Lent Bookclub Part 23: Alienation and homecoming

Chapter 11: Warfare; Part 1: Opposition Strategies

Why on earth is prayer so hard? I don’t mean when you sit down to do it (though that bit can be tricky), I mean the business of building it into your life … of finding a rhythm and connection that fits and brings joy. One of the reasons is that it is opposed. The Bible seems to suggest that since time immemorial the enemy has been seeking to sow alienation between God and humankind. Don’t get me wrong … we’re quite capable of messing up our own lives … but he does seem to have a vested interest in stopping us from truly finding the joy of prayer. Perhaps that’s because humans who find the ultimate freedom and wonder of prayer are a force to be reckoned with.

So I’m sharing a couple of thoughts on the Garden of Eden story, and musing on how we can fight back against the effort to alienate us from God and steal the joy of prayer.

Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments if you’d like to.

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Lent Bookclub Part 22: Praying the Bible for your local community

Chapter 10: Scripture; Part 2: Justice and Kingdom

How do you take the words of the Bible, a collection of writings from centuries ago, and apply them to the place where you live today? What is culture, what is context and what is timeless? How do you shape Prayers which sow eternal God-truth into your local community such that the place is transformed?

Well, this podcast gets nowhere near to answering any of those questions, but it does throw a few thoughts into the mix which you might find it helpful to ponder.

And if you can get any nearer to answering those questions in the comments, please do!

Lent Bookclub Part 21: Reading the Bible with all 5 senses

Chapter 10: Scripture; Part 1: Power and Promise

One of the biggest struggles I’ve had with prayer over the years is how to keep praying in and through and with the Bible. Don’t get me wrong: I read the Bible regularly and love it a lot, but I’ve found it so easy just to glide over it, or to be too familiar with it, or to hear what I’ve always heard. It’s been a quest of mine to find ways to keep myself fresh and open to the Scriptures, and although the vast majority of credit here goes to the Holy Spirit of course, I’ve found this little pattern of the 5 senses really helpful.

Have a listen and let me know your thoughts. Also, tell me what works for you. How do you engage with the Bible when you pray?

Lent Bookclub Part 20: The tricky subject of praying out loud

Chapter 9: Voice and Body; Part 2: Praying out loud

This may just be my most controversial podcast so far! Yes, I’ve gone there … I’ve talked about how prayer meetings can be intolerably boring because of the way we do our out-loud praying. It’s not that I want to evoke “prayer shame” … it’s just that I think there are little things we can all do to help praying together to become a less dull, more connected experience. It saddens me so much that, when I ask people about their worst prayer experiences, they so often cite the boring sitting-round-in-a-circle, please-just-bean-me-up-now prayer times. These moments of corporate conversation with God should be some of the most exciting moments of our lives, shouldn’t they?

Anyhow, I’ll stop ranting now and let you listen. And please please please share your own ideas and thoughts on how we can “do better” at praying out loud.

(But do not for one moment let any of this put you off speaking out your prayers. It’s not that God needs you to pray differently. He loves your voice and every prayer you make with it. This is more about how we can alter our group prayer dynamics to make things a bit more engaging and enjoyable.)

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/The-tricky-subject-of-praying-out-loud-Chapter-9-Part-2-e3mna7

Lent Bookclub Part 19: A menu of fasting options

Chapter 9: Voice and Body; Part 1: Praying with your Body

This chapter touches on various ways in which we use our bodies to pray, but it dips into the subject of fasting, and since its lent, I thought it might be useful to investigate that a little more. So this is my intro to three different types of fasting and how you might integrate them into your prayer rhythm.

And I don’t find any of them easy, so if you have any tips to share with me about them, I’d be ever so glad to hear them! Just post in the comments and share your experiences.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/A-menu-of-fasting-options-Chapter-9-Part-1-e3m011

Lent Bookclub Part 18: Thoughts on forgiveness

Chapter 8: Restoration; Part 2: Forgiveness

Hmmmmm … this is a huge topic to tackle, either in a 2000 word chapter or a podcast, but I hope these are helpful thoughts. I wanted to talk a bit about why and how prayer can make it easier to forgive, so I’ve shared with you the three things I try to do in prayer when I’m finding forgiveness hard.

Note there’s a disclaimer in the podcast because these three techniques aren’t meant to make forgiveness easy, and they’re certainly not meant to minimise those situations where you’ve been very deeply wounded. If that’s the case, your path to forgiveness will be far more complex than this podcast would imply.

But if you’re wanting to get better at the daily work of forgiving and moving on, these things just might be helpful.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Thoughts-on-forgiveness-Chapter-8-Part-2-e3lnp5

Lent Bookclub Part 17: Wound management

Chapter 8: Restoration; Part 1: Inner Healing

It’s Chapter 8 and we’re getting into some deep places here … because when you pray, you invite the Spirit into the depths of yourself, and that can have uncomfortable yet glorious consequences. The other day, in my podcast on “Getting life into focus”, I mentioned that God is always at work in us doing some kind of renovation. This podcast is about how we know what that renovation work is … which particular things is he working on in us at the moment … and how we can partner with that process in prayer. It’s about how to bring our wounds into our prayer times without going mad, without naval gazing in an unhelpful way, and without overwhelming ourselves and getting lost in the difficult stuff. I hope it helps!

It’s a very personal subject, but if you fancy sharing thoughts in the comments, please do.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Wound-management-Chapter-8-Part-1-e3l4dt

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

An interview I did for UCB2 Radio

Here’s a link to an interview I did for UCB a couple of weeks ago. It was a long chat – almost an hour – and it covered a vast range of subjects … everything from white canes to grief and disappointment!

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