Wednesday, 13 March 2013


It’s always fun to throw an archaic ‘turn of phrase’ into a conversation. One of the ones I commonly use is ‘hoisted by your own petard.’

Now I’ll be honest, I knew what this expression meant - namely, to be injured by the device with which you intended to injure others - but I had forgotten the origin.

A quick study revealed that ‘petard’ is a word of French origin meaning a squat, bell-shaped cannon (contained within a cubical box) that blew holes in the walls of enemy forts.

These boxed cannons were full of gunpowder. This meant two things. First, they were basically portable bombs. Secondly, they could explode in the faces of those using them.

As an amusing side note, the word ‘petard’ undoubtedly has some connection with the French verb ‘peter’, meaning to break wind. 

I’ll leave you to develop that thought!

Evidently the great William Shakespeare knew about these devices and their unfortunate and occasional tendency to blow up, propelling their inventors into the sky.

In his play Hamlet we read, ‘for tis the sport to have the engineer Hoist with his owne petar.’

In this instance, the ‘engineer’ was the person with the job of constructing the machines of war.

So the Bard is effectively saying, ‘what fun it is to see an engineer blown up into the air by his own weapon.’

Now why am I telling you all this? It’s because I have had this kind of experience - metaphorically speaking (obviously) - in relation to one of my own books.

Many of you reading this blog will know of my moral fall and the life that I was living up until recently when the Holy Spirit brought conviction.

I will say nothing more on that than I have written in my statement (

What I will say is that the ways in which that conviction came are truly profound - so much so that I am writing about it in a small book called ‘Songs from the Far Country’.

Let me relate one of the most significant moments.

My oldest friend was reading through Every Day with the Father as part of his daily devotions. He had got to Day 355 where I write about Jesus’ restoration of Peter in John 21.

He quoted what I wrote (way before my own moral failure):

‘Jesus is going to make Peter confront his failure, not in order to destroy or humiliate him but in order to heal and liberate him.’

He added another quote that he liked:

‘The call is bigger than the fall. We all fall from time to time as we follow Jesus. But our Father is the God of the second chance.’

My friend didn’t add anything else except the assurance that he would always be my friend, that he was praying for me and that he loved me dearly.

Looking back now, I can say with sincerity that reading my own words - now directed at me personally - had a very deep effect on my heart.

Only the Holy Spirit knows the extent to which this message - along with other factors - brought an awakening to me in the Far Country.

But I can say this, reading my own words, intended to bring healing and hope to others, was like being blown into the air by my own explosive.

In short, I was hoisted by my own petard.

One of my favourite verses in the Bible is in 2 Samuel 14.14, which says that God devises many ways to bring a lost or estranged person home.

The ways he calls out to us in the Far Country are truly marvelous, mysterious and miraculous.

If you know someone who’s in the Far Country right now, keep praying for them.

Please do not give up.

As Zackary Coke (great name!) said in 1654:

‘The prayers of the saints will ascend and petar an entrance through the portcullis of heaven.’

Keep going and blow a hole in the enemy’s stronghold over your friend’s life.

Prayer is truly dangerous!

If you are in the Far Country yourself, please consider saying this prayer.

It is the prayer I wrote at the end of Day 355 in Every Day with the Father.

It is the prayer that my oldest, dearest friend quoted back at me at the end of the email I mentioned, when I found myself blown into the air by one of my own creations!

‘Dear loving, heavenly Abba Father, I thank you so much that the call is bigger than the fall. Help me to accept your process of healing and restoration in those areas where I have failed you. Keep me in alignment with the call and destiny upon my life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.’


  1. great stuff and looking forward to how the Lord uses you in the future Mark :)

  2. Thanks so much for the encouragement Aaron. Much appreciated

  3. High 5 bro! Just love your encouraging blogs.