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!

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 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 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 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 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

Lent Bookclub Part 3: God is real

Chapter 1: Encounter; Part 1: Face to Face

Today we’re revisiting some of the basics of Christian prayer. There’s a lot of prayer out there, but Christian Prayer has some distinctives that are encouraging to get hold of. Have a read of today’s section of the book to see what some of those distinctives are, and listen to this podcast to hear me debunking some of the unhelpful ideas we sometimes develop around prayer.

But most of all, take a moment today to celebrate the astonishing truth that God is not far off. God is real, present, and close to you every moment of your day, if you want him to be.

And if you’ve got a moment to leave a comment, tell us about a time when you knew God was right there with you. What was happening and how did you know he was there?

Happy Monday!

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/God-is-real-Chapter-1-Part-1-e3e1d8/Main-abhi6n

Lent Bookclub Part 2: God wants to be with you

Prayer in the Making Lent Bookclub: more thoughts from the Introduction chapter

Welcome back! I hope you’re enjoying thinking about your bests and worsts in prayer. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us. I’ll give you this one as an encouragement: a couple of days ago, my brain was so dead when I sat down to pray that I ended up doing an online M&S order! And since I’ve banned myself from feeling guilty about prayer, I am just concluding that these trousers (which have just arrived) will be the most blessed trousers I’ve ever worn!

Maybe that’s what set me thinking about how important is for us to know that God wants to be with us. Even when we get so weary in prayer that we resort to the online shopping app, he still loves us and enjoys our company. (I have a hunch he quite likes a bit of shopping too!)

And if we know how much he wants to remain in us (john 15), then it changes how we pray. When we know we’re utterly known and loved by the one we’re talking to, it brings prayer to life in a new way. The prayer practices in this book are all good things to be learning, but they transform into vibrant encounters when we know we’re not talking to a distant acquaintance, a churlish parent or a task-focused boss, but to the one who said “I want to be right there with you – in you – for all time.

Listen to the podcast to hear me talking a bit more about that. And please do share your thoughts in the comments. There’s a little interactive exercise to do at the end of the podcast, so you might like to pop back in and tell us how it went for you.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/God-wants-to-be-with-you-Introduction-and-Foreword-e3dibk/Main-abf6m6