Tag Archives: God

Praying by Serving

Ways to Pray : Lent 2017

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Thank you for joining me on this journey through different prayer practices during Lent. This is something you can do on your own, with your family, or even a small group. You can do it as often as is helpful for you – I am suggesting you try the same practice once each day during the week if you are able. I am sending a new “Way to Pray” each Monday morning leading up to Easter.


Praying by Serving : 3-9 April

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OK, so this Way to Pray is quite simple. And yet, it doesn not come naturally (or come to mind) for many of us. Have you ever thought of serving as a form of prayer?

I am not talking about prayer SO THAT we can serve. You know, preparing ourselves and then “doing.” I am talking about praying AS YOU are serving. Praying blessing with each sweep of the broom. Asking God to lift someone’s burdens as you carry their boxes. Praying for nourishment – physical and spiritual – as you prepare a  meal for someone.

Some of you will be familiar with Brother Lawrence. Known mostly through his thoughts and words in the book The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence is famous for praying while washing dishes. Or more accurately, he is known for advocating and demonstrating that we can connect with God in prayer in the mundane tasks of the day. He is the Saint for all of us who don’t prefer to sit for a morning “quiet time” but would rather pray as we go/do. He says, “that type of spirituality is ok too!” Or as David Bosch calls it: a spirituality of the road. For those who believe we should DO more than just “sit and pray,” this is for you. And for those who aren’t always sure how to pray for someone, don’t like praying out loud, or find it EASY to serve but DIFFICULT to pray, this is for you too.

A few ideas you might try, if Praying by Serving sounds good/helpful/intriguing/refreshing to you (and don’t forget the few mentioned above). These are mostly intercessory-type prayers but you could also do listening prayer instead. And as always, be alert to what God is saying and what is happening with the people and situations you are in:

  • Run an errand for someone and pray for them, God working through whatever you are doing, and blessing those you are interacting with
  • Do filing or sorting for someone and pray related to the things you are filing (finances, work needs, relationships) and that God works in different areas of the person’s life
  • Go with someone as they run errands or appointments – pray for them and those they are interacting with as they conduct their business.
  • Clean, do dishes, etc. for someone and ask God’s Spirit to work through different parts of their life. Pray for refreshing as they have a little more space in their life.
  • Babysit and pray for the children as you interact with them, and the parent. Pray for the family.

But really, the list could be endless on what you can do to serve. And also, in the ways you can pray as you do. These can apply to serving and praying for people you know, organisations or churches, or in many cases people you don’t know. Two tips and then be creative!

  1. Listen for what someone says they need to do but dread or won’t get to and ask if you can help them. This helps if you can’t find a way to serve just by looking around.
  2. Enter into serving and then pray. Let God lead your prayers.

And don’t neglect asking if you can pray with or for someone before, during, or after serving. Don’t make a requirement, but I find many people appreciate and accept the offer.

May we all serve and pray this week.

-Arthur


That’s it 🙂 Go give it a try and please send me any feedback or questions. It is especially helpful for me to hear/see what you’ve done with this yourself. You may need a few attempts to get the feel for it or you may not find this particular practice to be one you love or want to add to your ongoing prayer life. Or you may! Either way, may you find yourself connecting with God through this unique  way to pray.

 

The Ways to Pray series for Lent 2017:

1 March – Praying in Colour

6 March – Prayer of Examen

13 March – Praying in Nature

20 March – Prayers of Lament

3 April – Praying by Serving

10 April – Kingdom Prayer Pictures

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More to the Story

Reflecting on Mary coming to the tomb that first Easter morning and having God reveal an entirely different reality than she could imagine. She came to tend to Jesus’ dead body – he wasn’t there – he was alive.

May we all experience God’s surprising miracles and mercies today and every day. We need God to do what we can not.

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Doubt, Unbelief, and Faith

I find it frustrating that so many churches and religious people equate questions with faithlessness. Consequently, people who are wondering about so many things don’t feel welcome in the faith community or experience. This certainly isn’t how it worked in the Bible – or for most of us! Church isn’t the place with all the answers. It should be the place where we can work out all our questions together.

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Truth isn’t just a story from the past

The power of the Easter story is not simply the history-changing events from years ago, but the timeless truths of Holy Week which are very much like our own lives today.

originally posted on facebook

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God understands sadness

I took a much-needed walk & talk with God this morning. Reflecting on so many things that aren’t how they should be, disappointments, frustrations, etc. I am also currently Bible reading on Jesus in the time leading up to his death. I am reminded that God understands sadness and thankful that we can bring ANY feelings to God

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God knows us

Reading Psalm 33 today – a great one. This line struck me – God made our hearts, so he understands everything about us. Made this in response.

