When I worked with Drug addicts, many of their first encounters with Jesus were when they were in pain and cryed out asking for relief. For Many of us our faith began with petitionary prayer. Asking for stuff. This is a legitimate form of prayer. Many psalms do this. Discuss : Can you remember your first prayers ? What were they about ?
God is not only defined by what we want and ask for. Just as a baby begins with crying as a request for something, we grow to have relationships that are not solely about asking and getting.
Discuss: Have you ever had a relationship that seemed to solely be about you giving to someone else ? What was that like ?
One of our challenges is that we can caught in our own story (my hurts, my agendas). While these matter, as followers of Jesus we are supposed to be being caught up into God’s story and agendas.
Psalm 23 starts with the opposite idea. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (or I lack nothing)”. Psalm 37:7 (NIV) Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
Psalm 46:10 (NIV) He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;.
Today we’re considering how we might be able to ‘be still’ with God. Discuss : How easy or hard do you find it to “be still” with God ?
S.J. Martin writes “When I was a novice, silence in my prayer drove me crazy. One day I told David Donovan, “This is ridiculous! Nothing’s happening in my prayer. It’s a waste of time.” David said, “What do you mean?” “Well,” I said. “I sit down to pray, and not a thing happens. I just sit with God for an hour. It’s a waste of time.” David laughed. “Being with God is a waste of time?” Despite myself, I had to laugh. It’s never a waste of time to be in the presence of God—even if it doesn’t feel like much is happening.” Discuss : Is it ever a waste of time ?
Dan Rather, CBS anchor, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, “I listen.” So Rather turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?” To that Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.” Discuss : What do you make of that ? What would that look like in your life ?
Richard Rohr write “No wonder the Spirit is described
as “flowing water” and “as a spring inside you” (John 4: 10–14) or at the end of the Bible as a “river of
life” (Rev. 22: 1–2)…Strangely, your life is not about “you.” It is a part of a much larger stream called God.
I believe that faith might be precisely that ability to trust the river, to trust the flow and the lover. It is a
process that we don’t have to change, coerce, or improve. We need to allow it to flow. That takes immense
confidence in God.. Faith does not need to push the river precisely because it is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing; we are in it. The river is God’s providential love – so do not be afraid.
Take a minute(or more) out : Imagine yourself standing thigh deep in a river, it is the river of God’s love. picture it. what temperature is the water ? Is it moving fast or slow ? What is it like to be there ?
Discuss : What was that like ? How do you slow down ? When do you experience the presence of God ?
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 – Discuss: What have you found helpful in seeking first God’s kingdom ?
(Greatful thanks to Flaticons.com for the use of the river image).