Sunday, 27 November 2016

Searching = praying

There are a vast number of different methods of praying — probably more than the number of people willing to pray. Prayer is a matter of searching. The search involves a life-long quest to know the will of God for our lives, and (perhaps more importantly) also search­ing to know God himself.
         Acronyms are a way of helping us remember a series of related words. An acronym is usually a memorable word or phrase made up of the first letters of the words we need to remember. The simplest acronym that help us remember the different ways of praying is ACTS, where the four letters mean, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Adoration. SEARCH is another. We will use the word ‘search’ as an
acronym to gain a fuller meaning of the word prayer.
S Supplication is a long word meaning ‘asking.’ Prayers of suppli cation often form the backbone of our intercessions in a church
service, when we ask God’s help to heal people, stop wars and
generally put right the wrongs we see in the world. The Bible
repeatedly tells us we should ask God for help, but some Christians take this command too literally and demonstrate greed: we are told to ask for healing and peace; we are not told to pray for millions of pounds for ourselves!
E Entering the presence of God. When we pray, we are not just shooting words at heaven, like firing arrows into the sky, or making a long-distance phone call. Rather, true prayer involves entering the holy presence of God. This insight lets us pray more effectively: if we learn the art of entering his presence and staying there, then — when we pray — the prayer becomes more real, and more life-changing.
We give the name recollection to this ‘art’ of entering God’s presence. With practise, anyone can learn its methods. Indeed, a growing desire to enter God’s presence demonstrates Christian growth.
A Adoration means telling God how wonderful he is. At first sight, adoration can sound a bit like flattery, but with an entirely different intention. God is infinite so we are, by comparison, rather puny. Unfortunately, most of us think more about ourselves than about God, which means that, deep down, we think we are more important than he is. The purpose of adoration in prayer is therefore to correct this misconception.
R Rejoicing, and saying ‘thank you’ to God for the good things that happen to us. Some Christians are slow to rejoice at the wonderful things God has placed in our lives; others clearly see God’s love for them even during times of suffering. It is worth noting that the Bible describes thankfulness as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Everyone needs to grumble from time to time. But those who complain all the time are unlikely to yet be mature Christians. We should expect to become ever more thankful as we grow as Christians.
C Confession means admitting to God those things we have done wrong. The Bible says that God knows everything (e.g. see the huge list of things God knows about in Psalm 139). Nevertheless, it is a good idea to be honest when talking to God: as with a
human parent who has discovered something unpleasant, it is better to confess upfront. And admitting our sins is often a first step toward repenting of them.
H Hearing God. Most of the prayer types mentioned above involve speaking to God, or reacting to what he has allowed to happen in our lives. But, like every other kind of conversation, we also need to pause often in order to listen to God. He does not usually speak to us in an auditory way, or at least only very rarely. Instead, he speaks to us through the Bible and through the everyday circum­stances we live through.

With practise, everyone can grow in the art of holy listening.  Indeed, the desire to listen to God is a sure sign of Christian growth.

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