Whither? And with whom?
I sometimes worry that I do more writing about prayer than actually praying! I heard a talk recently by Edna Gibson, who’d been a Christian believer from the age of nine and had risen successfully in the ranks of her chosen profession to managerial level, when at 40 she felt the desire to know God more. Not more about him, but to know him better as God, as Heavenly Father, as Lord and Leader – drawing closer, and that meant prayer. She went on to describe her journey then, with God calling her to do things for which she felt quite inadequate, unsuited, and ill-equipped – indeed impossible. But how at every protest God would challenge her to trust him. And he had led her to become a missionary teaching English as a second language to young people in many parts of the world, so they could mission better too: the fruits of her prayer.
A second prompt to me, of much longer standing, arises from our closing churches, shrinking congregations and vanishing youth: what is God doing – for he must still want his word to be heard – so how? Our Circuit is currently seeking to become more mission minded, and the examples put before us at the course in Saltaire have been of mission in ways that don’t seem to be at first. Just getting involved with people outside the church in various ways and seeing what comes of it, forming a group to satisfy a need, letting questions about God emerge and dealing with them, if and as they do. But not (this is the biggie) not necessarily or at once seeking to draw them into ‘church’: instead, finding a form of worship that suits that group and its activity. Letting God lead. So Lord, where are you prompting me to go, and with whom??
The WEEKLY prayers for October 2019 are:
Week 1 Lord, I dare not risk getting close to you when you might call me to do impossible stuff. Please deal with all my misgivings, and help me trust. Amen.
Week 2 Commander God, please tell me what to do because I’m all at sea. You say you know the way and will clear all obstacles, but help my unbelief. Amen.
Week 3 Pioneering Lord, blazing new trails, confident of both the ways and the outcomes, please help me see your hand and follow, alert for prompts. Amen.
Week 4 Creator God, maker of all, still ever artistically inventive, please show me what you’re doing in my circumstances, and how I should be joining in. Amen.a
Your own prayers
For what and for whom?
What should I be praying for? Well, I suppose whatever’s going on round me, what I care about – what God has laid on my heart. Pray for my part in it, and for a good outcome, that which would please God (that’s what ‘good’ is) even if I don’t yet see what that should be. Pray that God will find a way through obstacles and brick walls,. And I mustn’t forget to thank him for good things already seen, nor neglect to praise him for those answers he hasn’t yet revealed. That would show proper faith.
And then who: for whom should I be praying? There’s those I have some responsibility for: my family of course; and friends, especially any who’re sick, or struggling, or who’ve asked me to pray for them; and then those I just meet and mix with through work or hobbies or wherever, and feel concerned about; not to mention ‘kings [or queens] and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life’ (1 Tim 2:2). And… But hang on! That’s getting an awfully long list. Is there no limit?
Hmm! How about a different approach? Instead of a great long list to be worked through systematically and ticked off – even if some are omitted after a certain number of ticks – would I do better to try and develop a prayer-alert attitude. I mean seeking to listen to God as I meet people, or even as they come to mind, and pray as he directs. Core lists could still be useful memory joggers, but such an approach might stop them becoming altogether burdensome. Could prayer become more of a habit?
The WEEKLY prayers for November 2019 are:
Week 1 Almighty God, who looks down from above the heavens and sees all, you have called me to pray to you, and listen for you, please show me how. Amen.
Week 2 Everlasting Lord, ever in control, of each of us and our world, please give me faith to pray for help with problems, however simple or insuperable. Amen.
Week 3 Heavenly Father, who desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, please show me who and what I should pray for, day by day. Amen.
Week 4 Great God of all, present in each believer by your Holy Spirit, please give me an awareness of your concern for people, and keep me alert to pray. Amen.
Your own prayers