In his second reflection encouraging hope, Archbishop Stephen recites the poem 'In the Hands of God' by Frances Ridley Havergal.

You can read the full transcript of the reflection below.

Today we're not just thinking about hope for ourselves but hope for those we love, and I want to read you this beautiful poem by Frances Ridley Havergal - her dad was a priest, her brother was a priest,, and she wrote the words of 'Take my life and let it be' - that famous hymn. But she also wrote a lot of poems. She was only 42 when she died in 1879, but this poem is about placing yourself, amazingly, right in the hand of God, and at the same time as we hear this poem, we can place those we love right in the hands of God.

"They say there is a hollow, safe and still, a point of coolness and repose within the centre of a flame, where life might dwell unharmed and unconsumed, as in a luminous shell. Which the bright walls of fire enclose in breachless splendour, barrier that no foes, could pass at will. There is a point of rest at the great centre of the cyclone's force, a silence at its secret source;- a little child might slumber undistressed, without the ruffle of one fairy curl, in that strange central calm amid the mighty whirl. So in the centre of these thoughts of God, cyclones of power, consuming glory-fire,- as we fall o'erawed upon our faces, and are lifted higher by His great gentleness, and carried nigher than unredeemed angels, till we stand even in the hollow of His hand,- nay more! we lean upon His breast. There, there, we find a point of perfect rest and glorious safety. There we see His thoughts to us-ward, thoughts of peace that stoop to tenderest love; that still increase with increase of our need; that never change, that never fail, or falter, or forget. O pity infinite! O royal mercy free! O gentle climax of the depth and height of God's most precious thoughts, most wonderful, most strange! 'For I am poor and needy, yet the Lord Himself, thinketh on me!'"

Oh what a beautiful poem. What a beautiful poem, that at the centre of the storm there is a stillness and a silence. And, in the centre of God's heart there is a place for us and a place for those we love. Let us place ourselves, and those we love, in the hands of God.

And if you'd like me, and colleagues here at Bishopthorpe, my dear friends the Sisters of Whitby, to pray for you or those you love, please write in to us and we will find hope together in this new year.


Anyone who wishes a prayer to be said for themselves or others, can send this in to Bishopthorpe Palace, where the Archbishop will pray, with support from The Order of the Holy Paraclete at Whitby.  

If you would like to send in a prayer request, please complete the online request here. You can also email: [email protected] putting ‘Prayer request’ in the subject line.

If you would like to write your request for prayer, please post to: Prayers, Office of the Archbishop of York, Bishopthorpe Palace, Bishopthorpe, York YO23 2GE.  

Please be aware that names may be shared with the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete in Whitby and that personal responses may not be possible.

Other prayer requests can be submitted anytime here

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