Praying is a dangerous business

I’ve realised that I’ve been pretty lucky not to have grown up in a Christian culture in some ways. Why? Because I never learned all the politics of church and religious culture. All the add-ons, and as a result some religious rituals or rules make me giggles.

However, praying is not usually one of them.

I LOVE to pray. I love to pray for people. I totally have no qualms about the Holy Spirit (which freaks a lot of my Jesus believing friends out).

The fact is inviting the Holy Spirit to come and minister to people is a dangerous and sometime hilarious business. And you know what? That is biblical. As one church leader pointed out the first post-Jesus evangelistic sermon started with the words ‘We’re not drunk

People speaking weird languages. People being healed of injury or ailment. People falling over. People starting to laugh. People screaming as evil spirits are cast out of them.

It is weird. It is tough (if not impossible) to explain.

But surely, if it was explainable, it would not be God at work?

Anyway. With all the havoc that the Holy Spirit creates, praying can be a highly dangerous business. And I’d just like to give you a few examples of how, and a few pointers for those of you who like accident prevention. Especially as you gather with other Christians and may be involved in prayer ministry today (being that it’s Sunday and all). :)

1. Being prayed for may make you cry.

So before you go to a gathering of Christians where you may possibly be prayed for, do not wear eyeliner under your eyes. And if you want to wear mascara make sure it is of the waterproof sort.

2. Being prayed for may make you fall backwards.

I was very dubious about this whole falling backwards thing until of course it happened to me for the first time at Imagine 2008. The first time was all fine as I had 2 lovely women who had insisted on praying for me (I was trying to duck out under the premise that I was on the prayer ministry team). They caught me, didn’t hype anything and all was overwhelming but good.

So size up your pray-ers…are they going to be able to catch you if you fall?

3. Being prayed for may make you fall backwards, and when you fall backwards your top may ride up.

And you will have no control over the fact this happening. You may reveal more than you want to of your body, bordering on the edge of inappropriate. Or stomping right over the edge of inappropriate. And while it’s nice that God has given you a word and a picture of the woman in South Africa you’ll meet to pass it on to. Flashing your notsoflat tummy is slightly embarrassing.

You can prevent this by choosing your clothing very carefully.

4. Being prayed for may mean someone talks utter crap to you.

The fact is we’re all human, and sometimes what we think is God is actually us. Sooo…know that while prophecy can be personal it doesn’t have to  be private – it’s ok to share words you’ve been given by others with trusted Christian friends to help you discern them. And it’s ok to say ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s relevant for me right now, but thank you for having the courage to share that‘ to the person who has ‘spoken’.

It is not OK if that person continues to pray that over you once you’ve said that it is irrelevant.

5. Being prayed for can make people fall over.

So it’s important to have space in case that happens. And for people praying to have their eyes open so they can gently move someone out of the way of a falling person. Or catch a falling person.

6. Being prayed for can give you bruises.

If the people praying for someone else aren’t paying much attention and their pray-ee falls backwards and lands on your legs as you are already prostate on the ground seeing visions and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Again, it helps to have space and people praying with their eyes open.

7. Being prayed for can cause you injury.

Although I’m not sure how. But it did once happen to me in South Africa… (and to this day I don’t have a clue quite how it happened).

Make sure there is a First Aid kit handy, just in case.

8. And while we’re on the topic of injury…you may get someone pray for you and not check to see what’s happened after.

So if someone is praying for healing of the knee you injured during a prayer ministry time, they should really check you have actually been healed before they leave you abandoned and unable to get up off the floor should the Lord not have chosen to restore the tendons in your knee to working order.

9. Being prayed for makes you snotty.

Usually because of the welling up of tears and the fact that they end up running down your nose.

You can help by having tissues available and a nice prayer ministry team who subtley slip clean tissues into your hand so you can blow/wipe your nose and maintain a little dignity, and not gross out everyone around you by bogeys hanging out your nose or anything.

10. Being prayed for can change your life.

Because you open up yourself to listening to a powerful and almighty being. And you can never be too sure what He is going to say to you. Or the wonderful things He can do. The inspiration and encouragement and knowledge He can share with you.

