What is your favourite way of communicating with someone? I have a feeling this is going to be where I show my age… is it phoning, texting, emailing, whatsapping, snap chatting, on face book, maybe some other new fangled way of communicating? Maybe you just like to talk to people face to face?
Communication is essential, it is a necessary part of any relationship, it always has been. But now communication is so easy. We can communicate with people over the other side of the world by the simple press of a button. We don’t have to be able to understand morse code or smoke signals, we can just phone them or text them… simple. Again… showing my age… as great as this is, it has almost made us lose the art of communication. I don’t know many people who actually take the time to phone each other now because you can just send a text, an email, where you won’t get caught up in a conversation. I also do t know many people, other than my aunty, who handwrite letters anymore – I do enjoy receiving a handwritten letter. But there is almost no need, because we publicise our lives so freely and daily that we don’t need to tell anyone what we’re up to anymore. Even though we know so much about everyone, there is still something so special about spending time with a close friend and going through what’s going on in each of your lives. Actually spending time with each other.
So… communication… so easy, completely necessary, but sometimes not used to its fullest potential.
Tuesday is shrove Tuesday, Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of lent. We are starting to look at a variety of disciplines to help us prepare for the celebration of Easter, and we are starting with Prayer.
Prayer can seem like quite a scary word, and it will conjure up different ideas for different people. I always find it quite amusing in September when the new pupils join us, and when we say a prayer at the end of assembly they put their hands together, and at the end will chorus AaaaaaaaaaMen. What do you associate with prayer? Is it daunting/boring/silence? Shockingly, as with so many things, we make it considerably more complicated than it needs to be.
Prayer is simply communication, communication with God. As with communicating with our fellow humans we will each have different ways to communicate with God. I will try to give some ideas of how we might pray let’s, but I’m going to start off by talking about why it is important. I would also like to preempt this by stating I am no expert at this, and I am very much still on this journey myself.
The fantastic thing about prayer is that it is a two way conversation. It isn’t just us saying a load of words to God, it is God speaking to us as well. We may not always like what He has to say, but it is a conversation.
You could argue, and many people have argued, “If God is All-knowing then why do we need to tell Him what’s going on?” It’s a good question. Let’s think about it in terms of social media, I know what is happening in a lot of people’s lives because of what I see on social media sites, similarly a lot of people know what is going on in my life. There is a mutual liking and commenting on various posts and sometimes there may even be a full blown social media conversation but… there are some friends and family who know the full extent of what is going, and are able to give me more advice, love, support, and celebration, because I sit down and chat with them. We take the time.
What has this got to do with prayer? God may be seeing what’s going on in our lives, and similarly we may see what he is doing in ours and others, we may like it, love it, react to it but… we’re going to get so much more from that relationship if we spend the time in a conversation with Him. That’s a choice we each need to make, we need to choose to enter that conversation, to enter that relationship.
The conversation has to be real, which may mean being angry or upset. That’s absolutely fine. All the best relationships are the ones which last through the jigs and the lows. In fact more people struggle with praying when things are good, after all there’s no need to pray then is there?
At Easter we celebrate Jesus dying and rising to life, that means that we now have full access to God, we don’t have to go through any special rituals, or be prayed for by someone else. We can talk to God at any point about anything. Letting God know what’s going on, asking God to help get through a tough day, asking God to speak to us, thanking God for what He is doing and has done for us.
Prayer can be scary, but it can also be phenomenally powerful. We can’t know what God can can do in our lives, if we don’t invite him to be a part of it, whether good or bad.
There are lots of different ways of praying including the Lord’s Prayer, and ACTS – which stands for Adoration (recognising who God is) Confession (saying sorry) Thanksgiving (thanking God for all the good things in yours and others lives) Supplication (asking God for things)! But our thought for the week is from Max Lucado who says
Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference
It doesn’t matter how you pray, it just matters that you do. Talk to God. See what He can do and see what He wants to say.
Don’t forget to keep us posted of how your journey to Easter is going.
Prayer: father God thank you that we have access to you, and that you want to be in conversation with us. Help us to want to be in conversation with you. Amen
Challenge: each day thank God for something that has happened in your life.