Eden

We’ve been using prayer stations this month to allow the leadership of the church to take holidays and have a well-earned break. Obviously, there’s always some forward planning taking place, but everyone needs a chance to step away for a while. One of the prayers stations this year challenges us to give thanks to God, to reflect and pray, and if you’re feeling particularly creative, to create something.

To be honest, I was a bit stumped at first; it’s not every night your partner prays in front of everyone about the bubbling noises your stomach is making during evening prayer in the intercession, so I was feeling a bit lost. So I sat at the table and read the poetry, and thought. I thought and thought, and thought some more, and then I asked God for help, and this is what came out of my reflection.

Eden © 2019 M.Fisher. All Rights Reserved

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

Genesis 2:8 NIV

It grew from the first line and took on a life of it’s own, so I signed it, stuck it onto backing card, and left it on the table in church; but not before I took the photo of it so I can share it with you, but again, I didn’t stop there. I like photography, so I dug out some pictures of flowers that I took around the church earlier this year, mostly backing shots for slides (now I know why I had the urge to take them) and did this to it…

Eden © 2019 M.Fisher. All Rights Reserved

Paul is undoubtedly right when he writes, in Romans, about the Holy Spirit interceding for us. It works within us, with us and through us; through our prayers and our actions. It allows us to act when we don’t know how to, allowing us to transform our inaction into action, our inability into ability.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27 NIV

I love that when we get stuck, the Holy Spirit is there to help guide us.

God bless you all.

[After all this, the only thing going through my head right now is should that have been an apostrophe s, nature’s grace, not natures grace … oh well, it is what it is.]

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Meditation on Scripture: Peace

This is the second of the prayer stations I participated in this last week.

For this prayer station, there are some sections of the Gospel of John to read and to reflect on.  Think about what the text means to you, how does it impact on your life, your thoughts, and your behaviour.

You can find the prayer reflection on Approaches to Prayer.

The readings are:

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(NIV)

Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isiah 9:6)

If you’d like to study more on this verse (incl. commentary) check out BibleHub

John 20:19-23

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
(NIV)

There’s more to study in this verse on BibleHub

So this one took a bit of reading and a lot of thinking. Taken in context, in the first verse, John 14:27, Jesus is about to leave his disciples, and he senses their anxiety and takes that away from them.  Ignoring the context and by just focusing on the verse I arrived at this:

Our worries and fears are fleeting, as much as the world’s peace is short-lived; we need to have the confidence to release them, or they will eternally weigh us down. If we knew the big picture as Jesus did, we would not be troubled – instead, focus on the arrival of the kingdom; everything that takes place possibly happens to bring that about.

The second part of this reflection is more of a challenge directed at us, as individuals.  We are all called to share the good news, to spread the word of our Lord, to share His peace with everyone.  First, we need to learn to accept it ourselves, which means being at peace within as well.  Share whatever troubles you with God, Jesus is there to intervene for us too, so there is nothing to be shy about; God already knows what is in our hearts, we just need to accept who we are before we can indeed move forward.  Opening ourselves to Jesus is a brilliant first step in doing all of that. If you open the door, Jesus will step through it.

For everything, there is a time…

While the summer break is happening and many people are taking a well-earned rest, we have replaced our usual weekly cafe church with a series of prayer stations.  We are invited, over the coming weeks, to spend time involved with each activity, quietly reflecting on what we read, see, think, or do.

The first I picked up was a writing exercise; no prizes for guessing why I picked that one!

The writing station consisted of two parts from Approaches to Prayer.

Part One: What time is it?

Consider the twenty-four-hour clock and imagine where you are in it (i.e. what time of day) and why you believe you are at that point. Think about the things you might have wanted to do, have done, are still to do.  At that time of the clock, which would you chose to do, put aside and complete now?

Part Two: Reflect on the last twenty-four hours.

The second part included a reflection on the last twenty-four hours.  There are some excellent journalling prompts if that’s your thing:

  • Where you were
  • What you did
  • What you said
  • What was said to you
  • How you felt throughout

and so on…

Again this is all a writing exercise, and I guess the aim of it is to make you think about what has taken place, how you fit into it, how God fits in with it and what was your relationship with God like throughout it all.  The reflection is in several parts:

  1. Pick a few times from the day for which you would like to thank God
  2. Choose events which caused you concern or anxiety, and offer them to God
  3. Are there times in the day where you marred God’s image in you
  4. Identify a point in the day where
    • God touched your life
    • God was revealed to you
    • God spoke to you
  5. Looking back, think about the insights you have gained
  6. Did you miss something that God was trying to say to you at the time?
  7. Is there something that God is encouraging you to do?

I wrote about two pages of stuff, which is all very personal to me.  If I managed to keep a journal, I don’t think I’d be short of things to put in it.  Have a go at any or all of the things that this prayer station provided, it can help you destress by offloading your thoughts, and it’ll certainly help you sleep better at night.  Dump all of your cares before sleep, so your mind doesn’t dwell on them.  Use a diary, a journal or better yet, talk it through with God via prayer.  Remember, He already knows your innermost thoughts, your worries and your hopes and dreams – talk about them and share them openly with God, take off those chains of anxiety and fear that bind you, and trust in Him to guide you.