Prayer

So I wanted to come back to the theme of ‘alone time’ with God after the blog about camp and I thought for a while about what exactly I wanted to say, but kept coming back to the same thing, prayer. At first I thought it perhaps wasn’t worth writing a post about something so obviously part of a Christian life, but then I reflected on my own prayer life and realized how easy it is for prayer to sit on the fringes of our daily lives, only making an appearance in times of real need or even want. Something so obvious, I guess it can sometimes be overlooked, so I figured I would write a little about prayer.

The first thing to say is that God answers prayers. I remember as a kid, growing up, I was never convinced that God would actually answer things that I asked of Him, so I was always a little scared to actually ask. I can vividly remember going to bed every night, closing my eyes and putting my hands together, but not once did I ask God to help me with something I was struggling with or help someone I knew was in need. I think I figured that if I never asked for anything, then God couldn’t let me down and then I wouldn’t have to question my belief in Him. I doubted a lot as a kid, up until I was about 14, but that’s something I’ll talk about in the next blog post. So anyway, I certainly wasn’t convinced that God really would answer my prayers and that’s something that probably carried on into my early teens. Now I feel I must add some clarification here; it wasn’t that I didn’t trust God or doubted His ability, I simply doubted that what I would ask for was worth asking for and therefore wouldn’t be answered. Thankfully this was something that I learnt not to be true as I grew older, but if I still had any doubts at all, they were taken away with my acceptance into Oxford.

A story to be told on its own, I won’t go into the full details, but I will say that up to that point I had still never really asked God to give me anything. I had prayed for the health of relatives who had recovered from illness, I had prayed for situations to be resolved, but never really for Him to give me something, something I knew I couldn’t manage on my own. As you will know that prayer was answered, but in such a phenomenal way that I could be left in no doubt that God’s hand had been over the entire process from application to results day and it all hit me after a solid hour of asking God for this opportunity and a morning containing 3 A’s and an acceptance email! When we take to time to prayerfully consider our aspirations in life God sets his plans and our plans in sync. God answered my prayer because he had laid on my heart 9 months before that I needed to be in Oxford and He answered my prayer because it was worth answering, because I wasn’t asking for my will, I was asking for His! It all comes down to consistently spending time with God, allowing Him to guide your path and asking Him to do so! I’m not far enough into my theology degree to fully understand it all yet, but maybe a big part of prayer is God molding our heats towards His will. When we ask for things that God grants, maybe that’s God’s way of pushing us in the right direction, not us pushing Him.

But don’t just take my word for it! At Elim festival there were so many amazing stories of the power of prayer leading to healing and changed circumstances and actually to many of us realizing how God always knows what He’s doing!

The second thing I wanted to mention was something that I struggled with myself for quite a while and that’s praying for other people. Every time I tried it just felt like there were far to many people and far to many things to pray about and I had no idea where to start, so I just didn’t bother. I realized later that, that wasn’t the correct response when faced with this difficulty! Instead we should really try to spend as much time as possibly praying for others as its part of our role within a Christian community, to protect one another and cover each other in prayer. Not only this, but the joy of seeing that prayer answered and peoples lives made better is something that simply can’t be matched. As humans we are wired to enjoy giving more than receiving… the same principle should be applied to our prayer lives.

Advertisements

Worship

Topic 4 – Worship

So as I’ve said, spending time alone with God is really important, in fact it’s invaluable, but what should that time consist of?

Well really it can consist of anything that helps you to feel connected to God and helps you to better understand His character and the plans He has for you, but one of the best ways I find of connecting and spending that time is worshipping. I love to just get out my guitar and play some of my favorite worship songs and lose myself for a while. Often for me that leads to writing as that is my way of really expressing my love, but playing guitar isn’t the only way to worship God. I know that we are all so used to corporate worship being lead by keys or a guitarist at the front of the church, but that doesn’t mean you have to have to be a graded musician to worship on your own. Listen through your favorite worship album and reflect on the words, sing along or just go for it a capella. Not only that but tell God how you feel. Even thanking Him for the things He has done is an act of worship and all just as valid as following a chord sheet.

This is so important, because we serve a God that deserves our unending praise! As one of my favorite worship songs growing up said ‘If we could see how much you’re worth, your power, your might, your endless love, then surely we would never cease to praise!’ and it’s so true. If only we could grasp the enormity of God and the incredibly things He has done. To humble himself as a man and die for us, all so that we may walk free from death and suffering… I hope one day I am able to understand just what that meant, but until then I’m going to spend every minute I can in worship of the man who did it all!

Worship doesn’t stop when that alone time is finished either. The Bible tells us in 1 Chronicles 16:23-24 ‘Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.’ Therefore everything we do can and should be an act of worship. The way that we act and speak to people should all reflect out relationship with God and share something of His love. It is our task to try to show something of that amazing love through the people we are and every time we act in a way that brings Glory to God, that is an act of worship. So lets make the most of our opportunities to share that love, not only in our actions, but also directly! I realized far too recently than when you really ask God to provide opportunities to share your faith, he provides them. So let’s get out there, live as people of God and get talking about our faith, all as acts of worship that glorify the big man! And we’ll talk about how to strike up those conversations soon!