So go enter in ready to listen with your mind and heart open, and prepare yourself to be blown away.

Like I said before…Praying is a dangerous business. Done with a bit of common sense and a lot of love it can change the world. But it’s a bit like what Forrest Gump’s mother said about life – it’s like a box of chocolates – you just ain’t ever sure what you’re gonna get! But like chocolate, if it’s from God…it’s probably pretty good!


Bible in a Year

One of the things I was semi-dreading about Inter:act was the idea of attempting (once again) to read the bible in the space of a year. I had taken a glimpse of the reading plan, which is similar to one that was given to me the first time I attempted it (reading the bible in chronological order). My heart sank with a deep ‘ugggggghhhh’.

So imagine how excited I was to go to Momentum last week and discover this:

I saw them in the marketplace, and then Mike and Andy explained at one of the main meetings that they’d decided to put a reading plan starting from September 1st where every day we’d all be reading a bit of Old Testament, New Testament and a Psalm/Proverb each day.

A few good things about this.

1. Every day there’ll be an opportunity to share on the Soul Survivor Bible in a year blog – so we’re not just reading but actually thinking and meditating on it

2. Some guys who go to my church have also bought this bible. And I may have bought a second one for somebody. That means we’re all in this together (and I’ve given permission to one of the guys to keep me accountable!)

3. I’m not going to be spending a month reading just Leviticus, Numbers or something (ie one of the more tedious and dull books of the bible…sorry, but you gotta admit it’s not the most exciting read when you’re reading about family trees or obscure examples of the laws they had back before Jesus times!). You’ve got a little bit of something easier to read with your dull bit. It’s kind of like when you have to eat a gross vegetable, and it helps to put something tastier on your fork with it. :)

So as of September 1st we’re going to be reading the bible all together…..100s, maybe 1000s of us!

Feel free to join us!

A letter to my 16 year old self

This is part of a simul-blog started by Alisha (Seattleite Imagery) & her friend Joey (Roddy Life)

Writing a letter to my 16 year old self….where to begin? It was the most bittersweet year of my life so far, and it’s tough to believe it was as much as 10 years ago as it’s a year I remember soooo vividly!

Dear Laura Anne,

So you’re now 16, nobody ever calls you Laura Anne (except Craig who for some reason likes to call you by your full name) and you have made some amazing friendships in this last year. Don’t let them go easily. Invest in those friends who you love and love you back – and most importantly have your back…always. As the years go on, and you face more of the ups and downs of life, the more you will appreciate the friends you’ve had since you were young.

I’m not sure if you met your boyfriend in the best possible way, and there are going to be complications from the decisions you have made now that will affect the rest of your life. Tread carefully not only with each others’ hearts, but the hearts of those close to you too. Especially as you face challenges far greater than most teenagers could barely imagine.

Choose life, and live it. I know that at times you feel there’s no hope, feeling so trapped between trying to survive through the life you are living, and working your way towards the life you can see but never seem to be able to reach. But the simple fact is, the dreams and visions you’ve been having – they are real, and their message is truth to encourage you. You will come through. There will be healing on the other side. There is a purpose for you in this world. Choose to live your life unselfishly.

Ask the GP for Depo Provera. It will save you from years of pain and embarrassing situations (and most likely an unplanned pregnancy). Plus, get a physio referral for your back injury! It will come back to haunt you later on if you don’t…

You are going to have so many opportunities in the next year…I know that you don’t want to go back to high school for another year. But seriously, make the most of it. Get stuck in, work hard and you will get the results you need. Listen to the teachers that are going to encourage you in your learning and help you achieve all you have to the potential for. Ignore the ones who don’t, and do not let the anger and hurt of them bringing you down with negativity get to you. Enjoy the trip to Morocco (you won’t need half the food you plan to take by the way), and get all you can from experiencing life as a dance teacher in Sweden too. You are making memories that will last forever.

Don’t let fear stop you from doing things in the future. Make an active effort to live a life of no regrets.

You’ll be going to university next year, leaving all your friends behind as they finish off high school. This is the right decision, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. You are not the same as everybody else, and these next few years your life is going to change more than you could ever have imagined. You’re going to make amazing friends, learn so much. Yes, you will go through more heartache, but you will not be alone in it.

