UCB Articles

Praying for Breakthrough

Praying for Breakthrough

 

Prayer is essential to our life. It fuels our relationship and deepens our intimacy with our heavenly Father. Imagine not speaking to a loved one or close friend. Your relationship would lack intimacy and it is unlikely to last. Likewise, without prayer you cannot know God. Prayer is so important that the Bible encourages us to ‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Thankfully, this is not suggesting that we kneel with our heads bowed and eyes closed for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rather, it simply means that we should be conscious of God’s abiding presence with us daily; seek to live a life of absolute surrender to Him - expressed not only by our words but also by our thoughts and actions.

Jesus Himself showed us the importance of prayer. In several passages of Scripture (e.g. Matthew 26:36; Mark 1:35; Luke 9:18) it speaks of Him going to a secluded place to spend time in prayer to God. This is often referred to as private devotions. Private devotions involves the discipline of reading the Bible, praying and spending time alone with God. This discipline not only draws us closer to God but it also empowers us for public ministry. The Bible tells us that before Jesus began His public ministry, the Holy Spirt led Him into the wilderness; after He fasted for forty days, He returned in the power of the Holy Spirit. Through discipline in private devotions, we are effective in public ministry. One good example of this is Jesus’ prayer before raising Lazarus from the dead, in John 11:41-42. Jesus said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me’ (NKJV). This suggests that Jesus had already prayed privately to the Father and His prayer was heard. In other words, this was just His private prayer prayed publicly.

Without a life of prayer in private devotion, when we pray publicly we become like those Jesus speaks of in His sermon on the mount. He said, ‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full’ (Matthew 6:5 NIV). In this Scripture, Jesus was not speaking against praying publicly, as some have wrongly suggested; rather He was speaking against praying from a heart that only seeks to draw attention to oneself. Those who pray as such have already received their reward. Therefore, when praying publicly one must have the right attitude and motives; never for the sake of selfish reward but always for the glory of God.

Praying publicly can produce tremendous benefits to the individuals who participate and the cooperate church as a whole. When we come together in agreement through prayer, it brings unity and helps to build up and encourage one another. Whether you are in the same room as the other person or separated by thousands of miles, hearing others lift your life’s burdens to God can be a great source of encouragement. This is at the heart of UCB’s Prayer Breakthrough radio broadcast. It gives listeners the opportunity to access prayer support wherever they are. Listeners send in their prayer requests and praise reports using the various forms of digital media and the presenters, guests, and other staff agree in prayer for their breakthrough.

God has established the ministry of UCB to resource the church. Through the radio and other media platforms, UCB reaches hundreds of thousands of people every minute of the day, whether they are at home, ‘on the move’, or at work. With your support, UCB can continue to bring hope and freedom to people everywhere, every minute of the day.

 

Rev David Edwards is a full-time pastor at the New Testament Church of God in Crewe, and provides pastoral support to academic staff and students at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire campus. He is also one of UCB’s trustees, helping to support and guide the direction of UCB’s ministry.

Why not join us for our next Prayer Breakthrough – tune in to UCB 2 on 7th June.

Refreshed for reality - Paul Harcourt

Refreshed for reality

 

Why is it that life’s highs are so often followed by the deepest lows? After the Transfiguration in Matthew 17, when some of the disciples saw Jesus revealed in glory, they came back down from the mountaintop to find a crowd gathered round a desperate father and an afflicted young boy. At the heart of the crowd were their fellow disciples, who had been trying and failing to deliver that poor boy from demons. Not only is that a familiar Bible story, it’s a familiar experience for many of us…

Perhaps you’ll be attending a Christian conference or celebration in the coming months. These can be wonderful times of celebration, refreshment, encouragement, and renewal. If you’re like me, you’ll probably leave those encounters with a renewed excitement about your faith and a fresh desire to tell others about Jesus. You might even wistfully feel that you wish it could last forever!  Being with other believers, focusing significant time on your spiritual life, enjoying great worship, teaching and fellowship… it can be like living in a little bubble of blessing, even something of a taste of heaven on earth. But so often, it’s back down to earth with a bump on the next day. We come back home to all the problems and difficulties that we left behind, and nothing’s changed. Perhaps your year-round experience of the Church doesn’t compare well to the conference. ‘Why can’t it be like it was there? Why can’t life be easier, people nicer…? I was feeling so close to God, now where has that feeling gone…?’

