SUNDAY THOUGHT 24.01.2021

“Be still and know that I am God” [Psalm 46 v10]

This is a most comforting verse and something that I have used often for myself especially when times are fraught as they are now. I don’t know about you, but I do tend to try and fill my hours with anything to distract my mind. Reading magazines, watching anything on the TV, crosswords, out for a walk when I can. All designed to take away from the stresses and weariness of these days. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about these and they are helpful in their own way at times. 

However, it means that by filling up every moment with “things” and “entertainment” that we are missing out on the essentials of “Getting close to God”. Taking time to “Be Still”, to take time for a good conversation with God. How much quality time do we spend in Being Still. It is not easy, for the phone and the TV or laptop or some form of Internet always clamour for our attention.

How to take time with God? Stop what you are doing, let go of what you are fussing about, completely give the next few minutes over to Prayer but not the formal prayer of the church but a word from the heart to God. Here is a wee story I found which tells of one way of taking time with God.

Mandy Marie asked her pastor, James Lettinger, to come and pray with her father Bob. When the minister arrived, he found Bob lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. And there was an empty chair sitting beside his bed. The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me Bob,” he said. “No. I was not expecting you,” said Bob. “Who are you?”. “I’m the new minister at your church,” he replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.” “Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door? “Puzzled, Pastor James shut the door.

“I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Bob, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus.’

‘Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I’ll be with you always.’ Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’

So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.” James was deeply moved by the story and encouraged him to continue on the journey.

We don’t need big words or theological language, just a real desire to know the Lord and have a conversation about our worries and hopes and concerns. Take time then to listen as God may answer in a whisper and not always with what we expect. How great is our God that He is mindful of each one of us whom He Loves unconditionally? Alleluia!!

LET US PRAY

Almighty and Everlasting God,

King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords, we praise You with all our hearts,

We thank You that we can “Be Still” in Your presence which gives us such a sense of Peace.

A Peace which only You can give, which lifts us from our anxieties and fears

To courage and strength.

We sit next to You, our companion and give thanks for your comforting strength.

Lord, today we pray for those in need of prayer, the lonely, the anxious, those in pain, physically, psychologically, or spiritually and ask for Your Kindly Healing Hand upon them.

We pray for the young people of our community whose schooling has been so disrupted and lives so changed, grant them Your strength, and understanding.

We pray for everyone in our community, especially the vulnerable, those just coping, those in need of help and support and ask that You send comfort.

We pray for all agents of care, all NHS staff in whatever capacity, all Key Workers who keep the country going and ask a Blessing on them.

Lord hold each one in the Palm of Your Hand.

We ask in Jesus name 

AMEN

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