hope at dawn

Sep 3, 2020

I have taken a little more time than usual in recent days for prayer and I know that many of you have as well. Perhaps you have been still and silent at the start or end of each day? Maybe you have found some moments as you work, walk or drive, times when your daydreaming fills your mind with concern for those you love and your worry easily forms into a prayer from the heart…

As I write I’m thinking about those I have heard about in the last day or two who are suffering and in need of prayer: a child M with unexplained seizures, N recovering from difficult surgery, a woman my age dealing with a Cancer diagnosis, a young man C struggling with mental health issues, a woman who has just received an unexpected terminal diagnosis… and many others who have asked me to remember them in prayer. Please join me in prayer for them, and let’s all offer a prayer today for the intentions of all who follow these Food For Faith posts.

(When I’m asked to pray it is easy to offer a quick and casual prayer – but I have found it more helpful to pray very intentionally one Our Father whenever someone asks me to pray for them. You might find such a specific prayer helpful too).

The anxiety we feel when our security is threatened (perhaps health, finance, work, family and friend relationships) can be overwhelming and totally pre-occupying. It is helpful to remember (as I quoted earlier this week) that the circumstances we find ourselves in are the reality in which Jesus is present and active with us.

It is natural to focus on the struggle we are enduring, but a desire to experience hope opens us to receiving the gift of renewed life which Jesus is offering us.

Sometimes feelings of uncertainty about our future fill us with anxiety. This anxiety is a most unwelcome feeling, but the fact that we feel this in the face of struggles is a sign that we are engaged with the reality, and in our tiredness and frustration, when we turn to Jesus full of need for a miracle, He will not miss the opportunity.

Today’s gospel reading is a great encouragement. The disciples are tired after a long and unsuccessful night fishing on the lake and at dawn they return to the shore where they meet Jesus.  Jesus says to them: “put out into deep water.” They were tired and probably sceptical, but they did as he requested and immediately their catch was abundant. The John August Swanson image above captures the colour and hope of the moment wonderfully.

Perhaps you feel as though you or someone you love is in the midst of a dark and uncertain night. There may be some signs of dawn, but the dark still seems more real. Jesus wants us to put out to the depths seeking the miracle we need.  As the ad says: let’s just do it! We have nothing to lose.


An Invitation:

  • Become aware of your need for a miracle today. Perhaps you have anxiety about your own health and future, or you might be worried about someone you love. While we can live superficially seeking to avoid the opportunity for growth in human and therefore faith maturity that is found in unwanted circumstances, perhaps Jesus is hoping to use the circumstances you find yourself in to lead you to greater maturity and intimacy with Him and with those you love?
  • As many of us continue these days as a retreat-in-daily-life, this simple morning and evening reflection might be helpful. Try it on waking in the morning before getting out of bed, or last thing at night after turning out the light.


  • Email john@fff.org.nz with your initials to join those taking these few days as a simple retreat-in-daily-life, and to invite others to keep you in prayer. Click the image to enlarge.



  1. Prayerfully +


  2. Thank you John. A great reflection.

  3. Good morning, I enjoyed todays FFF. Hope is helpful in these uncertain times and times of struggle. I hope and pray for those to see more signs of dawn. Jesus please seek those in need of your miracles. God Bless

  4. Good Morning Father John, Thank you for these morning reflections. I like to read them before my morning walk with my pooch as we wander along the river track; the reflections give me much food for thought and prayer. Jesus is my anchor. I know it is he who keeps me afloat in all these times of uncertainties. Julie

  5. Am dealing with a lot of anxiety at present- thanks Fr John for once again giving us such a helpful reflection

  6. Loved the John Swanson painting on this morning’s reflection. Our family are in LA so unable to visit currently.

    On our last visit the LA Cathedral had an exhibition of John Swanson’ s work. Fell in love with his work and hope to visit his studio in LA ( just looking! ) when we are free to travel again. Have his Daniel in the Lions’ den as a postcard on our fridge. I especially loved his painting of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, depicted as a modern city.

  7. John Swanson captures the moment beautifully from the childlike face on the Sun, the mryiad of colours blending fish into lake water, and the man on the left steadying the tiller. Can’t wait to see more of his work

  8. Amazing !
    Engaged in reality!
    Hope for a miracle!
    Watch attentively for the miracle . It comes !!

  9. What a great simple idea – I get asked a lot to pray for folk or offer to do so when they share stressful or frightening news. Feel bad when I forget. It’s a beautiful prayer aye?

  10. Thank you John – perfect words to give courage to try again tomorrow. Another chance to head out into the deep – where you are most aware of that anxiety – and then look for a miracle – I love it ! Thanks for providing the encouragement to set sail again.

    God Bless you !

  11. Our nets are full,we just need to pull it in to see the gifts
    we need help to pull the net in, so others can also SEE’
    our tired hearts


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