Lent Bookclub Part 16: Another brick in the wall

Prayer in the Making Lent Bookclub

Chapter 7: Strategy; Part 2: Prayerful Persevering

If you’ve ever tried to “see something through” in prayer, you’ll know it’s anything but easy. Maybe you’ve tried to keep prayer central to a project or ministry you’ve been involved in, or maybe you’ve just been trying to support someone in prayer through a long, tough situation. We start out with the best intentions, but the energy almost always drains away, the further on we go.

There are no easy answers in this podcast, or in this chapter of the book, but there are some thoughts which might help. The podcast in particular is about changing our perspective on prayer so that we don’t get so discouraged when it takes an age!

If you fancy it, leave me a comment on what your long term prayer is at the moment … that way we can all add our prayers to yours, even just for a few days.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Another-brick-in-the-wall-Chapter-7-Part-2-e3kl0o

Lent Bookclub Part 15: Getting life in focus

Prayer in the Making Lent Bookclub

Chapter 7: Strategy; Part 1: Prayerful Planning

Focus and direction are pretty important in life. I mean, they’re not the be-all-and-end-all … sometimes we do actually just need to stop and smell the roses … but mostly we live more fruitful, more fulfilling lives when we have a clear sense of where we’re headed and why we’re headed there. And I suspect much of that purpose and focus is born in prayer. I have a hunch God takes our prayers much more seriously than we do, so what we pray for really does shape the focus and direction of our lives. You may fully intend to become the next Prine Minister, but if your prayers are constantly focused on the quest for the perfect Choux pastry recipe, the chances are far greater that you’ll become a baker. You get the point, right?

So this podcast is me asking three questions designed to help you get life into focus. I hope you find them helpful.

And of course, I’d be delighted to read your thoughts, or your answers to the three questions, in the comments … if you fancy sharing.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Getting-life-in-focus-Chapter-7-Part-1-e3k0q8

Lent Bookclub Part 14: You need to want

Chapter 6: Intercession; Part 2: Heart Prayers

Today we’re turning to the sometimes controversial topic of wanting things in prayer. We tend to assume that the best, holiest kind of prayer is the prayer that says: “God, I want you to do whatever you want to do,” but what if God is waiting to hear what we want? What if prayer is a mysterious and glorious blend of his will and your will?

I’m not sure we can have a heart-to-Heart relationship with God if we are always reticent to tell him what we really think … what we really want and what we long for, deep down underneath all the wise, fair and well-balanced prayers we’ve taught ourselves to pray.

I hope this helps give you courage to ‘want’ a bit more in prayer.

And do share your comments and thoughts if you have any.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/You-need-to-want-Chapter-6-Part-2-e3jmv6

Lent Bookclub Part 13: Splendidly specific

Chapter 6: Intercession; Part 1: Shoulder Prayers

Ok, let me confess that this is the chunk of the book that I am least comfortable with … as in, this is the prayer type I find most difficult of all of them. So today’s podcast is my little shout out to those of you who, like me, find detailed, specific prayer boring, tough going and demotivating. But you know … it really works and we need to get better at it! God is listening out for our input … to hear how we want him to change this world for the better. Sometimes I feel like the child who just says: “Make it better, Dad”, over and over again, and there’s nothing wrong with that … God loves me absolutely and unconditionally and he loves hearing my voice in prayer, no matter what I’m praying … but I sometimes wonder whether those situations I pray for might actually get better more quickly if I made the effort to tell him more specifically what I’d like him to do.

As ever, please share your thoughts and ideas below. Let’s help each other get sharper in our praying.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Splendidly-specific-Chapter-6-Part-1-e3jg33

Lent Bookclub Part 12: Don’t feel bad for getting bored

Chapter 5: Action; Part 2: Doing and Making

I often teach on prayer and personality, and it’s always the bit on Action Prayer that gets the best response … people coming up to tell me that it’s been a real lightbulb moment for them, or that they suddenly feel released to be themselves. I think that’s perhaps because, over the centuries, the church has often had a bias towards quieter, more sedentary forms of prayer, and that has left some people feeling distinctly inadequate.

If you’re the kind of person who finds stillness and wordy prayer rather boring … if you’re like the apostle peter and you fall asleep all too easily during prayer times, then this chapter is yours. And this podcast is just a few more thoughts on how you can pray in ways that suit you better. It’s also to reassure you that you’re not less holy or prayerful, just because you don’t find it so easy to sit still.

And the question of the moment: what activities have you turned into prayer acts today?

