The start of Advent 2009 not only saw most of us frantically preparing for Christmas, but the much awaited second stage of the United Reformed Church ‘Vision4Life’ programme.
The new church year focus is on a ‘Year of Prayer’ and like the ‘Year of the Bible’ that we’ve just concluded, it is an opportunity to think more deeply about our prayer-life, both as individuals and as a church. It doesn’t mean that we suddenly forget about The Bible – it’s really important as Christians to actively engage in reading the whole of our Bible (even the bits we don’t understand or find a little obscure!) so that we can wrestle with its meaning for us today.
The ‘Vision4Life’ team have produced various resources which can be accessed on their website – something for everyone, you might say – and recently copies of the resource ‘Praying our days’ were made available to everyone. This is a resource that can not only be used individually, but also as a group study – why not get together with a couple of your friends and explore the subject of prayer together!
If you haven’t had your copy yet, here is a taster to whet your appetite…
Ways into prayer
As we go through life we all learn different things in different ways. Sometimes we learn by watching someone else. Sometimes we listen to a talk on a subject and take notes. Sometimes we look for new information on our own – in books or on the internet.
How do we learn about prayer? Reading books about it is not everything and even if we find good teachers we can’t just copy what other people do and expect prayer to come alive for us. That’s because prayer is not a skill we learn, or an idea we understand, but a relationship we grow into.
In prayer we try to draw closer to God, and learn how to let God come closer to us. Praying in this way is about recognising how God is with us all the way on our life’s journey. It’s also about tuning in to the ways in which God communicates with us and listening for God’s guidance.
Many of us worry that we don’t do this well and never ‘get it right’. That’s quite natural, because we human beings do things imperfectly, no matter how hard we try.
Thankfully, God is expert at dealing with our mistakes and encouraging us to try again. Let’s use this time to try new ways of growing in relationship with God through prayer.
I believe that the ‘Year of Prayer’ will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore how we pray and why we pray, as well as how we can become more effective as a congregation in corporate prayer.
But it’s not all down to me!!! If you have any ideas or suggestions that you’d like Fulwood URC to consider, then tell me about them and let’s explore these together!
Mother Teresa once said….
‘Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself’.
May this New Year and the ‘Year of Prayer’ help you to open your heart to the endless possibilities that comes with prayer and a life with God at the centre.
Yours in Christ,