Spiritual Disciplines: Prayer
by Rachel Patterson
What do you feel when someone says the word, ‘prayer’?
Guilty? Worried? Angry? Excited? Grateful? Hopeful? Or all of the above?
Well I was asked that very question last Sunday at The Gathering. My answer was conviction. I often feel that when I pray either God is going to get annoyed with me, tell me something I don’t want to hear or actually take my word seriously and put me to the test. So I often put it off and tell God that I’ll talk to him later when I’m ready. Sometimes I’m never ready.
We had many a great conversation about praying and why we should pray and what are the good things about prayer. I was inspired by people to pray and to spend time with God. We started off by telling a story of how God has answered prayer in the last couple of weeks, as an uplifting starter. So let me share with you my answer to prayer. There was an event coming up the other week that I wasn’t looking forward to. I was starting to get worried, stressed and upset about it and realised that if I didn’t invite God into that place and ask for him to help me in at that time, then I wouldn’t get through it gracefully. So I decided that I needed to give God the control over that situation and ask him to give me the joy, love, strength and peace in that situation. The day and situation came and went and it was fine. The joy, peace, love and strength that I asked God for was given! I didn’t feel sad, worried or stressed on that day! Praise the Lord! So pray, because prayer is answered.
Prayer for me isn’t something that always comes easily, I say I will and then I forget or normally Netflix gets in the way. Reading the Bible, it says that saying you will pray for someone and not doing it is as bad as an empty promise. I was greatly challenged by that. I don’t know about you but the amount of times I say ‘I’ll pray for you’ and then I don’t is ridiculous. As we were talking about it last night, I came to realise that it doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing, but if I say I’m going to pray for that person then I should do it then and there.
Spiritual discipline is a big thing, and if we want to take our relationship with God seriously and not just be a ‘Sunday Christian’ then we need to put things into place to allow God to work deep within our lives. I want to be in a place with God that I can’t actually survive unless I’ve spent time with God that day. I want to be in a place with God that I am so open to doing whatever God says that it becomes second nature. I want to be in a place with God that means I am able to openly and freely with confidence, share the gospel with those around me. This is only possible if I pray and allow God into those areas of my life. Something that I am really trying to work on. Something that will be a journey.
Sounds great right…
Well that’s the idea, and that’s where I want to be but this isn’t something I can do alone. In fact, the bible is very clear about doing life with others and being a family. Sometimes we need to be accountable to and for each other. To encourage each other, to ensure that we are making that time for God in our lives. For me I need to schedule God into my day, to set aside my evening or mornings and give it over to God. I need candles and coloured pens to make it more interesting and enjoying for me. I am looking forward to putting things into place for myself to spend that time with God to hear from him, to allow him to work in my heart and bringing me forward in my relationship with God.
I feel that God is calling us into a deeper place with him, into a deeper relationship with him. Now is the time. Now is the time to go to God and to ask him what he wants you to do and where he wants you to go. But the biggest thing to remember is that you’re not alone in this. We’re all here, and being family, we need to encourage each other in this next stage of life.