The truth is that conferences and events aren’t the real thing. They are, by definition, the gathering of the like-minded. God’s plan for His Church, however, is that we are on mission, engaged in people who are far from Him, who don’t share our faith but need to encounter Him in us. Conferences and events are never meant to be opportunities to escape from the everyday world, they are meant to equip us to transform it when we return. In the movement of which I’m a part, New Wine, we have a saying:  ‘The meeting place is the training place for the marketplace’.  Every time the Church gathers, even on Sundays in our local churches, what God wants to do is heal us, encourage and equip us, so that we are recommissioned to reach the world.

So how can we make our conference experiences last, rather than simply being an annual ‘recharging of the battery’, inevitably fading as the year goes on? Firstly, remember that, as wonderful as the encounter is, the purpose is always that we pour out to others what we receive from God. Don’t leave your context behind when you go to an event – take it with you, metaphorically, asking God to help you see how what you’re hearing relates to the life He’s called you to throughout the year. Secondly, share what you learn with other Christians on your return. Putting into practice and passing on what we receive helps us remember and more deeply understand it. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, find ways to keep the fire alive by plugging into a network or seeking out local events where you can experience the same sort of ministry. What excites us at the conference shows us what’s possible… and Jesus never changes!

 

Paul Harcourt is National Leader of New Wine England, a network of leaders and churches that exists to see the nation changed through the renewal of the local church. To discover more about New Wine’s network, events and resources check out www.new-wine.org. He has written two books about discipleship and the spiritual life, Growing in Circles and (with his wife Becky) Walking on Water.

Meet: Sarah Hine

Meet: Sarah Hine

 

We caught up with Sarah, one of our newest presenters at UCB, to find out a bit more about her and her work.

 

What’s your favourite thing about being a radio presenter?

I have a great team that I get to work with, so coming into work each day is always fun! Being a radio presenter at UCB is amazing because I get to hear stories of how God has helped people or changed their lives through the radio or the devotionals.

What can we hear in The Monday Mix show?

A massive variety of great quality music from Christian artists and also undiscovered artists with original Christian music. But as much as I love the music that is played in the hour, it’s not just about me and what I like to hear. It’s also about whoever is listening and what they love to hear, because there are no limits in terms of the sound. So one song could be a country sound and the next could be a dance remix.

How do you spend time with God?

I’m a musician and worshipper at heart, so for me, creating music and singing is how I love to praise God. But quiet times are really important and I need to make sure I have no distractions.

 

You can hear Sarah on UCB 1 every weekday evening from 7pm-10pm, The Monday Mix on Monday evenings at 10pm and on Sundays 5pm-8pm. Listen on DAB radio or via the UCB Player app.

Worship: Matt Redman

Worship: Matt Redman

 

As summer approaches, many of us are preparing to head off to events and festivals to experience amazing times of fellowship and worship. Paul Hammond caught up with worship leader Matt Redman at last year’s JustOne event to ask him about his heart for worship, and why it’s so important.

 

Paul: What sort of place does worship have in an evangelistic event?

Matt: I think evangelism and worship are inherently about the same thing: about all eyes on God, and about proclaiming who He is. If you think about it, they’re very linked, because the ultimate goal of evangelism is worship. The idea of evangelism is to make more worshippers. I love songs that are based on truth. They’re not only a way of speaking to God and responding to the truth that He is, but at the same time you’re announcing His truth to anyone else who’ll listen.

Paul: I suppose that was the same for some of the old hymns and hymn writers. The doctrinal truths in them weren’t written as a theological exercise, they were to communicate the truth.

Matt: The Psalms say ‘let the afflicted hear and rejoice’ (Psalm 34:2 NIV). In other words, there’s a window here. You can see something of the heart of God, the power of God, and the love of God through these songs.

Paul: In your book 10,000 Reasons, you talk about how, growing up, you found refuge in worship. For people who’ve got no real ability to express their faith or their worship, maybe not even sure what they believe, is there an opportunity in worship to find that sort of refuge?

Matt: Yes, I think so. I think the very best worship connects with the truth of God, but also connects with the heart of God. I want these songs to be songs of hope. I think it’s one of the distinguishing marks of the church - it’s what we should be in those moments like Grenfell, the terrorist attacks that have been going on, the shocking news stories, or something in someone’s individual life. A song has a beautiful way of getting beneath the surface and getting very deep into people. I believe that songs that are full of the truth and the heart of God can take hope and peace very deep into someone’s life. Where else are you going to find hope? Where else are you going to find true, everlasting, profound peace? We know we’ve got that, and songs are a great way of announcing and amplifying that to other people. We try and write some songs that you can join in even if you’re not fully subscribed to everything I believe. It’s a way of trying to invite people in, and I’m hoping that these songs might take people to some of those other hymns.

