prayer mysteries

Exploring the Mysteries of Prayer
Rev. D. Johns

1. Is there strength in numbers? Why is it good to gather with other believers to pray? Are longer prayer meetings more effective than shorter ones? Sometimes we are tempted to discuss the mysteries of prayer with more energy than is expended entering into prayer itself.

Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? Zondervan 2006
He relates an account reported by historian Paul Johnson. In 1493 students at the University of Louvain debated these topics: do four five-minute prayers on consecutive days stand a better chance of being answered than one twenty-minute prayer? Is a prayer of ten minutes, said on behalf of ten people, as efficacious as ten one-minute prayers? The debate lasted eight weeks, longer than it had taken Columbus to sail to America the previous year.

Yancey is not willing to ‘buy-in’ to the thinking that prayer operates according to a mathematical formula in which God calculates the total amount of prayer-pressure being applied. But he does acknowledge anecdotal/historical evidence for mass prayer meeting success. Yancey notes Biblical accounts of group prayer being called for and celebrated.

So, whether you stay home tonight and pray from there, or choose to gather with other followers of Jesus at church tonight – I will not judge. Yes, it is a mystery. Perhaps life in the Kingdom of God is about doing both.

I Can’t Find it!



Looking In All The Wrong Places

I was inspired by a few paragraphs written by Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. You can find his full article on page 96 of Leadership Journal, Spring 2014.

How many times do I put important things in a safe place, say to myself that ‘I will never forget this safe place’, and then promptly forget just a few hours later. How much energy is then subsequently wasted looking in all the wrong places?! This happens way too often. Pastor Tullian says that when he does this with his car keys he “frantically runs from room to room blaming someone” while he scours the house for the missing keys. You know exactly what I’m talking about. It happens in your home too. You blame while you look.

Then he says “and right about the time I’m ready to order mass executions I’ve put my hand in my pocket and found my keys. They’d been there the whole time.”

Two things resonate with me: The ‘blame game’ and the ‘not really missing thing’.

1. Ever since the Garden of Eden people have been quick to deny personal responsibility and just as quick to shift the blame to those close to them. It sounds like childish excuses. This dysfunctional behaviour is destructive. It can’t be overstated: our juvenile junk jeopardizes family unity and compromises our reputations.

2. In Christ nothing is missing. And the Bible talks about believers being “in Christ”. Therefore, logic tells us that we have everything. Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (NIV) The Message puts it this way: “God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.” Tchividjian eloquently states that we typically live and lead “frantically searching for something we already have … because of Jesus we already have all of the justification, approval, significance, security, worth, validation, love, righteousness, rescue, and joy that we long for. Yet we keep looking for those in a thousand things infinitely smaller than Jesus.”

So, like John the Baptist, I say – BEHOLD [look at] JESUS, THE LAMB OF GOD. He is the one who delivers ABUNDANT LIFE! (John 10:10)


Rev. Doug Johns

For Sunday June 29, 2014


someone must have been praying


I’m so thankful that you, and the people of St. Andrew’s in Kimberley, pick up the baton and run with prayers to compensate for my lack of/or supplement my little efforts in this regard: here is how I know you and others have been praying:

– the last 2 Sunday services have been quite powerful
– last week our meetings went so well (Finance on Monday, Knox Cranbrook Search on Monday, Session on Tuesday, Membership Matters on Thursday, Presbytery on Friday) 
– Ladies Retreat at Dutch Harbour was an inspiration to those who attended
We pray right now for the Knox Session meeting being led by Gwen Brown
* anyone feel called/led to represent our church at the Inter Church meeting tomorrow – the purpose is to plan a joint effort for a parade float for Julyfest. The meeting is at the RC church. let me know.
Amanda had a few days off work so we left after church on Sunday and went to Calgary to see family. Monday we had all the grandchildren at the Zoo and then all 14 of us shared dinner at Hanna’s house. Pretty special times. Yvonne finishes her 2 weeks of helping at the end of the week and should be back in Kimberley Friday night. No news yet on the imminent arrival of grandchild #6.
Driving home Tuesday we saw one mama black bear, but not where the warning signs were!!! Amanda says those signs are “false advertising”. Been looking for the grizzly bears the last few trips but no luck.


Friday May 9th, 2014

Hi Everyone!

Yvonne and I want to let you know that we are thinking of you as we continue our adventure towards Europe. We have been traversing the Atlantic for 8 full days now. One more night, our 9th, and we will arrive in Lisbon, Portugal. On Wednesday we saw our first sign of others navigating these waters – just one small sailboat and another small vessel. Until then we had seen absolutely no other signs of humans! Yesterday we caught a glimpse of land through the mist and fog – the Azores islands. I thought of how so many brave explorers and merchants and settlers sailed the ocean for months – and in small and fragile ships. These people risked their lives for a purpose that burned in their hearts. Boldly they made their way into an unknown future.

May 7 2014 2453

The Church moves into the future, unsure sometimes of what lays beyond the horizon. It is a time for adventure and courage and risk. But this we are sure of: God is our navigator, our companion, our strength, and our comforting companion. It is a time to trust and a time to discover ‘new worlds’!

