In July I had the opportunity to see Shadowlands at Richmond Theatre. The play tells the story of how C.S Lewis and falls in love and marries Joy Gresham. It is far from the Hollywood love stories: this is about a slow burning love. It is a love that is revealed in the suffering and pain of illness. It is a love that sifts and tests Lewis’ own understanding of God. At one point in the play Lewis’ colleagues are questioning his prayer life as God doesn’t seem to answer Lewis’ prayers; Joy isn’t healed of her cancer. Lewis says this ‘I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God – it changes me.’
Lewis gets to the heart of prayer. It isn’t about technique or saying the right things. Prayer is about recognising our helplessness before God. Prayer is about our transformation.
We are coming to the end of the Prayer Course in October, but we will be continuing to look at the theme of prayer in November. We will
specifically be looking at prayer that transforms us; as individuals and as a church. We shall be looking at two specific prayers in Paul’s writings. One prayer from Paul’s letter to the Colossians, and the other from Ephesians. It is surprising to read how many of Paul’s letters start with a prayer or telling the church that he is praying for them. What an encouragement that must have been for them! These prayers are packed full of truth about who Jesus is, and praying they would know this truth deep in their hearts and their understanding. Why does Paul do this? I think it is because he knows transformation comes through understanding God’s word and praying these truths into our lives.
Let me encourage you to do this during the week in your own quiet times. I have found reading three short scripture readings (just a few verses) a day has been really helpful for me.
The Northumbrian community office goes through a cycle of readings, a bit like the lectionary, with an Old
Testament reading, a Psalm, and a New Testament reading. I found it helpful after each reading to be silent, and just allow the spirit of God to speak to me through the scripture readings. It has amazed me how God has spoken right into some situations I have been struggling with. Praying the scriptures really does bring transformation of our thoughts and attitudes. I commend this to you to try for yourself. You can find the readings on the following website: www.northumbriacommunity.org – and click on the link ‘join us in daily prayer.’
Editor’s note: daily readings can also be found in book form
Celtic Daily Prayer: Book 2
“Farther up and Farther In”
Recommended by Lucy Wright in her sermon series on Prayer.
From the Foreword:
“A Praying Life” will bring a living, vibrant reality to your prayers. Take it to heart. And what Christian does not want to learn to pray better? What Christian would claim that his prayers are as powerful as ever he would want them to be? The vast number of books on this subject testifies to the Christians’ desire to pray more and to pray better.
Amazon: £10.99 / Kindle £6.64