Paul: How do we make worship as real in our local church, even if we haven’t got the resources of an event like JustOne?

To me, that’s the beauty of it. I’ve sung 10,000 Reasons in the Albert Hall with a 60-piece orchestra and 400-voice choir. I’ve sung it in a room, on acoustic guitar, with someone in the later stages of cancer, in the last week of their life here on earth. Big and bold doesn’t have to mean it’s more profound. The quality might not be the same, but I’m sure the heart can be the same. I’m sure there’s something beautiful about that moment that’s not going to happen today, and something beautiful about this moment today that may not happen in any church on Sunday.

 

Matt Redman is one of the artists appearing at Big Church Day Out this summer. Head over to bigchurchdayout.co.uk to find out more. If you can’t make it this year, don’t worry – tune into UCB 1 or UCB 2 to hear great music from many of the artists who’ll be there this year.

Call of God

Call of God

Ever wondered how we discover our calling? We asked Chris Fox to explore this question, and asked him how our desires can show us what our purpose may be.

 

I’m often asked by the young adults that I work with on the New Wine Discipleship Year, ‘What does God want me to do with my life?’ This is a question about our calling. Sometimes we can hope that God might download a plan for our life that we’ve just got to make happen. But I don’t think that’s how God works with us. God doesn’t just give us a plan. Catherine of Siena famously said, ‘Become who you were born to be and set the world on fire.’ God calls us into relationship and invites us to join with Him in seeing his kingdom come on Earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus called the 12 disciples to be with Him (that’s relationship) and to go out and do the things that He was doing (that’s calling). Our calling always comes out of our relationship with God. And it’s from this place of relationship, spending time in God’s presence in prayer, that we discover the call of God on our lives. God speaks to us as we seek Him. The most important question we can ask ourselves is this: how is your walk with God? Are you spending time with Him?

Our calling comes as we get the heart of God for people or a place. We get something of the heart of God for our school, university, workplace, family and community as we pray for God’s kingdom to come there. Our calling doesn’t come from a good idea, or a chance to be successful, or even a suggestion from others. It comes from a place of prayer, worship, fasting and encounter with Jesus. What or who does your heart break for? Who do you pray for most often? These things can point us to our calling.

We can be ‘called’ by God to do all sorts of things - our gifts, desires and circumstances can be great signposts to our calling. In the Bible, we see Joseph called to manage crops and food in order to save a region from famine. Daniel is called to give wise advice to kings and rulers. Nehemiah is called to oversee the rebuilding of a city. Depending on our gifts, skills and qualifications, we might be called into industry, education, creative arts or to community development. Wherever we are sent and whatever we are called to, it will involve praying for and seeking to live out something of the kingdom of God.

The greatest challenge to living out our calling is not struggling to know what it is - God will show us if we are willing to listen and live it out. However, when God calls us we often have to overcome our fear. Overcoming fear doesn’t require more courage, it requires more love. It isn’t courage that sends us into a burning building to rescue someone – it’s love. Love enables us to live out our calling in the face of our fears. John tells us that perfect love casts out all fear.

We all have a calling - firstly to be in relationship with Jesus, and from there to bring something of His presence and life into the world. As we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness we’ll discover the call of God on our lives.

 

Chris Fox is the Associate Pastor at St Paul’s Ealing, and oversees the New Wine Discipleship Year for 18-24s. You can find out more about the year at new-wine.org.

God intended it for good...

God intended it for good

Word For You reader Becky decided to have a go at the What Now? from a reading on God’s goodness. The What Now? was: ‘Think of a time when you felt you were being tested but saw God’s goodness in the end. Now write it down and share it with someone.’ She shared what she had written on one of our social media pages.  We asked Becky to tell us more of her story.

For me, school isn’t filled with wonderful memories and good times. I was severely bullied at primary school, which led to me developing anxiety and depression. I spent many years crippled with fear over walking through the school gates. I would spend night after night watching children’s movies with my parents, so I didn’t have to think about school. It was the hardest time of my life, and this filtered into the rest of my education.

