St. Paul's Church, Widnes

St Paul's is an extended family here at the heart of Widnes on a journey into God. 

We come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and ages. Some have been part of St Paul's for many years; others have joined us over the last few months. All are equal. Some are particularly active and involved, others less so, but we are all in our own way seeking to connect with and go deeper with God.

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St. Paul's Church

The St. Paul's Way - Daily Prayer

posted Jul 15, 2016, 1:23 AM by Jack Austin

When the St. Paul's way was launched, I was pleased to be challenged to develop healthy habits. Perhaps the one I've found most fulfilling so far is daily prayer.
Of course I knew perfectly well before that praying brings one closer to God, and that praying more can only be a good thing; but I only knew it in an intellectual sense. The only way I can explain it is that I knew it in my head, and now I know it in my heart.
When I was a child my parents, grandparents, and teachers would say, "Practice makes perfect." This is one of those phrases that really got into my mind, and permeates a lot of my thinking. Something that was clear to me from them saying this was that perfection isn't a default in this life, that we are in a world where things left alone will always get worse (see 2nd law of thermodynamics). What they meant when they told me that practice makes perfect, was that in practising things -in repeating good habits and disciplines- I would in some way be reversing that process and bringing perfection into the world.
As I have grown up I've inevitably found that some practices bring more perfection than others, and that daily prayer is certainly one of them. As I've been developing this habit of praying daily, it's brought my life more and more in tune with God. When I make a point of praying first thing in the morning, I get to see so much more of God in the world around me, and a lot of the time coincidences happen! Praying at lunchtime helps me through the rest of the day with Christ at the centre. Reading through a compline service before bed provides a great opportunity to look back on my day and see where God has been at work, and it is a great space to offer the day's thoughts up to God, and to go to sleep trusting in Him.
I've found that having a day punctuated with prayer in this way really promotes prayer in all situations. I find myself speaking to God in everything I do, and it feels so natural when the habit is developed.
Every time I pray, I invite the perfect one into my life, into this world. It really is a practice that makes perfect.

The Old Violin

posted Jul 15, 2016, 1:22 AM by Jack Austin   [ updated Jul 15, 2016, 1:25 AM ]

It was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer in a voice that was quiet and low said “What am I bid for the old violin?”, and he held it up with the bow.

A guiness, a guiness, and who will make it two, two guiness and who will make it three.  Guiness one, three guiness twice, going for three but no.

From the room far back, a grey haired man came forward, and picked up the bow, then wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loosened strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as a carolling Angel sings. 

The music ceased, and the auctioneer in a voice that was quiet and low said “What am I bid for the old violin?” and he held it up with the bow.

“A thousand guiness, and who will make it two? Two thousand, and who will make it three thousand?  Three thousand once, three thousand twice, and going and gone” said he.
The crowd cheered, but some of them said “We do not quite understand what changed its worth.”  Swift came the reply “A touch of the Master hand”.

And many a man with life out of time, all battered and scarred with sin, is auction cheap by the thoughtless crowd.  Like the old violin, a heap of pottage, a glass of wine, a game, and he travels on, he is going once, he is going twice, he is going, and almost gone, but the Master comes, and the foolish crowd can never quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that is wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.


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