Prayer is one of those things that people either find easy, or they don’t. In my ten+ years as a Christian, I have always struggled with prayer. I see people praying, speaking so eloquently, and I just can’t find the words. I see people talking with God in a way that I wonder if I will ever be able to.
My words always seem so inadequate. I can’t get to grips with the flowery language used by some, and my simpler prayers seem to be just that; simple.
The thing though, is that God doesn’t want flowery language and words. He simply wants us; He wants me. He wants me to come to Him and talk to Him, as if we are friends. He wants to share every intimate part of my life, and when I get so caught up in the words of prayer, then that is when I struggle to actually get to grips with what God actually wants, which is all of me.
This week, I am going to try and remember that. I am going to try and keep my prayers simple and honest, and when it comes down to it, if I can’t actually find any words, then I will go back to what Jesus teaches in scripture, and I will use the prayer that He taught His disciples; the prayer that I said every day for the entirety of my primary school education.
And I will try to accept that this is sometimes all I can do, and that God says that it is good enough.
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This year so far, I am pleased to be able to say that I have read my Bible every day. I am sticking to the Bible In One Year plan that I began, and am really enjoying the approach of it.
I thought it would be a more linear approach, but actually, I am finding more insight in it, with it not being so.
I am currently part of the way through the book of Job, which, incidentally, was one of the first books of the Bible that I read after becoming a Christian (John was the first).
When I first read the book of Job, I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t understand why Job seemed to be complaining about his woes, and if I’m honest, I actually sided with his friends who were telling him that if he was going to be that miserable about things then he may as well just give up. I almost gave up and I was only reading it.
I am so glad that this book was one of the first ones that I read. It wasn’t until a good few months later, after a discussion with a very dear friend (and fellow bookworm; but that’s another story) that I realised the true importance of this part of scripture.
We all go through suffering. It is an absolute; an inevitable fact of life. Job’s life shows us this, but it also shows us what can happen if we cling to God throughout it. Job never once spoke out against God. He simply trusted Him to look upon him kindly, and to see him through in the end, which is what happens.
The thing is, when we go through hard times, our tendency can be to not turn to God; to not read His word, and in reality, that is the worst thing that we can possibly do.
I have read passages of scripture on and off before, but I have never delved into the Word like this before, and as I travel deeper into what God wants me, (wants us all) to hear, I can see how much I have missed out on, and how much I may now gain from being rooted in scripture.
If you’re struggling to get into the Word, I can highly recommend the Bible in one year plan by Nicky Gumbel. It has helped me more in a month, than other reading plans have helped me in my ten+ years as a Christian.
If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂
In days gone by, if you look at Christianity and the Church, and the ‘organised religion’ of it all, people didn’t really get taught that you can actually have a conversation with God.
When I was younger, we were given set prayers that we could use to pray, but we were never encouraged to actually make up our own.
I still remember those prayers. The ones that we would sing at the end of the day at school, or recite like parrots, simply copying sounds, rather than truly understanding and connecting with the meaning behind them.
It is only in the last ten years, since I became a Christian that I have truly gotten to understand what it is like to actually talk to God, and to listen for His voice in all of this.
Sometimes, it’s so quiet, I can barely hear it, and other times, it is so loud, I wonder why no one else can hear. The thing is, gone are the days of reverent repetitions. I think we’ve come to a stage now, where we truly understand what it means to be in relationship with God. What it means to have fellowship with Him.
In reality, we can’t have a conversation with someone if we’re doing all the talking. This is how it is with God, too. Sometimes we have to be patient, pause and really listen, but if we do, we’ll find an even deeper layer to our faith.
*Note — This post was written on the 6th of January
When, we turned the calendar over to a new month, and a new year, this adventure began. As I had planned, I began the “Bible In One Year” reading plan with Nicky Gumbel, from the YouVersion Bible App. I’m thirteen days in, and already I can feel myself engaging with God on a deeper level.
The devotionals in this plan give real life examples, and then back up what is said with scripture, which is an incredibly ‘immediate’ way to make these verses, written so many years ago relevant to modern day life.
So far, I have looked at The Fall, Noah, and Cain and Abel. I have also read into the sermon on the mount, and have read the beatitudes, and I feel like I’ve actually seen them in a new way.
As well as this plan, I have chosen two 365 day devotionals to read. The first is “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. This is a book written as if Jesus is speaking directly to the reader, on a given theme. In the introduction to this book, the author says that she simply sat, with pen in hand and wrote what came to her. She then adds two or three quotes from scripture.
When I read the reviews of this book, they were very mixed, although a lot of the negative reviews seemed to focus more on the fact that the author was using the first person, and “putting words in God’s mouth”, rather than the actual content. So far, I can honestly say that I haven’t read anything that seems out of touch with what I believe God would say, and I have found that it adds another layer to my morning quiet time with God.
The second book I have chosen is “Trusting God Day by Day” by Joyce Meyer. I have to say that I chose this primarily because I like Meyer’s style of writing. This book also gives about a page or two a day, and begins with a passage of scripture to read, before Meyer goes into explaining and discussing it. This book has been more challenging that “Jesus Calling”, but when I say challenging, I mean it in a good way. I feel that I am learning more, and more deeply, about God, and His will for my life.
It is also interesting to me, and more than a coincidence, that at Church this morning, the Pastor gave us our “Church verse for the year”, which is from Proverbs 5:4–5, and is focused on trust.
Trust is something that I know I have an issue with, for many reasons, which I won’t go into here. It is something that I find myself continually working on, and I hope that through this study, I will be able to learn to trust God even more deeply.
For this week, I would like to try and add some journaling into my quiet time. I am going to try and wait on God and speak to Him in the way that I find the most effective (for me, this always has, and always will be, through writing). I am also planning to do some reading on prayer, to see if I can improve there too.