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

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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 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 1: The best and worst of prayer

Good morning on this Ash Wednesday morning, and welcome to the Prayer in the Making Lent Bookclub. Whatever you’re giving up or taking up this Lent, I’m praying it’ll be a rich and helpful season for you … and if you’re giving up coffee, chocolate or any other stimulants, I’m praying the headaches won’t be too bad!

Our focus this week is to read the Foreword and the Introduction chapter of Prayer in the Making, and we’re going to be talking about the “best and worst” of prayer.

One of the reasons I wrote the book is because people so often tell me how bad they are at prayer. I imagine we’ve all had moments of thinking we don’t pray well enough or often enough or eloquently enough. Yet God isn’t the grumpy authoritarian who marks us out of 10 when we pray. God is the loving parent who is overjoyed whenever we choose to communicate. So how do we get past the guilt?

The first thing is to recognise that we’re all different, and to learn a bit about what kind of “pray-er” you are. What makes you come alive in prayer? What bores you out of your mind? Now, prayer isn’t always going to be easy and enjoyable. It’s a discipline which we choose to keep, regardless of how we feel about it, but it helps enormously if we understand how God made us, and what sort of prayer comes most naturally to us.

There’s more about that in the Introduction chapter, and in the podcast below, so find a spare 10 mins to listen to it if you can.

Here are a few questions for you to ponder over the next few days:

1. What’s your favourite kind of prayer? Do you have a favourite place or a favourite way of praying? What’s been your most powerful prayer experience?

2. What’s your least favourite kind of prayer? Have you had moments when Prayer has been excruciatingly dull or really unhelpful for some reason?

Leave a comment and tell us what it’s been like for you. Let’s share ideas, and sympathise with each other over the awkward/crazy/boring bits.

https://anchor.fm/lyndall-bywater/episodes/Episode-1-The-best-and-worst-of-Prayer-Foreword-and-Introduction-e3c77n/Main-ab7utp