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what is fasting?

As it is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent – lots of posts and thoughts about fasting out there. It is easy to get caught up in religiousness, guilt, or trying to over-do our spirituality. But fasting isn’t about all that. It’s about choices to make ourselves available to God.

Keep it simple friends.

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pray love listen serve

So often we find ourselves in the middle of conflicts, situations we are unable to handle, or places we just want to give up. It’s normal. It’s life. And it’s difficult. I’ve been thinking about some of the ways I tend to react that don’t end of actually helping: I try to take control. I want to fight, defend, or rely on talking my way through it.

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Instead, what if I try to pray, love, listen, and serve? Can I go wrong? First, they will do things IN me. But I believe they will also have very different effects in the hard places we find ourselves. These responses are sure to be beneficial to the others we are dealing with. I also think they have the power to change the atmosphere.

worth trying…

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stars

Reflecting this morning on the fact that God created the universe, holds the stars in his hands, and STILL sees and loves each and every one of us. Overwhelming…

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Not Happy With God Right Now

Have you ever tried to do a puzzle without the picture on the box of what you are trying to build? Probably not. It is difficult not seeing what you are creating or having the clues of context – this colour must go here because it is part of this flower, etc. But it is possible- slowly testing each piece against all the others to see if/where it fits.

This is who I feel about life right now. I have pieces – good pieces – of people and work and responsibilities. But at the moment, God isn’t showing me the ‘picture on the box.’ How do these pieces go together? Are all the pieces I am working with part of the puzzle, or have a few strays from other puzzles got mixed in? I’m looking at the pieces, I’m looking at the puzzle being built – and I am confused.

I know some people live this ways just fine. But not me. I prefer and am accustomed to knowing the big picture and what I feel God is saying and doing. It helps me prioritise and hold in tension the various parts of my life. It helps me hope and take hard steps – seeing where they lead.  And to be honest, I’m a little angry with God right now for not showing me what is going on, especially in areas that just don’t seem to make sense.

Yes, I am talking about THAT God – the one who created and runs the universe. The one who is good and loving. It’s that God. I’m not doubting God, or giving up on God. I’m just not happy with God. I think God is ok with that. I hope you are ok hearing this [you know, because I am a minister and a missionary – one who basically does what God says for a living]. I am not acting disobediently or sinfully. I’m just not happy…  Maybe you have or do feel the same way yourself?

Why am I angry? Well they say that anger is often an indicator of other more specific feelings. So I guess:

I am feeling lonely. In this lost place, other people don’t know what to say or how to relate or help. In some cases, I feel friends are distancing themselves from me to keep themselves safe. Or people just don’t like what I am feeling/saying. I suppose it is similar to those who experience grief and all they need is people to be present – meanwhile people want to give them space or don’t know how to sit with them in their places of pain. And those who understand what I am feeling are often in similar situations and are barely holding it together themselves. What I need is for anyone who has been in this place to say ‘it’s ok, i understand, you’ll be alright, what can i do to help?’ And for the other people in my life to not not run away when I act weird. Don’t leave me alone.

I am feeling disoriented. I am accustomed to hearing God speaking and knowing what to do. Therefore, this place I am in now feels very much like being in the dark. God is there, I know. And I am not afraid of the dark. But I  don’t like all the tripping and bumping into things I am doing as I attempt to move as best I can. I find myself understanding – perhaps for the first time – the Biblical cry ‘don’t take your presence away!’ I always wondered about that – I mean, God would never do that. Yet here I am, knowing God is here, but asking, ‘where are you? what are you doing? why won’t you speak?’

I feel powerless. I can’t make long-term plans. I can’t say much with assurance. I doubt myself most of the time. I keep waiting for God to make things more clear, to rescue me, to do SOMETHING. And what God is saying is, ‘I am here.’ Yes, God, I KNOW. Now what???? I like to DO things, go places, see results. I have no control here – I’m not happy. Maybe – maybe – maybe this is for my own good. I am sure there are things God is doing that I don’t know. But it seems to me it would be helpful to our relationship if He would communicate more 😉

So, I am having an argument with God right now. Please tell Him I will be watching football until He’s ready to talk. I’m sick of puzzles.

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photo caption: ah, those were the days…

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