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 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 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 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 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 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