Stand Firm - Let Nothing Move You!
There is a story told of a boy trying to learn how to ice-skate. He had fallen so many times that his face was cut, and the blood and tears ran together. Out of sympathy, a man skated over to the boy, picked him up and said, "Son, why don't you quit before you really injure yourself?" He wiped the tears from his face and told the man, "I didn't buy these skates
to learn how to quit; I bought them to learn how to skate."
The Christian worships a God who can (and does) take the life of individuals, turn it inside out, and use it to build a piece of His kingdom. Quitting is not an option! We become a Christian to learn how to live, how to really live, not to quit!
The story of Eli, the Old Testament priest, is a story with a sense of failure attached to it. He failed both as a Father of his own family and as a spiritual Father to his nation: Israel. Yet, the Bible points us in the direction of a man who was used by God. In modern speak, he coached or mentored a young boy; Samuel grew up to be one of the greatest prophets in all of Israel’s history - a significant achievement in the second half of Eli’s life. Here we see resilience! 
The New Testament documents many moments where resilience is required to see that God’s purposes are carried out. Paul and Silas demonstrate considerable resilience in the face of a barrage of both physical and verbal abuse when their prayerful actions affected the wealth of a group of local fortune tellers. Attacked by a crowd, beaten by the authorities and imprisoned they start to do what most of us wouldn’t do: they sang hymns! Midnight came and things really did start to happen; nuts, bolts, wood, stone and chains broke open: God changed the atmosphere through their resilience. Paul and Silas’ praise and worship changed the atmosphere!
It would seem that resilience has a number of qualities to it; the first of these is “don’t quit”. We are wonderfully and fearfully made for a purpose and leading a resilient life says, “I’m going to find out what that purpose is all about!”
REFLECTION & STUDY
READ Acts 16:16-38 - note the number of issues faced by Paul & Silas and their unswerving focus.
Consider a time where you or someone you know has demonstrated resilience. What characteristics were present in the situations? What part does faith, prayer and support from others play in developing resilience?
1. Resilience - in yourself, in those around you, in your church leaders;
2. The purpose and mission of the worldwide church:
1. Pray for the persecuted church, for a spirit of resilience to grow.
IDEAS FOR FAMILIES
This section provides a few ideas for families to engage with the ‘Week of Prayer’ material. It acts as a guide for you to develop with your family as appropriate.
TO TALK ABOUT: Today’s thinking is about ‘giving up’.
Ask the children if they have ever given up (or felt like giving up) on something at school. If appropriate share an experience from your own life.
Talk about the feelings of giving up on something; we can feel upset and disappointed when we do give up on something.
Share the story of Paul & Silas from Acts 16. How do you think they felt in the story? Remind the children that Jesus is always with them just as he was with Paul & Silas.
ACTIVITY (Optional): Talk about the seasons: When do they change? What happens? Are some times of year difficult for animals? Remind your children that the seasons ‘keep going’; God sets all things in motion for the good of his creation. Make a small display of items from the garden that remind us of God’s creation eg a a crumpled leaf, something ‘evergreen’, a twig etc.
TO THINK ABOUT: Remind the children that the seasons continue to take place they ‘don’t give up’. Let’s encourage each other to stand firm!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are always there; speaking up for us, encouraging us to not ‘give up’. Help us to stand firm! AMEN
 1 Samuel
 Acts 16:16-38
PBC Week of Prayer 2020
Thursday 2nd - Wednesday 8th January 2020