As a child, I didn’t see or understand why I was going through what felt like the end of the world. I struggled to understand why I was suffering so much. I didn’t really notice then that God was with me in all those dark hours, and the many that came through high school as I was dealing with the fallout from my early years.

Until one day, when I was nearly 18.

I had become close with a friend at school, and she told me about her struggles with self-harm. It was hard, knowing someone so close to me had been battling so much alone, and was taking it out on her body.

We started talking about our lives and I suddenly realised just how protected I had been. I had spent years being followed into toilets, not eating around others, and being excluded. And yet I still was standing, without any marks on my skin and without ever having contemplated suicide. I had been at the lowest point in my life, suffering from anxiety disorder and depression, yet God had protected me.  

I know of too many people who have lost their lives, or who are dealing with self-harm, because of the way people treat them. I was blessed to have been shielded from a way out that could have led to so much more pain. Realising this helped me put my life into perspective. I know that God has been with me, that He has been good to me. The bullying I faced taught me compassion. It taught me strength.

I now have a degree in Educational Psychology and I have worked with young people across many platforms. I am also now studying theology at Spurgeon’s College to continue and expand the work I can do with young people. The experiences I had through the years of bullying have enabled me to be the person I am today and to begin doing youth work.

This is a tiny bit of my story. Looking back, sometimes I can’t believe I’m here without a mark on my body. Bullying is life-changing and can become life-taking. I know how blessed I am to be here without getting involved in self-harm, to not have faced suicidal thoughts. I was lucky to have grown up without social media’s influence and without the bullying following me home through texts, videos, social media, etc. God’s goodness can be seen because He carried me through. It wasn’t just so I didn’t have to face those things, but also to encourage me to work with others who are facing it, to help them, and to show them that there are ways out without harming yourself or losing your life.

God blessed me, not just in protecting me from harming myself but also in leading me to work with young people. God blessed me with a wonderful Christian family and a church family who never stopped praying for me. God is truly wonderful! It isn’t always easy, and it certainly wasn’t a smooth journey to get to the place I am today. But even in the tests we face in life, God is there and His goodness will always triumph over all. ‘You intended to harm me but God intended it for good’ (Genesis 50:20 NIV).  

 

We love to hear your stories. So if you’ve been encouraged by a particular reading, had a go at a What Now?, or have a story of how God’s been at work in your life, get in touch! Just email publishing@ucb.co.uk.

How to Pray

How to Pray

 

Prayer is an important part of Christian life, but when we’re new to it (or even if we’re not), we can struggle to know how to pray. We asked Kamala-Jane from trypraying to share some advice on how to talk to God.

 

Back in 1983, before the internet and smart phones, I was given a digital watch for my birthday. I loved that watch and wore it all the time. Then one day, I pressed the buttons – and instead of the clock, I accessed a new screen – kind of like a TV screen. The more I pressed the buttons, the further I could go, screen by screen. It was an amazing feeling ­– a whole new world, opening up in front of my eyes. And then I woke up. It was all a dream! I was so disappointed. It was obvious that even as an 8- year-old I dreamt of going beyond my own little world.

This is why we love the internet: endless worlds to explore, people to connect with – something outside of our own reality. It’s very powerful, but it will never be fully satisfying – for one simple reason. The reason is that the hunger inside of us is actually a hunger for God. He is the only one who can properly satisfy that hunger in our hearts. One of the best ways that we can get closer to God is by praying.

You can pray to Him at any time, in any place, about anything. Praying is easy, but like any relationship, it takes a bit of time and a bit of effort.

 

1. Log-in

Starting a new account can be a pain – you have to get logged-in. The Bible says ‘come near to God, and he will come near to you’ (James 4:8 NIV). Don’t put off getting started. Talk to God. Use your own words, or you could try praying something like this: ‘God if you’re there and I’m not sure you are, but if you are I want to know you, I don’t want to fool myself, I really want to know you.’

 

2. Create your own content

Some people want to follow what others are doing online, but never participate themselves. When you pray, you need to join in and say something – talk about your big issue –   like what, or who, is on your mind. Jesus taught his followers – don’t show off about praying, go into your room and close the door – and talk to your Father in heaven: He’s listening.

 

3. Be prepared to receive content

God answers our prayers – but not always in the way we expect or want. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no and sometimes not yet. But whatever the answer is, God speaks to us all the time – into our hearts and minds. Sometimes He uses the words of another person, or the words in the Bible, or a moment in a movie, or a beautiful view – God can talk through all kinds of things.

