be a community

may god bless our dreams
and may god shatter our dreams

may god help us to be real
and to find depth in weakness and brokenness

may god help us to face and grow through conflict
rather than pretend by being nice

may we look at each other through soft eyes
and truly respect each other as human beings

may god help us let go of control
and the need to fix one another

may god help us discover we are needy in our own souls
and give attention to our own hearts

may god grant us the gift of an extraordinary love
that flows from the heart of god
that covers a multitude of wrongs

~ written by Anna, and posted on the freshworship.org

Note: This blessing is also included in a prayer sheet posted in 2017: Theme: Called into community.


Our theme for January is HELP.

By way of introduction, a brief comment on the gutsy word “help” in the English language.

English has a rich vocabulary, due – in part – to the so-called Latin borrowings, introducing Latin-based alternatives for common English words. “Aid” as a posh alternative for the Old English word, “help”, for example.

In a real-life crisis all that posh language goes out the window, though. “Aid! Aid me!” somehow doesn’t have the same sense of urgency as “Help! Help me!”.

Fortunately God hears and understands us, however we express our distress.


God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.


A prayer

I call upon your Name,
      for You are with me.
I am never alone,
      never without help,
      never without a friend,
      for I dwell in You and You in me!
‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil;
      for You are with me.’

by David Adam
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #122