Lent Bookclub Part 26: The nub of it all

Chapter 12: Resilience; Part 2: Growing a Relationship

This is the final episode in the podcast series! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing these … almost as much as I enjoyed writing the book … and I hope they’ve been helpful to you.

This last one is me getting to the nub of things. If I could leave you with one lasting thought, it’s the contents of this podcast.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey. May your prayer life grow from strength to strength, and may you always know God loves you, just as you are. If that knowledge sinks deep within you, the whole business of prayer gets a million times easier and more exciting. (That’s not what the podcast says, by the way … that’s just another equally important thing to grasp!)

And to all of you, a very happy Easter!

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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 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 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 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 6: Grief is worship

Chapter 2: Worship; Part 2: Grief and Gratitude.

This section of the book takes a quick look at that amazing story in Luke 7 of the woman who brought Jesus an offering of herself, her tears and her jar of perfume. The trouble is, it was such a quick look that I didn’t get to say half of what I wanted to say, so here’s a podcast with a bit more to chew on. It’s really all about grief, and how we assume we need to fix it or get over it, in order to produce some good-quality worship. Yet to God, our grief actually is worship.

This is never an easy one to talk about, but if you’ve got any thoughts or stories to help other people keep company with their grief in prayer, please share them in the comments.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Grief-is-worship-Chapter-2-Part-2-e3fj1o

Lent Bookclub Part 5: Mini Explosions

chapter 2: Worship; Part 1: Presence and Praise

After all the introducing and scene-setting, we’ve finally made it to our first “prayer type”, and that’s worship … arguably the most important aspect of Christian prayer. This section has some thoughts on what praise is, and how we might do more of it. Praise is one of those things we know we should do, and we know we should probably enjoy it, but sometimes it can seem more like repeating of old familiar words with little heart. What brings praise to life?

As for this podcast … well it’s me sharing my tips on how I rediscover the wonder and joy of praising God, especially when it’s all got a bit flat inside me. If that sounds like something you identify with, I hope my thoughts are helpful.

And the big question for today: Where is your “thin place”? Is there somewhere where you always sense the presence of God more strongly than usual, and where you find yourself bubbling up with praise? Why not comment and tell me. I’d love to know.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Mini-Explosions-Chapter-2-Part-1-e3etoc