Perhaps leave the weird jacket and avoid the hair dye at home (it will not work in your dark blonde hair!!).

Do not get your navel pierced….or if you do, remember that if you are allergic to surgical steel earrings, you will be allergic to surgical steel navel bars (even if your infected belly button will get you out of classes pretty much whenever you like because it looks so disgusting, it’s not worth it).

Learn how to manage your finances. (Do not trust your father to teach you about this).

Make time to spend with your family. It will make things much easier as you deal with the rollercoaster ride you’ll go on in years to come with them.

Your worldview is going to change pretty radically in the next 14 months. Um, when the time comes to explain that to your family (particularly your mother and Nana) choose your words carefully so they don’t think you’ve joined a suicide cult.

Don’t put up with guys who treat you poorly. They are not worth it, and it is better to be single than to be with the wrong guy. Do not let them put pressure on you or make you feel guilty. In fact, while you are at university you might be wise to just not get involved in any relationships like that altogether!!

As I write from 10 years in the future, know that you love to sing even more than before (so Standard Grade Music wasn’t such a waste of time after all, huh?). You’ve been to Australia, South Africa, New York City, travelled around Europe, and you are still writing. Some of the people that you didn’t get on with in high school are now your close friends. You now love Starbucks (you’ll grow to love their hot chocolate). You still love to e-mail, and you will make even more friends online in the years to come. There’ll be great tools you’ll discover like blogging, facebook, twitter and skype! I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that the next decade you are yet to face is all milk, honey and apple strudel…

…but I promise you it’ll all be worth it.

Lots of love,

Laura Anne

i’m home

This has been my home for the last 6 days with a lovely lady who runs a pregnancy resource centre in London…

It looks by what I’m wearing in the photo that it was sunny. What you can’t see is that I’m wearing wellies!

I had a 10 hour drive (mostly solo…) and have arrived home with a soggy tent, damp and muddy clothes, tangled hair and some bruises…..but also had an amazing week. God has done  a lot and I’m excited for the next year. A huge thing has been doing more of what I do, but also to deal with an issue God has really been speaking to me about in the last year:

The church is haemorhaging people in the 20s/30s age group.

So I guess it’s time we looked to see why that is, and see if we can do things better.


Have lots of stories to tell, blogs to read and blogs to post…but for now, I’m exhausted and I think I need to sleep, shower and do a whole lot of laundry first!

Getting to know you – James Lipton style!

So today is the start of Momentum – I’m camping in a showground in Somerset for the next 5 days. The reason for the picture? Because I’m hoping it’s not going to pour with rain, thunder and lightning for the whole time we’re there like it did in 2004 when I went to Soul Survivor. So since I may not be able to update my blog over the next week, I thought I’d leave you with a chance to share something of yourselves…
I love getting to know people’s stories, and their journey. One of my favourite shows is Inside the Actors Studio. At the end of every interview James Lipton asks his guest(s) 10 questions originally used by a French TV host, Bernard Pivot based on the Proust Questionnaire.
  1. What is your favorite word?
  2. What is your least favorite word?
  3. What turns you on?
  4. What turns you off?
  5. What sound or noise do you love?
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?
  7. What is your favourite curse word?
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  9. What profession would you not like to do?
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

So…to my readers. Since you have been getting to know me, I would love to get to know you!

What would your answers be?

The next 10 months…

**update: and Ruth is doing it too!! I’m not going to be alone in this…yay!**

I can now reveal what some of the plans are for the next year which I sort of vaguely referred to last month.

I’m going to be working part-time running a pregnancy crisis centre. (oh wait…I do that already…)

Difficult to believe that this Friday it marks exactly 3 years since my first official day working at the local PCC. It started off with some bizarre obstacles that almost prevented me from making it to my first day too!

But what is new? I’m going to be doing a part-time course called Inter:act at my church.


Because I really suck at studying and reading my bible since I moved down here. Back in the ‘deen we had a number of interactive sermons and study times in the evenings at our church, we had lots of short-term and one-off courses and seminars I attended. Plus friends I studied the bible and prayed with regularly.

