Recently we drove up to Edinburgh to visit our youngest son Simi and on the way we passed by the enormous sculpture, the ‘Angel of the North’. It stands on a hill overlooking Gateshead 20 metres tall with wings 54 metres across.

It is certainly imposing and takes your breath away – good job I was not driving!

The image became firmly implanted in my mind and made me start thinking about God being there to fight our battles.

Ephesians 6:10-11 says, ‘Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. This scripture talks about standing strong in God’s power and strength.

The main image of the ‘Angel of the North’ that I was dwelling on was of its colossal feet. It looked so strong just standing there; so how can we stand strong in God when everything seems to be going against us? Yes it’s easy to stand when life is going well, but what happens when we get day-to-day struggles (and we will!)?

I really believe the key to standing strong is prayer. Jesus says in Matthew 6:6, ‘But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’

Jesus did not say ‘dream about your Father’ or ‘let your mind wander’, but he said, ‘pray to your Father’. Prayer is an effort of the will. After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We sometimes have to fight our wandering thoughts, learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on deliberate prayer.

Jesus says to ‘close the door’. Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him. When we truly live in ‘the secret place’ we can stand strong and it is hard to doubt God. We become more sure of Him than of anyone else or anything else.

Enter into ‘the secret place’ and you will see God was right in the middle of your everyday circumstances all the time. Get into the habit of involving God in everything you do. Unless we learn to open the door of our lives completely, to let God in from our first waking moment of each new day, we will never stand strong. But if we swing the door of our lives fully open and pray to our Father, every public thing in our lives will be marked with the lasting imprint of God’s presence.

So who is up for standing strong today?!