James 1

Take a moment to be still and to pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ before reading the scriptures. If you are in the company of others, invite someone to read the text aloud.


If you are gathering with your family, invite someone to read this reflection aloud.

“There comes a point in any long distance race when you hit the wall. The enthusiasm from behind the start line disappears as you reach the twenty mile mark, weary. You are really beginning to suffer at this point, but hitting the wall is mainly a mental struggle. Any time I’ve slowed down on the road, checking my watch to see minutes per mile creep painfully higher, my initial response is regret.

“I should have trained harder. I should have been more prepared.”

My regret is coupled with a retracing of steps back to the bursts of energy in the early miles when I was running strong, fuelled by the adrenaline of race day.

“That was only two hours ago,” I think to myself, “how have things ended up like this?”

After a couple of minutes of comparing your glory moments to your present state of just plain sore, you begin to draw on something deep within yourself.


Rather than looking back, you begin to look ahead. Looking at your watch, you reset your expectations, knowing full well that the next few miles will be slower. Your pre-race goals are set aside and you make peace with your pace, muttering your essential purpose under strained breath:

“I must keep going.”

Each runner will experience this moment at a different point along the road. This year, however, we have all hit the wall at precisely the same time. The past twelve months have felt like a sharp collective cramp, slowing us right down, leaving us all a little wobbly. We have all faced trials this year.

As roadmaps are drafted for the way ahead, some of us may be finding ourselves riddled with regret right now, particularly as we look back to how our commitment to Christ has played out since last March. Looking back to the good old days marked with miracle stories and an ease to keeping in step with the Spirit, some of us may be thinking to ourselves:

“I should have made more time. I should have put in more effort.”

We may be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love, yet oftentimes we allow impatience and striving to be the driving forces of our faith. We’re happy for grace to redeem us from sinning but don’t allow it to sustain us in our living. This is a contradiction of the Jesus way.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5

Our fruitfulness is a direct result of our abiding in Christ, not our strained efforts for Him. Through a delight in our identity and the working out of a rhythm based on rest first and output second, our roots will grow down beyond the topsoil of our performance and into the depths of the Christ-life, sustaining us over the long haul. For we are to be the kind of people who live with a patient endurance, a robust stability, a steady purpose, energised by the love of Christ.

As we read in James, and as we know from being human, trials reset our expectations away from what is expected in ordinary time and towards small, defining acts of devotion. In testing times, endurance, not performance, is what counts. As we persevere, our output levels may drop but vitally, we keep running, especially when we don’t feel like it.

You have hit the wall this year, but you’ve kept going. Through the one-sentence prayers, the meals you cooked and were willing to receive, the worship music you put on in the background as you homeschooled your children, the interruptions during services on your screens, reading lenten scriptures and choosing to carve out a few hurried minutes in Christ’s presence each day – in thousands of small, simple ways you have said yes to Jesus this year. It may not have been the performance that you wanted as your devotion to Jesus may have been more faithful than fruitful in the face of this trial.

That’s okay.

Your faith has been tested, perhaps more than at any other time. You’ve faced an unprecedented trial, a winter season without an abundance of fruit.

And yet, you’re still standing, for Christ is propping you up.

We still have a race to run, one that will last longer than this pandemic. The seasons will change; times of sprouting, budding and harvesting will come. As we navigate our way through the fog that comes from hitting the wall, let us remember that regret riddled religiosity will not sustain us. Only the unforced rhythms of grace can keep us going right to the end.

Discipleship is a lifelong journey, requiring unwavering obedience in the same direction. As we endure the final months of this trial, may we let perseverance finish its work, that we will be mature and complete in Christ, not lacking anything for the long road ahead of us.

Stuart Bothwell

Depending on which time of day you are practicing this office, you can use the morning or evening prayer. All to pray the following words aloud.

Morning Prayer 

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.


Northumbria Community


Evening Prayer 

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake.


Compline Prayer – Common Book of Prayer



If you are gathering with your family, wait a moment and listen for the voice of God. Prayerfully share any words, pictures, encouragements or scriptures with each other by the laying on of hands.

Whether you are by yourself, or in the company of others, take time to pray for others that the Holy Spirit brings to mind, blessing them in His name.


Close your time by singing or saying aloud the Doxology.

“Fight back the dark with doxology. Doxology can detox the day.”

Ann Voskamp

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Amen and Amen.

The Way of St. Benedict by Rowan Williams
This Hallelujah Banquet byEugene Peterson