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Our History... a two minute missive ...

 The seed of the Thought For Today came from the “Dial-A-Prayer” service – which had been a feature in the front of the White pages telephone directory up until the late 1980s.

I know people like to get a touch of something "Christian" from time to time – even if it is quietly when no one is peeking. Their quiet moments searching for some spiritual enhancement perhaps.

Kerry Robinson advocated for its return but discovered this was not in the plan of the White Pages. He managed to secure the logo associated with Dial A Prayer. Armed with that he then created a list of pertinent Bible verses and linked them to a comment. Each set was between 180 and 210 characters long so it would fit in an allocated space in a newspaper.

He also found one of the folk who initiated the original Dial A Prayer. So please allow me a paragraph or two to acknowledge the initiators. Pastor Ernie Steed and his mate, Pastor Walter Scragg, were pastors in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. They came up with the idea and approached the Postmaster General's department to make this service available via the phone lines.

 The only automatic talking service back then was "George" the talking clock. Remember this? "At the third stroke – it will be four, thirty-six and fifty seconds --- beep – beep - beep. At the third stroke etc."

To make a long story short – these blokes knew that would get a "NO", so they actually invented the machinery to deliver a "Dial-A-Prayer" and presented it to the PMG. These blokes didn’t come up with a whinge – they came up with a solution. That type of initiative is worth applause.

The last time Kerry spoke with Ernie he was in Florida trying to retire. He joked that he "wasn’t retired – he was retreaded." He was an older man then but still young in aspect and full of life. He was an inspiration to Kerry and all those who would listen. Kerry got his blessing for the revitalisation project and got to work.

Then what? Kerry got the Christian Business community and some supporters to fly, feed and rent him a room around Australia. In each city he visited the editor, shook

 their hand, sat eyeball to eyeball, shouted him or her a pub lunch when necessary, and showed how a “positive influence” was a good thing for their paper. Without exception they were impressed that the CEO was sent to meet with them. They all had their horror stories about idiot “Christians” but do not we all? They got a fair deal, were able to let off steam, Kerry got a fair hearing and the community got a positive influence. Everybody came out a winner.

The result? In 1996 the Dial-A-Prayer name was returned to the Seventh Day Adventist church but the activity of placing a positive influence in newspapers was moved into a tax exempt foundation; the “Thought For Today” foundation. In 1997 we had achieved 1,905,096 Scripture impacts each week in the newspapers of Australia. Since then the “Thought For Today” content is now being used Internationally and the number of weekly impacts has to be well into the millions.

The price? It’s free to you but someone somewhere pays. That’s why we ask folk to be supporters in some practical manner. There are no fancy heart breaking guilt tripping

 strategies for this. Just a bland ask. If you reckon this is worthwhile then send some PayPal funds, clean out your change drawer, write a cheque or trust us with a credit card via fax if need be. My ask? All I ever ask is that folk be part of the solution – because it’s better than whinging about the problem.

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Dial a Prayer TFT Logo

 PS: This is the original "Dial-A-Prayer" logo. Beside this is the “Thought For Today” logo. It features the interrobang, a printers mark from the 1940s. Yes – it was on typewriters of the day. ‘Tis a punctuation mark recognised by many editors and a part of the press heritage which I commend to budding journalists of all media. It is still around today. Font = Wingdings 2 “right square bracket”

PPS: I am an approachable CEO who sets time aside and enjoys a chat. I believe in the “common wisdom”. My skype ID is christianresource and I welcome your comments.

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