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Dont-feel-bad-for-getting-bored-Chapter-5-Part-2-e3iqmc

Lent Bookclub Part 11: Prayer action stories

Chapter 5: Action; Part 1: Prayer beyond Words

It’s been a busy week or so in my world and, rather conveniently for this Prayer in the Making Lent Bookclub, it has involved rather a lot of action Prayer. So this is me telling you a few stories and giving you a few ideas of what you could do in the coming days, to turn your prayerful words into prayerful actions. We’re often a little too over-dependent on words when we pray, probably because we feel as though we should be able to explain to God what we need him to do. But God, being infinitely wiser than we are, has no need of our words and our explanations, so if you’re feeling like you just don’t have the words to pray for something today, don’t let that stop you. Think of an action which sums up what you long to see happen, and do that instead. It may feel a bit symbolic and insignificant, but Elisha purified a whole water course with a handful of salt, so never underestimate what God can do through your little act of prayer.

And of course … once you’ve done it, comment below and tell us all about it. Your idea just might inspire someone else.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Prayer-action-stories-Chapter-5-Part-1-e3hvdp

Lent Bookclub Part 10: Healing Balm

Chapter 4: Stillness; Part 2: Feeling and Filling

The trouble with stillness is that it lets all sorts of painful feelings rise to the surface in us, and that can be uncomfortable to say the least. We can be pretty good at anaesthetising ourselves against pain … we have distractions and coping mechanisms that keep us from being too aware of it … but the moment we stop and sit still, it’s there again, Making it’s presence felt.

One of the things I value most about my Christian Faith is that it is a story with brokenness and pain right at its centre. Not only that, but the painful, broken death of jesus releases healing to the world. So today’s podcast is some thoughts on what it means to sit with pain and receive healing … and it’s also got some interesting insights into something called the Balm of Gilead.

I don’t have a particular question to ask you, as this is a pretty personal subject, but if you’d like to share your experiences in the comment thread, I’d be honoured to read them.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Healing-balm-Chapter-4-Part-2-e3hidn

Lent Bookclub Part 9: Soul-parenting

Chapter 4: Stillness; Part 1: Making Space for God

Stillness is definitely one of the aspects of prayer which people think they’re no good at. Praying on the go is something we tend to think we can manage, but stopping and stilling ourselves for any length of time feels nigh on impossible for some of us. And there’s a good reason for that. Stilling our bodies may be relatively straightforward, but stilling our souls is a whole different ballgame … mostly because our souls would usually rather be caught up in said exciting ballgame than sitting still. In fact, the psalmist wasn’t a million miles off when he (or she, perhaps?) Likened the soul to a toddler (Ps 131:2). Listen to the podcast for more on that subject.

I hope you get chance for a bit of stillness over the next couple of days. Feel free to comment and tell us all what you learn as you give it a try.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Soul-parenting-Chapter-4-Part-1-e3gsmk/Soul-parenting-Chapter-4-Part-1-ac1p7n

Lent Bookclub Part 8: The wonder of stories

Chapter 3: Listening; Part 2: Listening with the Senses

This chunk of the book is mostly about listening to God with our senses, and I figure that’s quite familiar to many of you, but I do delve a little into the sixth sense … no, not seeing dead people … the sense of imagination. If our five physical senses tell us about the world around us, then our imagination tells us about the world as it could be, and if you’re a follower of jesus, that’s quite an important sense to develop, because he was all about imagining a better, brighter, kinder world and then living it into reality.

This episode of the podcast is me talking more about imagination and the importance of story. We learn to love stories when we’re young because God speaks through them. And we still need them now, to help us hear him telling us the sorts of things he wants to tell us.

And there’s a little challenge at the end to do with remembering stories you loved as a child … so why not comment below and tell us what your favourite story was and why you loved it.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/The-wonder-of-stories-Chapter-3-Part-2-e3gj6s

Lent Vookclub Part 7: God and sat navs

Chapter 3: Listening; Part 1: Recognising God’s Voice

In my life as a writer and speaker on prayer, I hear an awful lot of people saying they’re no good at prayer (whatever that means), but there’s another thing I hear almost as often, and that’s people saying they never hear God speaking to them. I hope you won’t be offended if I say that’s an absurd notion! Scripture and church tradition leave us in no doubt that God is in constant communication with us, his beloved, in so many different ways. Our problem is we’re often only listening out for one kind of communication from him, and that’s the one kind he doesn’t often give.

Listen to the podcast for more on that, and an enlightening story about sat navs. And read Chapter 3 Part 1 for some more on how you can get familiar with God’s Voice.

Today’s question: What’s the strangest way God has ever spoken to you? Answers in the comments below … let’s celebrate the endless quirkiness of God 😉

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/God-and-sat-navs-Chapter-3-Part-1-e3fvq3