Disability and Healing

I recently contributed to a BBC radio documentary on healing and disability. Here’s a written summary article, and you’ll also find a link in there to listen to the programme. There’ll be a slightly longer version on Radio 4 in a few weeks time.

Oh, and there’s a picture of me driving a sports car through the pearly gates, which has to be worth a look!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48054113#share-tools

Advertisements

Lent Bookclub Part 25: Praying the way you’re made

Chapter 12: Resilience; Part 1: Building a Rhythm

If you’ve made it this far through the book then you’ve hopefully tried a fair few different types of prayer by now, and the chances are you’ve found some easier than others, some more enjoyable than others. We can get very focused on how and where we think our prayer lives need to improve, and that’s important, but it’s also important to do the things we love … to do them often and plentifully. The more “enjoyable” prayer things we do, the greater will be our hunger and enthusiasm to set aside time for prayer.

This is the briefest of summaries of my prayer and personality teaching, given primarily to get you reflecting on what your favourite kind of prayer is … the kind that draws you in and gives you life. And of course there’s also the challenge to make time to do some of that kind of prayer this weekend. Maybe you’ll go out for a prayer jog … or maybe it’ll be prayer tucked up in bed with your bible and a hot cross bun … or maybe you’ll use some of your time to pray for every single person on your Facebook friends list … or maybe you’ll get that book off the shelf you’ve been meaning to read for months, go to a coffee shop with a notebook and pen (paper or digital) and read and think, think and scribble.

You get the idea, right?

So … stop by the comments thread and tell us all what kind of prayer you’ll be doing.

For more on prayer and personality, go to the salvation army’s One Thing Prayer School and play Season 1 Session 1, which is me doing a longer version of this teaching.

Www.Salvationarmy.Org.Uk/one-thing

Lent Bookclub Part 24: Essential ingredients for a breakthrough

Chapter 11: Warfare; Part 2: Victory Strategies

The Bible is a book full of battles, which comes in handy when you’re reflecting on battling in prayer. One of the things which most inspires me about the way victories happen in the Bible stories is that God so often does unexpected things with unexpected people in unexpected ways. That heartens me because it means I don’t need to become an impressive warrior or a conventional superhero. I just need to be myself and do my thing.

These are a few thoughts on Gideon, who isn’t in the book (though he is in my last book!). I find his story helpful because he had to make a stand in a rather unconventional way, and his strange battle strategy helps me keep my battle strategies rounded and grounded.

I hope you enjoy thinking about him, and I hope it helps you get your own battles into perspective.

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.

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 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 4: Deep calls to Deep

Chapter 1: Encounter; Part 2: Heart to Heart

This evening I’ve been thinking about being honest when we pray … honest about how we’re feeling, for instance. That’s handy as it’s what this second part of chapter 1 is all about. But why does it matter? Doesn’t God know how we’re doing before we know it ourselves? I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s something we miss out on when we don’t stop to acknowledge how we feel … when we don’t stop to tell God what is going on in our hearts. And that’s what this podcast is about. Oh, and of course the Heart to Heart section has even more to get your teeth into.

If you do the “Trying it” activity with the photograph, by the way, please do pop in here and tell us how it was for you. Some people find it challenging and others find it exhilarating.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Deep-calls-to-deep-Chapter-1-Part-2-e3eloa/Main-abl2d8