I hope you had a restful half term break. As time to slow down allowed, I ended up pondering on prayer and its importance in our lives. Much of the initial thoughts of this blog have been inspired by reading a little book called the pocket guide to prayer by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz.
God doesn’t ask us to pray because he is lonely. God wants us to pray because it is part of the process that he uses to be involved in our lives.
Praying because your Gran used to, because it is free to talk to God, to blame God for our mistakes, because we need money or because we want to appear holy, are probably not good reasons to pray.
The most logical reason to pray is because it works; it makes some kind of difference to us or to other people.
Another reason to pray is that God tells us to:
Pray at all times (Ephesians 6:18)
Devote yourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2)
Always be prayerful (Romans 12:12)
But, why should we do what God says? God’s nature is perfect. He is, in fact, love (1 John 4:7-21), so he wouldn’t ask us to do anything that is harmful for us. God through his word (the Bible) commands us to pray. Why? Because it is for our own good.
When we love someone, when we are in relationship with someone, we want to talk to them, to communicate with them. God doesn’t give any alternative to prayer. He wants us talking to him no matter how we feel; tired, awkward, or even if we can’t think what to say, he wants us to talk to him and talk with Him.
There are two basics to effective prayer. We need to believe God exists and we must have a personal relationship with God:
Jesus said “No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jesus speaking in John 14:6)
While the writer of Hebrews says that “anyone who wants to come to him (God) must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11)
In this morning’s assembly, the children in the Prep school, heard the story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus. Peter was doing so well, full of faith. He got out of the boat and started to walk toward Jesus. But then he took his eyes off Jesus and the waves began to bother him and he started to sink. Jesus reached out and saved him. The children and I came up with a list of people we could trust and those that we could not. An interesting theme came through the children’s answers. We trust those we know and love, our friends, our family, people we know and I’m glad to say that they did include their teachers in the list. As I walked back to my office in the glorious February sunshine, I pondered the ideas that the children had suggested they were very clear about who they would trust and more interestingly who they would not, strangers and mean people, are not to be trusted. God is a God of love He longs for relationship with us and true relationship means being honest and sharing the things that are wonderful and to be celebrated and the things that are hard, upsetting and stressful.
Prayer helps me to navigate the things of life. There have been times in my life where I have thought I was on top of the world and I have been so thankful in my prayers to God. There have also been times when I found myself on the floor of my bedroom kicking and screaming like a toddler begging God to change a situation. God always answers prayer, not always as I want or expect Him to, but always for my benefit and His glory. I can’t always see that in the immediate but experience tells me that its true and in the circumstances I’m still working out then I am simply called to trust.
There are many things we can pray for as a School community and if you would like to this week find a moment and join with me in praying for:
Kingsley’s Senior students as they prepare for exams.
Kingsley’s Prep School Pupils as they continue to develop and grow.
Kingsley’s Leadership and Governors as they make the decisions that develop the school.
Kingsley’s excellent staff in their commitments to the school and the children and young people in our care.
Kingsley’s parents and as they partner with the school in developing children and young people to be all that they can be.
This week I thank God for the Kingsley family and the community it offers and I pray for those members of the Kingsley family who are hurting, where life has dealt them a challenge or a sorrow and we ask God’s comfort and love to surround them.
May you be blessed this week.