Hello again! What a 5 days it has been. Firstly, the reference to parrots in my blog title is due to my brother who decided it would be funny to paste many photos of parrots on my Facebook in order to kill the last five minutes of a long work day. To those of you reading this thinking ‘is that the best she has?’ Yes.. I’m afraid it is. That’s the life of a 6th former for you…all work and no play for me!
This week, the focus has been all about prayer, and whilst ‘surfing the web’ I came across a pretty good quote which starts things off quite nicely.
‘Prayer is not getting man’s will done in heaven, but getting God’s will done on earth,
It is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s willingness‘ – Richard C Trench
Prayer is a beautiful thing, and on reflection this week, I’ve realised exactly how much I take it for granted. The challenge set this week was to spend 3 hours persistently in prayer for one thing, and whilst this was amazing, I wanted to also spend time this week assessing exactly what prayer is in my life. Ever since one of my friends quoted ‘prayer should be a conversation and not a monologue’, I’ve taken a whole new perspective on what prayer is.
At primary school, I remember being taught something similar, that in prayer we are simply talking to God. Now, at the grand age of sixteen (nearly seventeen!!!!) the same simplicity applies. There’s a worship song with the lyrics ‘I am a friend of God’ and it made me think of prayer in comparison to a conversation with a friend. Whilst prayer should not be a monologue, it also shouldn’t be an awkward 2 second conversation either; like the kind you have when you see someone you know somewhere and make awkward conversation with them until one of you goes off in a different direction. What kind of friendship would we have with someone if we never spoke to them? A pretty crap one probably. Sure, I could use the excuse that I’m a busy bee studying A levels and getting way more stressed than necessary, but (as I discovered whilst browsing other God 52 blogs this week) Jesus took time away from the crowds following him to be alone in prayer. It’s precious and its important in developing a sound relationship with God.
So, 3 hours of persistent prayer for one thing? Okay, I have to put my hands up now and admit that it hasn’t gone my way this week. It took me so long to decide on one thing that by the time I’d actually got my mind fixed on it, time was running away from me. For now, let’s just say its a working progress. Although I haven’t necessarily completed the challenge this week I have drawn closer to God in the process. One night this week, I picked up a little book from my shelf which I’ve written prayers in over the past 2 years. Okay… WOW. Reading that book summed it all up.. There are so many answers to prayer, so many pleas from me to God where I could remember writing the prayer with hopelessness on my heart, not really believing anything could happen… and yet there I was, a few years down the line being able to pick out answers to prayer that I never thought would come. That alone summed up the week for me. Sometimes, the little things remind of the massive things. Like how this small note book reminded me of God’s GRACE which is kind of a biggie.
I’ve always told myself that its important for prayer to not become a burden in my life. The day that I roll my eyes at the thought of sitting down and spending time with God is not a good one, I need to get excited about prayer!!! The prayer diary I found reminded me of a time when I was way more dependent on God than I am now, and times when I was still discovering who I was as a christian. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this week its that I need to get back to that point… the point of depending completely on God. If I’m having a bad day I usually go home and make myself a peanut butter sandwich (yes, I do enjoy the finer things in life) before curling up in my bed and feeling sorry for myself… but why not change that? Why not give it all to God? On Sunday night at church, I had one of the most intense times of worship for a while… and suddenly, everything that was on my mind was summed up in a few worship lyrics:
‘I’m giving you my heart, and all that is within,
I lay it all down, for the sake of you my king,
I’m giving you my dreams, laying down my rights,
I’m giving up my pride, for the promise of new life’
AAAAAH isn’t that amazing?! A true expression of the heart that says ‘God, I’m giving it all to you’… and why do we give it to him?! Because its safe there. There are countless places in the bible where we hear about God taking our burdens and giving us rest, and prayer is a way to achieve this… Not only to give him what’s on our hearts, but also to praise him, thank him for what he has done and ask for more of it in our life. This whole thing reminds me of the little surprises God gives us in life. In April last year, I got on a plane with my youth group to travel to Mexico and its fair to say I was pooping myself. I waddled through the plane with a lump in my throat, knowing that really… it was all going to be okay. A few minutes after I sat down, the in flight television turned on, and what do I see? An advertisement Not really that exciting. Except, it reminded me of a bible verse which reminded me that it was all going to be alright.
Matthew 7:7 ‘Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’.
Not only did this apply to the challenges facing me in Mexico.. but also to prayer. God responds to prayer, in the most loving way possible. It’s kind of like a roller coaster (which is kind of a bad example because I’m scared of them) .. You can’t experience the thrill of going down without the climb of going up.. and this week, I’ve realised it’s the same with prayer. We’ve got to trust God and jump in at the deep end, give him our hearts, tell him what’s on our mind… GO ON. What’s the worst that could happen?!
I don’t know what the next challenge is.. so I guess next week will be a surprise.