Thought of the Week - 5th May 2021
Pre read: Philippians 4:6-7
This week we begin an occasional series on Prayer, taken from Church House Publishing book ‘Prayer: Where to Start and How to Keep Going’, by Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York.
WHAT IS PRAYER AND HOW DO I START?
‘God calls out to every human heart and longs to make a home in every human heart. But God waits for us to respond.’
‘Your wanting to pray is the beginning of a relationship with God that can grow and grow. It can start anywhere. Don’t worry if you find it difficult. It doesn’t depend on you as much as you think.
There is a paradox to prayer. It is all about the gift of God and God praying in us, but it also has to be an act of human will. God calls out to every human heart and longs to make a home in every human heart. But God waits for us to respond. When we do, it is God’s delight to come to us and sing his song within us. Our voice – however faint and unsure of the tune – is joined to the song of the Spirit.
My own working definition of prayer is this: Prayer is the lover coming into the presence of the beloved and saying, “I love you.”
This is an entirely different way of thinking about prayer. It is not about what we “put in” or “get out” but focuses entirely on God.
God is the great lover. We are God’s beloved. God is constantly coming into our presence to say that he loves us. Most of the time, we probably won’t be aware of this, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t there. We aren’t usually aware of the air we breathe. But we keep on breathing.
It has been said that prayer is as natural as a flower opening its petals to the sun. But it can also be the hardest. There will be dark and difficult times when prayer feels impossible. It requires discipline as well as desire.
Because it is relationship, it is about letting go and allowing someone else to be at the centre of your life. I am not a Christian because I know lots of things about God, but because I know God. This relationship, which God has initiated through his love, is one we enter freely. God will never force his way into our lives. But the great paradox of this relationship is that when we put Jesus at the centre of our life, he puts us at the centre of his.
Like all relationships, it needs to be worked at. And it is through prayer that our relationship with God is nurtured and sustained.
There is no right way, or place or posture for praying. Just the way that is right for you. Feeling comfortable is vital. You don’t have to kneel down. Sitting in an easy chair or lying on the floor is just as good. Don’t worry that your words won’t be good enough. Even if you find you find you have no words, offer God your thoughts, even your distractions and anxieties. Give him the time you have set aside.’
Please pray for
- For godly wisdom for all those elected to serve their communities in the local elections
- For the nation of India, and nations like them, overwhelmed by Coronavirus
For the the sick; especially Nicholas Roynon (praying too for Patsy and Nicholas's family)
- For the safe delivery of Rosalyn's baby, and for all expectant mums
- For those on waiting lists for medical treatment
- For all who mourn