Speaking of companions, I have a travelling companion who has a birthday today! Yvonne is indeed a ‘co-adventurer’ – Happy Birthday to my wife!

May 7 2014 2501

Blessings, Pastor Doug

European Roots


 Part #3 – European Roots

It is common, or perhaps convenient, to view the Pilgrims through an American world-view grid. But more accurately the lens would be of a European construction. It is more helpful to colour their nomadic quest – Scrooby in England to Amsterdam and then to Leiden in Holland, and finally to New England – with hues closer to the European palette than some ‘American Dream’ mixture.

 Pressure and persecution of ‘Separatist Puritans’ in England drove our thanksgiving heroes to the more open culture of the Low countries. Bradford described life in Leiden as a place where they “lived together in peace and love and holiness, enjoying much sweet and delightfully society and spiritual comfort together in the ways of God.” Winslow spoke in glowing terms as well: “never people upon earth lived more lovingly together than we the church at Leiden did.

 Had they found their freedom? Were they content? To some extent the evidence suggests yes. Yet there is still an urge to look across the ocean to America? One explanation that appeals to the zealous religious mind is a missionary motive. McKenzie notes that Bradford, Winslow and Morton all mention this, but not with any degree of prominence. He writes about the trio of sources “there is no evangelistic activity reporting once in New England”, plus, “ever since they had first begun meeting in secret back in Scroody, the Leider separatists had focused more on purifying Christ’s church than enlarging it. They sought to imitate the primitive New Testament church in its form of worship, not in its missionary impulse.” It seems that we will need to look further into the roots of the reasons for coming to America.


No one can argue that American Thanksgiving is a complex weave of spiritual, historical and cultural elements resulting in a national identity with profound significance.

I have developed my insights based on information in the book THE FIRST THANKSGIVING by Robert Tracy McKenzie, Inter Varsity Press Academic, 2013.

Romania in September






This was visit #4 for Yvonne and visit #7 for me – all in less than 3 years! We are thankful for the encouragement and support from people all around the world, and for the backing of our home church St. Andrew’s, Kimberley. This latest venture was quite exciting and fruitful, but not without its challenges.


People assisted with the provision of more than a suitcase of school supplies – designated for kindergarten work at Maranatha Church, Cold Valley, Tg Mures. However, as we visited with Pastor Horvath and family, it became clear to us that we should hold back some of the supplies. On our last day we re-visited Charis Foundation (a retreat, camp-like ministry in western Romania, near Oradea, close to the Hungary border) – it turned out that they could really use the remaining school supplies. In just a few days they were to host a children’s Day Camp; 45 children had been invited but 65 children were registered. They were preparing for 70. The donated supplies were provided by Canadian friends just at the right time!

Now here is a simple but cool story about the supplies going to Romania. When it came time to do on-line check in for our flight leaving Calgary, I got through all the steps save one, and then was told I had to print the boarding pass at the airport kiosk the next day. I was not happy! We arrive at the airport and try to do just that, and again they failed to print. I was not happy! I was frustrated. So a West Jet/KLM staff member comes to assist this grumpy customer. I said I was trying to check my 2 suitcases plus the extra one (which I was willing to pay for) but the stupid machine was not working.

As she kindly takes us to the front of the line (nice) she asks about our trip. It turns out her family heritage is Romanian, and she personally makes sure we are not charged for the extra school supply suitcase or our overweight case with the additional school supplies. So, see, there was a reason why we could not check in online or at the kiosk! Saved some money and got to speak about our work in Romania and the generosity of our people. We could see her then proceed to tell all the staff about church missions to Romania!

Yvonne and I did this trip having some but not all of our Mission costs covered. So, in faith, we trust that additional support will come in before the end of this year. Again, I can provide details if God impresses this on your hearts.

Wow – it was such a learning and blessed adventure.
We held a brief children’s program on Monday September 16 2013 at Maranatha Church in Cold Valley, Targu Mures. We did not expect the number of kids who turned out, nor the wide age span. It was fun though!

The children and their leaders had made a poster to say thanks to “Kimberley & Cranbrook” – note the Romanian & Canadian flags on the poster. Most of the supplies will be kept for future children’s programs and the Kindergarten. A few of the older children who do attend school took a filled case home with them.

Charis Foundation founders and Directors Daniel & Mona Cuipe were thrilled to receive school/arts supplies as well. For this ‘photo op’ Daniel proudly wore the Canadian baseball cap we had brought for him.

THANKS again to all those who donated the supplies/money for the suitcase and a half we took to Romania … and to the two couples who generously covered the additional $150.00 we spent once in Romania for the school project: our best friends Sandy & Dusty Papke of Ontario and my sister Heather & her husband Ed Willis of Massachusetts.

So many people assist with the Romania mission – we are grateful. The last two mission trips have been supported by many. Special appreciation is mentioned to Rev. Jim Hearne of Balfour, BC, who sends monthly support, and our daughter Hannah & her husband Peter Gimby of Calgary who amaze us with their stewardship discipline & generosity.

We love our work in Kimberley. We love our work in Romania. God is good.

Thanking you for your friendship