Finally, I got somewhere. Along with the help of inspiration from the online facebook retreat ~ She Breathes Hope .I’ve made progress into the subject of prayer, and talking about my journey into faith.
Hebrews 4:15 NIV For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses … 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Early dialogue with God…
This scripture above is so apt to begin…I will say that this subject takes me through light & shade. I hope you’re ok with it.
I can pretty much remember when I started to pray, or at least seek refuge in the love & comfort of God…and talk to him. I was probably about 5 years old. A relative (in my husband’s family), and Christian, thinks this quite unusual. I have no idea if it is.
But suffice to say, nearly all my life He has been my refuge & my strength…and this goes way back. Long before I made the decision to be baptised.
Being part of a large family puts pressure on parents & the children, and can manifest itself in challenging ways. This is not a criticism, it just happens…God gave me space, a listening ear & peace.
An early morning recollection…
Visiting my grandparents. I was at the time a very young child. Seeing my grandfather suffering so greatly in illness, that which I cannot expand on, but an image engraved on my memory. The complete & utter exhaustion and sorrow on my grandmothers face…it was clearly unexpected for my parent, as there was a silence and shock about them.
I won’t deny this is a difficult memory to share. But it was part of the beginning of my dialogue with God.
God was with me on that day, as all I felt was compassion. How could one so very young comprehend that emotion…and not stand there and scream with fear. There was no fear.
I can only think that this was my beginning of awareness of God. I don’t recall being told He was my rock, but he was/is, being told I could chat anything over with Him, but I did & do, or being told much about his love for me, but I knew & know. Or knowing He, Jesus, is right beside me.
Deuteronomy 4:7b NIV ~ … the Lord our God is near whenever we pray to him.
Around this time I can remember being ushered off to Sunday School with my siblings, and being terrified by the lady who oversaw the whole operation. She sat at a table on a stage which loomed above us all when we gathered for the close…she wore very sixties spectacles (showing my age)…
We all seemed to be admonished for something, I don’t really know what. Perhaps she was trying to put the fear of God into us. Thankfully she failed, well certainly with me, I hung on to the love part. Or perhaps she was trying to dampen my spirit, as I was prone to climbing adventures with my sister..did she know? At least the leader of my group was less daunting.
The highlights of my attendance were stickers (so that’s where it all started), a warm classroom & being allowed to chat & move around, (unheard of in a 60’s school setting) and being invited to lead the Sunday school parade in High Church, carrying the Cross…a large and heavy brass one. Me!! I really loved God on that day…I almost burst. I felt so privileged, as I knew my family wouldn’t there, so I was surprised to be asked.
The church locally offered quite alot of outreach, and many of our neighbours were Christians, (unbeknown to us, we must have been upheld in alot of prayer). But faith & prayer did not feature in my family’s everyday life.
I did attempt church on my own at the age of about 11. Bumbling my way through the Book of Common prayer & getting completely lost…going red & avoiding Communion. I felt like a complete weirdo when the Chaplain/Curate kindly suggested I might try the family service.
Didn’t he realise I’d feel even more out-of-place being in a family service, err, …minus my family. And that I had to gain special dispensation from my tasks at home to attend church in the first place. So I stopped going. It was going to take another 16+ years to reach baptism. What does God think at these times I wonder? But my conversations with God continued.
Jeremiah 29:11 ~ “… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,…
I remember asking for a Bible. My mum very kindly bought one for me. I still have that copy of The New English Bible, not the easiest translation now that I have had opportunity to read some of others. And no, I’m not an expert. It has some lithograph type illustrations, which were interesting, but I’ll admit I didn’t have a clue where to start reading. I began in Genesis!
So my early chats with God began, slowly. It would have been great to have had more knowledge of prayer, I did know The Lord’s Prayer, that was a good place to start. God is so patient.
Thanks so much for reading. To be continued…
Jeremiah 29:13 NIV ~ “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Song suggestion ~
I Will Run to You ~ Hillsong