On Sunday July 19th Gail Hunt led worship at Wesley Chapel. Gail recognised that we often find praying hard. She asks us to consider when we pray what God does? David Wilkinson an Astrophysicist, and Theologian at Durham University found it difficult to pray. He needed to find the right form of praying for himself. Was it easier for him to pray walking? Was it better for him to pray in the morning or in the middle of the day? He found it difficult to pray in the morning. He read books to find help with prayer. He still finds prayer the hardest thing to do. Why do I pray? How does God answer my prayers? Prayer always brings us into the presence of God. We sang, ‘Be still’ to help us relax in God’s presence, before Gail led us in the opening prayers and the Lord’s Prayer. We sang, ‘Your words to me are life and health.’ Jesus was praying in agony in the garden of Gethsemane the night before he died. In the psalms the psalmists cry out in pain to God. We too might perhaps have cried out to God in passion; then we do often find the strength. Paul after conversion suffers being beaten and imprisoned yet writes in great hope and joy, praying for the people. We heard the readings from Mark 14v32-38 and Philippians. When, what, how do we pray? Does God answer prayers? We need to pray without ceasing. We sang, ‘Pray without ceasing, pray’.
In her sermon she said how much we love answered prayers; we feel joy in our hearts, our world and our family. We become bolder and more confident and enthusiastic in our faith. However when we pray passionately we struggle if we don’t get an answer; we begin to question whether God is listening. What is God doing with our prayers? We can have a ‘Facebook’ type of Christian relationship to God, doing things for him and expecting him to do something for us in return. Maybe use prayer as a request box, telling him if he does this for us, we will do that for him. When God seems to be silent then we question his existence. Prayer is a bridge between ordinary life and a Holy God. It is remarkable that God wants us to talk with him in our weakness. We are to come just as we are and ask whatever we want and receive from God’s transforming nature. What would they do with the presence of God? It would be great to have conversations with God. We need to come and converse with God and be in his presence, as a child having a relationship with a parent. We have to accept God’s answers which are not necessarily what we wanted. Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane had struggled with the coming suffering but accepted it as part of God’s plan for salvation. We honour God in the morning, at noon and pray for those around us as evening approaches and at the end of the day we remember all that has happened. May Christ be before us, alongside us, behind us and all in all for us. Worship concluded as we sang, ‘Lord of all hopefulness and Lord of all joy.’