I have been thinking about how to approach this blog for too long, and finally, I believe it is easiest for me to see the link between my faith which makes me want a relationship with God through prayer. And it is prayer that leads to action, often with a push from God’s Holy Spirit. But how did I come to this point in my life? I remember being certain about God at the age of ten because we learned about His love for us at home and at Sunday School. For others, it may be quite different.
Recently, we have been studying the Five Marks of Mission which come out of being told about God and Jesus, wanting to share Him with others and turning to actions which reveal God’s love for everyone. We discovered that we have to be sure of our own faith and how it came to be part of us. Most of us learned from parents, but that is not always the case today. Much of the telling is done through friends, through a course like Alpha that answers our faith questions or by having an experience which sends us to pray to God for help and guidance. I found the study course during Lent on these Marks very easy to follow as the subjects started with T:
2. Teach and pray
3. Tend or care for others
4.Be Transformed by our desire to follow God’s word
5. Treasure this Earth and pray for all to value creation.
I taught a group at a Seniors Residence, and most have a good idea how they learned about God and His Son’s work on Earth. Most of them read their Bibles, so they are teaching themselves through reading. They needed to be more convinced about sharing their faith with others. We saw that God’s word is often in us and we can finish a line in a Psalm: for instance, I would say, “The Lord’s my shepherd” and they could end the sentence, “I shall not want.” And we could all go on with this psalm. We talked about what Jesus said in the “I am” statements. He said, “I am the bread of life,” and “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Out of this came a determination to be God’s light by showing we care about people, by smiling at them or asking about how they feel.
Together, we discovered more of the helpfulness in the psalms. One friend’s mother always wrote down a line of a psalm she loved daily: I copied this idea, years ago. My friend is now in our group and can share these with others. We saw that the psalms make great prayers and teach us reliance on God.The Rev. Dr Lynne Baab writes, ‘Longing and thirsting for God are woven throughout the Psalms, and the psalm writers move rapidly from longing to praise and thanks and confession and back to longing. The Psalms validate our spiritual experience in a way that no other literature can do, and they give us hope and ways to praise God.’ Daily prayer helps me have confidence to teach and share my faith. Prayer also guides me about how to tend to others. My senior friends see the value in prayer more now. I have been nudged by the Holy Spirit to visit a patient in hospital more than once by listening to God after prayer.
Finally, prayer does lead to kind actions on a personal level; it transforms our way of thinking and helps us see others in a new light. Part of transformation makes us try to stop injustices in this world, speak up for another, befriend a lonely person and write a letter to another. Even in our later years, we can help; we can support causes and, if we can afford it, give money to those in need. Remembering to treasure what we have, a safe home, friends, food and happy memories, makes us realize how fortunate we are. We live in a beautiful world where the seasonal changes bring new joys. We can all thank God for those wonderful blessings; we can value them as treasures, created by a God who loves us.