Tag Archives: Spring Harvest

Dark background, open hands

How to pray

This is my 3rd blog on prayer inspired by a recent trip to Spring Harvest. This is a Christian Conference in the UK where thousands of Christians get together for worship, learning and fellowship.

This year, I went to Minehead week 1 which means I was treated to bible teaching from Pete Greig – “best-selling author, pastor and bewildered instigator of the 24-7 prayer movement which has reached more than half the nations on earth.” I hope he won’t mind I am basing this blog on some simple tips he gave us because I think they’re so brilliant I want more people to know!

Keep it simple

I often struggle when speaking to my Lord and Saviour, I worry I’m not using the right language, that what I’m saying or how I’m saying it is good enough. We all use different language in different circumstances, for example at home with the kids verses out with the lads, that’s normal and natural. But the truth is, God knows me better than I know myself, he knows what language I use an he’s cool with it. If using fancy words is your bag, go for it; but for most people, it’s helpful to be clear and simple about what you want to say. Say sorry, say thank you and ask honestly for your prayers to be answered.

The prayer reads “Dear God, If I’m wrong, correct me. If I’m lost, guide me. If I start to give up, keep me going.” Set against a blue mountain background.

Keep it real

God knows what you’re going to say before you say it. That’s not a reason not to pray but I’m just saying we can’t keep secrets from him. But if he knows everything before we pray, why pray? God knows when you’re angry, when you’re grieving and when you’re worried but it’s up to you to enter into relationship with him, through prayer. If you’re angry, shout and scream; if you’re grieving cry, rant confusion, say what you need to say; if you’re worried tell God about it. There’s no point in pretending everything’s fine if it’s not.

Woman with mouth open wide, eyes tight shut, hands gripping the top of her head. She looks in agony, crying out to God.

Of course, if you’re experiencing joy, sing about that too!

Keep it up

This has always been the hardest one for me but developing a regular prayer life can be just like any habit. My prayer life has tended to be fairly informal and this has worked for me. If someone I know has needed specific prayer I’ve set time aside to do that but otherwise I’ve tended to chat to God while I’m driving or in the shower. This is fine but I think my relationship with God will benefit from regular prayer. Steve (my husband) and I have promised to pray with each other before bed every night. We have been wanting to do this for a long time but have found reasons not to – now is the season.

Quote read “When we put our problem in God’s hands, He puts His Peace in our hearts.” Against a pinky purple mountain backdrop

If you’re struggling to find a form of prayer that suits you, perhaps check out 10 radical ways to pray.Even if one of these isn’t for you, this might spark some ideas for something you might like to do!

Surviving a festival with a mental illness

I’ve come away, for the first time, to Spring Harvest (a Christian festival/conference) with my husband. I’m very fortunate, at the moment, to be mentally well but I’m always aware of how much my mental illness impacted my life, either stopping me enjoying things, or stopping me doing things altogether.
I’m not suggesting anyone will be able to strike out to the next festival mid crisis but when on the road to recovery, we need things to challenge us and this might be just the thing…I hope this blog will help someone think they could cope with coming away to Spring Harvest (or similar) even if they are still struggling. A Christian festival is fantastic place to find support, friendship and fellowship with people who could draw you closer to the ultimate healer.
I just have a few pointers on how to ensure you get the most out of it even when times are hard.

  1. Be prepared – If anxiety is a problem, predicting that every disaster that will happen will come as second nature but a few simple plans can reduce fears. Ensure you have confirmation emails ready and/or wrist bands etc. Ask people who’ve been before how to prepare/what to pack etc, phone or email the organisers, explain you’re concerns, they’ll be more than happy to help, they’ll want to put your mind at ease. 
  2. Pack something comforting – whether your favourite food, a teddy, a cosy jumper or your iPad, have something with you that reminds you of home and you can call on to if your having a wobble.
  3. Go with someone you know well – talk to them about any apprehension and ask them to watch out for signs you’re not coping. Let them know they do not necessarily need to look after you, as you can look after yourself but if they’re there for support, it’ll help.
  4. Don’t try and do everything – when you’re faced with a programme packed full of events it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and think you’ll miss out if you don’t go to everything and pack your time but the reality is, you cannot do everything and you’re there to enjoy yourself, you won’t if you’re dashing around! Take time to look at the planner, mark what you want to do so you don’t forget, then just do it.
  5. If you’ve come in a group you don’t have to do everything with them – being in a group can be reassuring so take advantage of that! But it can also be exhausting so make sure you do the things you want to do, on your own, or just with 1 friend. Be aware of what your character needs, when recovering from depression a good balance of time with people and time alone is important. 
  6. Make sure you have food plans – mental instability plus lack of physical energy is not a good combination, make sure you have plans for regular meals. This can be tricky and depends on the exact nature of the festival. At Spring Harvest, there is a great choice of self catering, buying meals on site or a half board dining package. If you have an eating disorder, self catering is often best but recovering I have found half board really helps as it’s helped me break unhelpful disordered habits (such as sticking to salads etc). 
  7. Plan relaxation time – if the weather’s nice, go for a walk or find a safe place and just spend some time sitting reading or having some “down time”. Don’t worry about missing out, what’s the point of sitting in a seminar if you’re not really listening or listening to a band if you’re mind’s elsewhere?! Take time to recharge.
  8. Make sure you take all you treatment – if you need medication, a week before you’re due to go, make sure you have enough so you have time to put a repeat prescription in. If you have therapeutic techniques you need to practice or worksheets you need to fill in, make sure you set aside time. You may be going on holiday but recovery is a full time occupation!
  9. Have a back up plan – make sure, if things get too much, you have a plan for what you will do, will you stay in the chalet? Want a friend to stay with you? Or will you need to have a way of getting home? Often, if we have a “get out plan” we don’t need it, just having it there is all the reassurance we need. 
  10. Remember why you’re there – if you’re struggling at a Christian festival, focus on God or ask for prayer; people willing to lend an ear or a hand in fellowship will not be in short supply! At a secular festival, focus on the music, remember loving music is part of what makes you you, mental illness does not have to define you.

So, if you’ve been to a festival before or you’re considering one for the first time, be bold. Put your mental illness, where it belongs, on one side. There are many to choose from. Spring Harvest have kicked off the 17:21 campaign, a scroll is visiting 22 festivals celebrating what unites us as Christians, including:

Give it a go!