 

4. Share it

When you pray it means you’re starting to spend more time with the God who made you. The more time you spend with Him, the more you will become the person you were truly meant to be. You will share the love of Jesus with others without even realising it…

 

For more info on how to pray, go to trypraying.co.uk and download the free app, or order a free booklet.

Throughout the year, UCB Radio holds Prayer Breakthrough days. They’re an opportunity for people to get in touch and share their prayer requests and for us to pray for each other. Why not join us for the next one – tune in to UCB 2 on 7th June.

Trusting God For Healing

I thought I had the regular flu, so I took flu medication and hoped everything would be okay. Four days passed and I was not getting better. I was weak, bed-bound and unable to eat much. It felt like my whole body was on fire - every part of me was hurting. I drank some water because I was hardly drinking or eating and I felt thirsty. After drinking the water, I began vomiting all over my bed. So my parents took me to A&E. Thankfully, even though it was busy, they attended to me quite quickly and started the procedure of finding out what was wrong.

I lay on the bed and thought ‘not again’, because I had a similar episode five years ago, where I was hospitalised for eight days after having severe body pains and several other symptoms. The doctors couldn’t diagnose what was wrong with me then. Fear crept in and I started thinking, ‘What if they cannot diagnose me again?’ I was upset and wondered why God would allow this to happen again when He knew how horrible the last experience was.

As I stayed in hospital, my symptoms got worse. My legs were swollen from my knees down to my feet. It was painful and I couldn’t walk unless I had some form of support, like using the IV drip stand or a walking frame. All I could think was ‘Why?’ I was low in spirit, but my mother told me to be positive and believe God for healing. She was right – just because I was unwell, I shouldn’t give up and lose all my faith and hope in God.

I remembered the last time I was at hospital, my uncle suggested I should drink blackcurrant juice, but imagine it was the blood of Jesus and take it in faith as communion any time I felt ill. I was desperate to leave hospital and get better, so in faith on my hospital bed, I poured the blackcurrant juice into a cup, prayed over it, and drank it in faith as Jesus commanded us to take Holy Communion. I declared in faith that tomorrow when I woke up, I would be able to walk on my feet without any support.

I woke up in the night and needed to go to the toilet. I swung my feet to the ground and tried to stand up. I began taking some steps and my legs felt better. I continued walking to the toilet and the elderly lady in the bay opposite me was looking at me in amazement that I was walking without any support. I had peace in my heart, like a confirmation from God that He’d answered my prayers and the blood of our saviour Jesus Christ was making me whole. I listened to worship music and praised God for His healing power and faithfulness, for hearing my cry and coming to my rescue.

From this point, I had confidence in God that I would get better. I declared to my parents, ‘I know God will allow me to be discharged today.’ I began repacking my hospital bag and waited in expectation. They discharged me that evening. I was overjoyed; I realised how my small faith in God had brought results. I felt much better and my faith had been made stronger.

Since then, I have gone back for routine checks and the doctors are trying to confirm a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease. I am currently taking medication. I was devastated at first, but I am now confident that God will heal me completely.

I was led by the Holy Spirit to say a Scripture in faith as I take the daily medication. I say Jeremiah 17:14: ‘Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise’ (NIV). I am trusting and believing God for healing. I hope I’ll be able to testify about His healing power and goodness again soon. It’s not been easy, but God’s been with me every step of the way. Even when I feel like nothing is happening, I know He’s working in the background.

Painting of Jesus

God's Extravagant Love

The Bible tells us that God is love. So when we’re in God’s presence, we’re in the presence of love. His love for us is unchanging, never failing, unconditional. We’re told that God lavishes His love on us. ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3:1 NIV). And His love shapes who we are, and how we act. It helps us to love others, just as we’re called to do. ‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love’ (1 John 4:8 NIV).

In 1 Corinthians 13, we’re called to ‘love extravagantly’ (MSG), and that can seem like a pretty big challenge. Some people seem to be hard to love at all, let alone extravagantly. We can feel like we don’t want to go above and beyond in our love for others. We don’t want to make sacrifices and put others first. We struggle to forgive and we struggle to be patient. We lack grace and gentleness in our relationships. But we’re called to love everyone. And when we experience and begin to understand God’s incredible, unchanging love for us, we can’t help but share that love with others.

When we think about it, God’s love is extravagant. It doesn’t change, no matter what we do. It’s always there. But it goes beyond that. God’s shown us the ultimate act of extravagant love. 

‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.’

(1 John 3:16 NIV)

God loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son to save us all. Jesus took our place on the cross. He took our sin, and all the sin that’s to come. And because of that, we’re reunited with God. We can have a relationship with Him. We can have a relationship with love. It takes a while to get your head around that. We’re loved so much that Jesus would die for us. God desperately wanted to save you, me, all of us.

We can get so caught up in everyday life, the busyness, the deadlines, the serving, the socialising, that we barely stop and remember that incredible sacrifice. But when we take a minute, whether it’s over this Eastertime or in the middle of a random day, to pause and consider that sacrifice and how it’s saved us, it can take our breath away. We realise how loved we are. We realise how much God wanted us to be part of His plan. We realise how amazing God’s love is. And we’re refuelled to share that love with others. Not just love; God’s extravagant love.

April Shipton

God Always Wins

April Shipton is a Christian singer/songwriter (you can hear some of her music on UCB 1). She recently visited us here at UCB and shared the story of her struggle with anorexia and the hope she found in Jesus, and how that led her to discover her passion for leading others in worship.

I was so blessed to have Christian parents and a Christian upbringing, but when I went to college, I was struggling with a tricky relationship with my mum, which triggered a lot of anger and rebellion. I never lost my faith, and I’m grateful to God for that, but I really went off His path and started trying to control things myself. I think I allowed the devil a foothold, if I’m honest.

At college, I tried to be perfect and beautiful, and to be the girl everyone wanted to be. I don’t think that magazines or the media were affecting me, I didn’t want to look like someone in a magazine. But I think the effect that those role models had on my friends did impact me. I wanted to change, and so I just decided to stop eating. I thought I was doing this brilliant idea to lose weight. I thought ‘Why has no one else thought of this? This is amazing!’

It wasn’t until someone told me what I was doing was called anorexia that I realised it was wrong. They told me, ‘This is an illness. You’re ill, April.’ Then things like depression started to seep in, because once the devil’s got an inch, he takes a mile. When I first realised I had an illness, I was disappointed because I thought I was doing something special and unique to me – something no one else knew about and that I had complete control over. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. By the time I realised that I was, anorexia had become my way of feeling acceptable and coping with the turmoil at home, and I didn’t want to let go of it.

I became more isolated, as I kept thinking I wasn’t good enough, and I suddenly found it exhausting to be energetic and social. But anorexia doesn’t fix those thoughts. It makes you feel worse about yourself. An increasing dissatisfaction with my appearance was growing alongside this new isolation and lack of energy, and gradually I found myself in a really dark place of anorexia and depression. But God had other plans. It was at that time that someone prayed for me in the name of Jesus, and it was the prayer that broke through. That day marked the change of my life.

The next day everything was different. I was eating anything I wanted to. I was drinking anything I wanted to. That very first morning after I was prayed for, I went to a vending machine to get a drink. Up until that point I would only ever have zero calorie drinks, so my options were diet drinks or water. But that day I just fancied a Fanta, so I just put my money in and had one. I always say it was the most significant Fanta of my life, because it marked this change.

My faith and understanding of Jesus has developed so much since those dark days. The experience of healing through His powerful, matchless name has shaped my view of life, spiritual stuff, everything. Two years later, God started calling me.

Everywhere I looked, the same words started bombarding me: ‘talents’ and ‘passions’. God was asking me so clearly, ‘April, are you using your talents and passions?’ And I wasn’t. So I had to go and explore: ‘What am I good at? What do I love?’ After a long time searching and coming to terms with it, I realised it was singing. Then I had to face a lot of self-rejection and self-condemnation, as we do when we say to ourselves, ‘Am I good enough with this?’ But if God says you are, then you’re good enough, and He can do the rest.

Submitting my music to UCB was terrifying, to be honest! The theme of a lot of my songs on the UCB playlist at the moment is not feeling good enough, but just going for it anyway, because when God tells you to go, you have to get up and go. You know when it’s a call on you, and you can’t shift it. You just have to roll with it. UCB was already a family to me, and I knew that was the next step. I had to just submit it and do it.

The story of my life is: Jesus saved me. He saved my life. When I had anorexia, I know it wanted to destroy me, but Jesus overcame it.

As a Christian, you often don’t think things can get you like that, but anorexia did get me. When you find yourself in a battle, know that God is on your side. And if God is for you, who on earth can be against you? God always wins.