Because I realise that there is a pastoral and spiritual element to the role I have in my work…and in the last few years I have been reluctant to step into leadership. Well, I’m here now, and it’s time I stepped up to the plate.

And because there’s a slim chance that I may be returning to South Africa to work there in the future.

It’s going to be a challenge.

Firstly, I haven’t worked full-time in about ?2? years. I got very ill while working full-time after graduating. Apparently having glandular fever, chronic fatigue syndrome and then mumps really screws over your immune system. Plus until April last year, I regularly bed/sofa/floor ridden and on the maximum doses of painkillers I could take.

So to say I’m nervous about not being able to do this (particularly with a 9 a.m. start every Tuesday morning) is a mild understatement. I  hope that people will be understanding of my need for rest and the fact that over winter months it’s sometimes best for me to avoid church services because of all the winter bugs floating amongst the congregation. Most people can push on through a cold (and I used to be one of those people and wish I still was) but I will be taken out of action for weeks.

Secondly, It means I have to live at my mother’s house for at least another year. One of us may have killed the other by 2011.

Thirdly, I have no idea how all of this will be funded. They do suggest writing to people to help support you, but I’m not sure I feel comfortable doing that. Prayer support = yes please. Financial support = me feeling bad.

Fourthly, I’ve seen the reading list. It’s going to take a whole lot of Starbucks to get me reading some of those books. I am happy that I’ve already read some of them.

Fifthly, I’m trying to picture me reading the bible in a year. I’ve tried to do this several times, and the furthest I got was Exodus (and not very far in either). The up side is at least this time I know not to follow the advice of older, wiser Christians who tell you to get up early so you can read your bible first thing. I know better now…I’m a night owl, and will take more in if I read it at nighttime!

I’m excited for the coming year, though I doubt I’ll find it easy. Though I’ve always enjoyed learning, I don’t have good memories of the ‘studying’ part of university – I still shudder when I hear the words Geomorphology or Health Economics. Or Feminist Sociology. Just reading the name ‘Wayne Grudem’ is already sending shivers down my spine. Then again, I loved it when I got to study things like medical sociology, Health Promotion, Nutrition and read up on maternal and child health.

I guess we’ll just dive in and see what happens. :)


And so today I arrived home, and this update from Jenni appeared on my facebook feed:

Mike is home!!!! Yay! Got discharged this afternoon. Still got rehab to do but he is very happy that he is going to get to sleep in his own bed tonight and wont be woken up randomly to be asked where he is or what his date of birth is. x

He still has a lot of rehab and all that stuff to go, but this is such amazing news. I hope you all agree.


Things I learned at Rocky’s Plaice

Last week I was hanging out at ‘Rocky’s Plaice’ – a holiday club programme for primary school aged children (4.5-11 years old) designed by Scripture Union. The programme takes you through some of the stories told in the book of Acts (just after the books at the start of the new testatment bible named after 4 guys…Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). The holiday club itself takes place in a chip shop (= Chippy, if you’re Scottish like me!)

So here’s what I learned in the last week…

1. That there’s some vision moment that Peter has before he meets Cornelius in the bible. I don’t remember that part of the story. This makes for interesting leader fail moment when you are trying to help a bunch of 5-9 year olds put the pictures telling the story in the correct order and the children’s bible you’re holding has decided not to include that particular passage in its pages.

2. Children are a lot smarter and clued up than many adults give them credit for.

Scratch that. I didn’t learn that this week. I already knew that. But this week affirmed that…see this post for just one example.

3. Some sign language. I have been fascinated with sign language for a long time, my Grandad taught me the alphabet in British Sign Language (BSL) when I was but a kiddle. Plus I used to use Makaton with clients often when I worked in a respite centre for adults with learning disabilities.

4. I wanted to find out how close to BSL some of the actions were in the signs we were doing. A child corrected my version of the sign for ‘Jesus’. I’m wondering when the best time to let our pastors know that we got the signs for ‘sing’ and ‘praise’ the wrong way around.

