So as I mentioned during Ignite on Sunday, we’re starting up a prayer space in the Living Room, but I just want to emphasise that it’s not just for people who are “into prayer”. Rather, we’re hoping that it might be a place that gets you into prayer. I wrote a blog a while ago on prayer, so I’m just going to plagiarise myself a bit, bear with me:
Since then, there have been a few other memorable, immediate, miraculous answers to prayer. But some prayers have not received the answer I’d hoped for. And occasionally, I still find myself dozing gently… What I have come to realize and treasure though, is that prayer is a wonderful gift of communication with God. A God of miracles and the banal. A God who knows me inside out and knows my heart before I can express it. There is no need for hiding or posturing in prayer- they simply hinder.
A wonderful book called “A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller talks about the rambling prayers that start off so earnestly, then somehow morph into your shopping/task list- must remember to get butter / call the plumber, which leads to “Did I actually turn off my headlights…&*%$ I didn’t” and you run off to do so mid-prayer. I can’t tell you the joy and freedom I felt when I realized, other people do that to! And not just other people, but Other Really Good Christians Who Write Books About Prayer…! That released guilt and obligation and brought joy. Who was I fooling? God KNOWS what a numpty I am, and He just wants to hear from me.
Continuing on from this, I would say that God also wants to speak with you. Yes, we ask God for things, we say thank you, maybe we even rant. But we also need to listen. Communication that is only one-way is basically no-way.
Ah, but “What does God sound like,” you ask? “He doesn’t speak to me, I’ve never heard His voice.”
Well guess what, He’s never “spoken” to me either…at least not in a voice within human-range pitch.
In fact, maybe it would be better to avoid the word “voice” altogether. I don’t know about you, but I am sometimes a bit literal-minded and can get stuck on the meaning of a phrase because of one word. Instead, I would say that God passes on many messages through various mediums. Sometimes through the Bible, sometimes through the conversation of others, sometimes through art, song, dreams… And sometimes, in silence.
This last one is where prayer space, quiet reflection time, really comes into play. Sometimes, part of praying is just coming before God and saying nothing more than, “I am here, God.” It is in these times that I have received the greatest, most undeniable affirmations from Him. A remembering and a clarifying of who I am, and who He is. Child and Father. Creation and Creator. Forgiven and Forgiver.
In these moments, God doesn’t detail to me the action plan He wants me to follow for the rest of the day. He doesn’t offer explanations for the great mysteries that we all ponder. These may come later…but only after our relationship is restored to its most basic truths. Without these truths, all else will fail at some point.
Our hope is that the prayer space will really be a meeting place where you can engage in honest, two-way communication with God.
Prayer Space: 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month in the UJ Living Room, 10:15 – 11:00am.