easier than you think...
MILLION ADULTS IN THE UK PRAY.
1 in 3 PEOPLE BELIEVE GOD ANSWERS PRAYER.
How Do I Pray?
isn’t just for the religious. Most people admit to praying at some time
in their life even if they have given up on it later.
Jesus prayed. He
seemed to have access to God like no one else. He was always doing
miracles and teaching about life. But he also spent much time in prayer
and taught about it. What did he say?
He said that faith
was a crucial ingredient. He always responded to faith. On one occasion he
said, ‘Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe
that you have received it and it will be yours.’ Prayer is not simply
about the words we say it’s about what we are thinking on the inside.
Jesus also said
that forgiveness was important. ‘And whenever you stand praying, if you
hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your Father in heaven
may forgive you’ Forgiveness is a kind of currency. If we use it in our
relationship with others then we will have it in our relationship with
do I pray? It’s not the place that
matters – it’s what’s in your heart. It’s an individual action –
between you and God. And yet central to Christian belief is being part of
a community of people who believe the same – those who can be considered
as close as brothers or sisters.
Is one possible
without the other? Isn’t church just a Sunday club where people go along
out of tradition or hypocrisy?
we need to go to Church to Pray?
answer is no.
Jesus had the
hardest time with religious people –
The most respected
and religious people of his time, the Pharisees, were the ones who
crucified him. Before he died he gave them a hard time too –
calling them evil snakes because of the guilt-trips they laid on people,
and saying that even though they said and did ‘the right things’
– their hearts were far from God. So religion is something that God
doesn’t like – he looks for people who want a relationship with him.
A church can be a
perfect place to pray – the peace, the candlelight, the music… But it
can also be the worst; we might feel awkward, embarrassed –
uncomfortable in our own skin. What God values above all else is that we
are truthful and honest with him, and if our experience of church is that
we feel like we have to be someone else, then this goes against what Jesus
asks of us.
When we pray –
it’s not the place, or whether we have our eyes shut and our hands
folded that matters – it’s what’s in our hearts. Jesus came so we
could be ourselves – the very best versions of who we were created to
be. When he died on the cross, a huge curtain in a church was ripped in
two. What did this strange event mean?
The curtain was in
a temple in Jerusalem (in fact it was a place where Jesus often went to
worship). This curtain signified a division – a reminder to
everyone that only certain people where considered clean enough to
changed that forever. Because of his love for each one of us, he gave his
own body as a holy sacrifice; so that all of us have the chance to be
considered clean enough to go to God directly – without anything in the
way to stop us.
In simple terms
it means that we can close our eyes at any time and in any place and we
will be in the presence of a powerful and Holy God. No church, priest or
special words required. It means you can pray in your bed, out walking, on
the bus, on your own, with a crowd, looking at a beautiful sunset – or
even while sitting on the toilet.
not sure Church is for me Church is a bad word for many
people. Everyone knows someone who has experienced hypocrisy or worse.
There’s also the matter of a history of bloodshed, plus the church’s
influence in slavery, apartheid and other systems and rules which damaged
the lives of innocent people.
Any time there
is an organisation with great power, some people will ensure that evil is
done through that movement – and this is what has happened through the
ages with the church. It has been hijacked time after time, and this is
something, according to the Bible, which God gets extremely angry over.
church didn’t start out as an institution of power or a big old stone
building with everyone standing up, sitting down and singing hymns. It
started with Jesus and his followers getting together to work together, to
look after each other, to pray to God, to worship God, to listen to Jesus
teaching on different subjects, to share the latest news. It was more like
a rock band on tour than a Sunday morning at the chapel. They were a group
of people who were travelling around with a common purpose – to tell and
show everyone about God’s new plan for the world – and they needed to
eat together, share their finances and, most importantly, learn how to
love one another.
Jesus was not
against worship in a formal setting – he was a Jew, and he went to the
temple to pray – but he went there with a heart full of love for his
father. He knew that many people were only going to church because they
had to, or because they wanted to look good. Jesus taught that loving
relationships with a Father God and with our friends and family are more
important than rituals.
Through the ages,
this good version of the church has lived on. This church is where loving
relationships exist, where people worship God with honesty, and where
vision and purpose has made change possible in the world. Anti-slavery,
social and civil rights have all come from groups of believers standing up
If you decide to
follow Jesus, God desires that we have other people in our lives who
same – people whom we can consider as close as brothers or sisters.
You might not think that such friendships are possible or even desirable
in the churches which you know about. But Church is changing.
As well as
the traditional style of churches that meet on a Sunday morning, there are
groups which meet in people’s homes, and groups which meet in cinemas or
schools. Some Christians choose to live and work together, sometimes on
poor housing estates, and there are even churches which meet in Costa or
Starbucks cafes. With a bit of effort you could find like-minded
people who will become friends for life.
easier than you think...