Thankfully it’s not too much of an issue in a worship song…it may be an issue if using BSL in everyday conversation though. :)

**I may also have taken some enjoyment learning some Auslan from some of Adam Hills stand up shows with sign interpreters (very sinful of me…I know). But that’s not something I learned at Rocky’s Plaice.**

5. When you’ve spent a few years studying Health Sciences, it’s tough to hold on to your breakfast watching an episode of Rocky’s Plaice sometimes…especially when you watch things go into the Deep Fat Fryer.

6. It’s fun to dance and sing together, especially when you’re doing it for God.

7. It’s not so fun to realise you are 26 going on 66 and that not only does dancing make your back hurt, when you sit on the floor your knee lets out an almighty cracking crunching noise. 8O

8. Many many awful jokes. Seriously really bad ones…(worse that the ones your Dad might tell ya!)

9. People in your work will laugh at you on Monday morning when you start singing out ‘My God is big, my God is great, my God is fab and he’s my mate…’ even if they’re Christians too.

10. Mushy peas are truly the most disgusting ‘food’ ever. Seriously. Peas are gross enough without mushing them up and putting them in a tin. One word: BOGGING!

11. There’s only one thing more awesome than the Cleaning Crew (=2 lads from MBC being Mr Motivator only they’re dressed in aprons and holding very colourful feather dusters) and that’s trainee superstar chefs Salt n’ Vinegar…though the only way they will be allowed in any kitchen of mine is over my dead body (most likely caused by food poisoning).

12. I have a new appreciation of my friends’ kiddles. I’m proud of my friends’ parenting skills.

13. I’m in awe of the energy of people who do this kind of work all the time…play workers, primary school teachers, Children & Families Pastors, parents….I salute you!

14. I’m useless when I’m sleep deprived.

15. Glasses and long frizzy/curly (=messy) hair are hazardous when wearing a ‘Britney Spears’ mic.

16. I love being part of a team of people who work hard but most importantly encourage each other and have fun while doing it.

To sum up: it has been a week of learning and re-learning. It has been fun. It has been tiring. It has made me remember the fun of doing children and youth work in towns in Scotland with my friend Carrie (and others who have been part of our mega SCEM teams). At least this time I wasn’t trying to teach the kids the actions to ‘Hands, Hands, Fingers, Thumbs’ with a splinted wrist…! It was a little sad not to have a 2 year old joining in – particularly as Elastatoddler learned the dance to With God’s Power right along with me!

And hopefully I did not corrupt any children…

………………………… least not this week.

Things I didn’t even know about myself

It was Saturday morning. I had a beautiful (yes…beautiful) sleep in until past 9 a.m. – a total of NINE hours sleep. Very exciting (and much needed).

I went downstairs to get lunch, and checked the post. I was intrigued by a letter on the top of the pile of mail that the postie had shoved through our letterbox addressed to ‘Mrs Mackay’. I did think it might be from the national charity I work with who have had me down as ‘Mrs’ before, something that has caused a laugh or 2 amongst Sarah and myself. We are an anomaly in our organisation managing a centre despite the fact we are both under 40 and *gasp* single.

Anyway, I got quite the shock (and was rolling on the floor with laughter) when I discovered that the letter was to let me know that my daughter ‘Rosie’ had a place at a Brownie Pack.


I may not recall getting married (I presume my Western Isles roots have run deep having married a guy with the same surname as me and all). And even more scarily I don’t recall giving birth. Though my friends reminded me that they didn’t see much of me in the summer of 2003. So I had ‘post-viral fatigue syndrome‘….yeah…uh huh. That must have been code for ‘secretly pregnant‘. Oopsie!

But as a Brownie – I was Sixer of the Pixies don’t ya know?!  – (Heck…I’ve been a young leader and an Assistant Brownie Guider too!), I’m very proud that my daughter I didn’t have a clue about is following in my footsteps.


The best bit was that I was sunbathing in the back garden after church, reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for like the umpteenth time, and my Mum came out having found the letter on the coffeetable.

“So you have a daughter called Rosie, eh? How come you never told me about this?!”

Though we have NO idea how the letter ended up addressed to (sort of) me and through our door, if nothing else it has given us a bit of a giggle.

**Don’t worry – I phoned the Brown Owl to let her know that her letter has gone to the wrong house! I am definitely not married and I really did have Post-viral fatigue syndrome and was definitely not pregnant or giving birth in 2003**