Last week we started looking at how we could grow spiritually and mature in our faith. We looked at the first letter of GROWTH - G - which stood for 'Getting to know God by reading the Bible". Today we're going to look at the second letter - R.
The Christian life is all about relationships. I always use talk about my 'faith' rather than my 'religion' because to me faith conjures up an idea of something that is living and passionate whereas religion can be lead to thoughts of something that comprises of lists of rights and wrongs, dos and don'ts...
Because it's all about our relationship with Christ, we need to work on our communication skills. Last week we found out how God talks to us - through reading His Word - but we also need to talk to Him. If you think about someone you have a relationship with - whether it's your husband, sister, mother, friend - you have to talk to them or they get ever so slightly annoyed! If you went for a day without talking to them they'd start to think something was wrong, after two or three days they'd definitely think they'd done something to upset you, and after a week they'd be tearing their hair out trying to get through to you!
So imagine how God feels when we limit our conversations with Him to once a week at church on a Sunday. Or when we say our prayers at night with the children, but don't talk to Him ourselves, or at any other time. Or rhyme off the Lord's Prayer and not even bother to think about the words.
I imagine it's hurtful. And yet He doesn't give up on us. He's always there - waiting for that chat.
Hear my as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."
For me, I tend to be a 'pray throughout the day' person, meaning I have a running conversation with God - in the car, washing the dishes, waiting to pick someone up from tennis... And that's great because I feel as if I am keeping a nice short account and really keeping Him as the focus in my day.
Before we go any further - what do I mean by a short account?? I think when I speak to Him all day long I am more likely to admit mistakes as soon as I do them, and ask forgiveness for sins as soon as I realise what I've done. This helps me not only to not have a big list to go through at the end of the day, but it also helps me to think about what I'm doing and to actually ask for forgiveness (I've been known to forget).
But back to praying... I love the fact that my God is alive and I can chat to Him all day long - even when I must look like a complete looney talking to myself, especially when the hands go up or the tears start to fall!! But I also need times of silence and stillness, when I can hear Him more clearly, and times of structured prayer when I pray for others.
So tomorrow I'm going to tell you the methods I use or have in my arsenal for my structured times of prayer. How do you pray?
Keep shining xx