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Modern-day miracles to build faith and celebrate answers to prayer

This article was published in the May to August 2024 edition of Rapport magazine.

Joanna, please tell us about yourself and your links with Lee Abbey.

I am a writer and itinerant speaker based in Oxfordshire. I love strong coffee, good books and long walks, preferably with family or friends.

My parents met at Lee Abbey in the late 1960s. Dad had returned to the UK from Bangladesh – where he worked for the British Council – via an epic 14,000-mile overland adventure in a Morris Traveller. Mum was a primary school teacher in Kent. They ‘just happened’ to holiday the same week at Lee Abbey – and the rest, as they say, is history! Lee Abbey is a special place for us.

What inspired you to write Light Through the Cracks: How God Breaks in When Life Turns Tough?

Well, I could be dead: my spine was fractured in two places when the car I travelled in plunged 50 metres off a mountain road.

God saved my life! That car accident is one of ten true stories in my book. Others include instant physical healings and cash appearing from nowhere to keep a church open. All the stories reveal how God has broken into some dark, difficult situations, bringing his ‘light through the cracks’, and I had three reasons for writing a book.

Firstly, to generate faith for miracles: we need to know that God is still in the miracle business in the UK, in the twenty-first century. We need an antidote to all the negativity in the news, inspiration for what is possible through prayer in the name of Jesus and encouragement to be bold in asking God for breakthrough.

Secondly, to celebrate what God has done: these days we quickly forget things and move on. When God performed miracles in the Bible, people built piles of stones and gave places new names; we too, need to remember and celebrate.

Thirdly, to activate an invitation to write: three Christians spoke prophetically into my life in quick succession with a consistent message: write down my story and those other stories because God would use them to impact many people. I don’t sanitise or sugar-coat anything; not all endings are happy – they are raw, real and messy. But God showed up for each of us when we were praying in utter desperation.

What will ‘Ordinary people; extraordinary God’ cover at Lee Abbey?

I am passionate about equipping and empowering people to find, stretch and strengthen their faith in Jesus, so they play their part in bringing God’s kingdom on earth.

We are all ordinary but our extraordinary God is at work spiritually and physically, doing things that defy the laws of science and nature, transforming life’s hardships with healing, provision, protection and resurrection.

When tough times come, do we hope for miracles, persevere in prayer and find God in the midst of the mess? I will look at how we can encounter God, listen to him, remove potential blockages to answered prayer, wage spiritual warfare and glorify God.

Explore further with Joanna at Lee Abbey Devon

Ordinary people, extraordinary God
with Joanna Watson
20-24 May 2024 (Mon-Fri)

When tough times come, how do we respond? How do we hold out in hope for miracles? How do we persevere in prayer? Where is God in the midst of the mess? Through faith-raising real-life stories and Bible-based teaching, this week will unpack how ordinary people can encounter God in extraordinary ways, even in the toughest of times. Together we will look at how we can lean in and listen to God’s voice, remove potential blockages to prayers being answered, wage warfare in the spiritual realm and glorify God whatever the outcome.

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