Saturday Reflection


1st May 2021

...present your requestson...

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.

....Philippians 4:6

Recently a friend introduced me to a prayer app
called Lectio 365 which I have found
an inspirational addition to my
morning prayer time.

Today it introduced me to someone
I knew very little about,
but her story as a prayer warrior
is fascinating, Bertha of Kent.

As today is her feast day;
along with that of the Apostles
Philip and James;
I would like to share Bertha's
story with you.

In 578AD Bertha, a French princess,
moved to Canterbury, Kent
to marry its ruler Aethelburht.
Catholic Christianity had not yet come
to the British Isles;
Aethelburht was a pagan king but
his new bride brought with her a
strong Christian faith.

Wanting to support her,
Aethelburht built her a small chapel
which she visited every day,
praying fervently for the
conversion of her husband.

For eighteen years Berth's daily
prayers for her husband went unanswered.
She must have felt discouraged at times
but her faith never wavered.

Then in 596AD Pope Gregory the Great
sent a mission team from Rome;
landing in Kent they first preached
the gospel to King Aethleburht
who finally accepted Christ.

Within a single year it is estimated
that more than 10,000 people had
converted to Christianity,
following Aethelburht's example,
and on Christmas day 597
there was a mass baptism service.

Canterbury inevitably became the base
for the Catholic church in England
while the indigenous Celtic church
continued to flourish in the North
such as the holy islands of
Iona and Lindisfarne.

To this day Canterbury is the
spiritual home for 85 million Anglicans
around the world and the
Archbishop of Canterbury is recognised
as the leader of the
worldwide Anglican communion.

Bertha left no writings,
there is no record of her ever making
a public speech or passing any laws.
Yet through her faithfulness in prayer
she had a huge and incredible impact
on the evangelisation of not just England,
but around the world.

What's more, her prayer chapel,
dedicated to St Martin,
is recognised by UNESCO as the oldest
place of unbroken Christian worship
and witness in the English-speaking world.

Bertha probably thought she was just
praying for her husband, but she was,
in fact, praying for generations to come.
God heard the prayers she offered
day after day in that chapel,
he took his time, using it to soften
Aethleburht's heart so that it would be
responsive when the call came;
and did '...immeasurably more than all
[she could] ask or imagine'.
(Ephesians 3:20).

If we are feeling discouraged
in our prayer life,
wondering if God is really
hearing our prayers,
remember Bertha of Kent;
God will answer our prayers -
in his own way and in his own time,
which is always perfect.

And all things you ask in prayer,
believing, you will receive."
Matthew 21:22

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
sung by Jun Flores.
(with lyrics)'
via the link shown below.