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Being not doing Jesus prayer

When Jesus Went Away To Pray

Photo by Diane Woodrow from near the top of Conwy mountain towards the interior of Snowdonia
View from Conwy mountain into Snowdonia

What does that mean? It occurs quite often in the gospels with no real explanation as to what it means. Preachers over the years have explored and explained it and so often it comes down to a doing thing which we’re then mean to follow – petitioning, telling, asking for, listing, talking with. The other day I got a different revelation whilst listening to a podcast on Spotify by Orphan No More talking about mediation – something that was almost banned when I first became a Christian because it was seen as Eastern religion, verging on demonic!! Thankfully things have moved on in the last 30 years.

The way Josh expounded Jesus “going to pray/going to be with his Father” I got this revelation that Jesus went off on his own not to talk, not to ask, not want for anything, but to just go back to the basics of who he was and who Father God is. And it was during this time that God revealed things to him – eg who to pick for his main disciples [Luke 6:12-16]. The more I allowed myself to just dwell on those verses and also on the “Be still and know that I am God” [Psalm 46:10] I came to see that as I pondered about peace and stillness with God so God could talk to me.

Earlier in the morning I’d been pondering an issue, done some journaling around it, did 10 mins of yoga, then sat for 10 mins just breathing in and out focusing on the peace and stillness of God and that verse. Almost as soon as my timer went to tell me I’d finished my 10 mins stillness what I felt was the answer to the issue fell into my head. As I was walking the dog later I wondered if this was what Jesus had felt like when he had been hanging out in stillness and peace with God all night. That suddenly he just knew who to call for his special twelve.

I wonder if too often we do too much talking when we’re with God or even too much trying to listen when actually he wants to get us to a place of trust so that our hearts can hear. Too often it is our heads, our minds, that hear but not our hearts. Doing this QEC counseling one of the things to learn is to stop, breath and listen with one’s heart rather than one’s mind. The mind is jumbled up with thoughts and shoulds and oughts and fears and anxieties and busyness. Meerkat/monkey mind, always on the alert. But our hearts know what we really really want. They are still and touch the peace inside of us. If I listen with my heart I feel peace. I think it gives me time to know what I really want, to feel what God wants for me, to slow things down a bit, and to let go of the meerkat/monkey mind that is constantly chattering.

I think if Jesus was fully human then Jesus also had to deal with a meerkat/monkey mind. If he didn’t then he wouldn’t be able to truly understand what we all go through. But he taught that to go away not to petition God but to rest in God’s stillness and peace we could hear the answers to what we need to hear answers to and let go of the rest. I think Jesus spent his times with God alone calming his meerkat/monkey mind and remembering who he truly was – which if Jesus did then so do I!!

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adventure Aslan being me belief Bible blessing christian faith hero U2 unconditional love walking

Why I’m still a Christian

I’ve written around this theme before but can’t find the posts to tag them. I am writing this now because I have been given an journaling exercise that is post-heroic. And I’m doing it without pictures for a change

I “became a Christian”, as the phrase was then, because I met something that amazed and astonished me. Yes I was lonely. I had just had my son and was living with someone who wasn’t his father in a house with other people. It was not a safe time. But something inside me was urging me to change. Some well-meaning Christians came along and knocked on my door. I went to their coffee morning and then I went to their church. I experienced an amazing spiritual encounter where I know that I met with the God who made the universe who told me He loved me and felt like I was being covered in a viscose glittery substance. I have since been told that was a Holy Spirit encounter. To me, at that time, it was like meeting the entity that made me, made my world, looked deep into who I was and how I was living and said “you may not being doing it all right but I like you. Come on let’s walk together.”
Since that time I read the Bible loads, studied Christian doctrine, theology, right ways to be a Christian, been on mission, led prayer journeys and set up prayer groups, done all that stuff and in doing it totally agreed with the U2 song “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” I’ve blogged on this and pondered this. I’ve tried to tame the mystery even though I know in my head “he is not a tame lion.”
I have reached a point in my Christian life where I am no longer wanting to be heroic, no longer wanting to tame the lion, understand the mystery. I have seen God let me down by letting people I know and love die with horrendous timing so that anniversaries of untimely deaths come at a time when we are trying to celebrate birthdays. I have seen God not come through on some dream that I believed He had promised me we would fulfil together. I have been angry and hurt and let down when it felt as if the mystery of God had turned out to be hollow.
Today I turn a corner. No that’s way too dramatic. Today I have decided to let the mystery out of the box and fly. I may never experience the viscous covering again, may never have a request answered as I like, but I know I have reached a point where I want to just hang out with the mystery, where I just want to be with whatever it is that I have tried to box as God.
So I’m still a Christian because I have decided that just as I don’t need all the answers neither does God need to tell them all to me; just as I don’t need to get it right all the time neither does God have to do what I think is right. I might even stop doing but learn to start practising and start just being. Not in that cheesy “oh I’m a human being not a human doing” but in that way that says it’s ok to just be me and for God to just be God, and for other people to just be who they are.
So I am still a Christian because there are no answers, no right ways, no clear paths but I do know that even through those dark paths the mystery that I call God is more than happy to walk with me and all my whinging and moaning and He still says “you may not being doing it all right but I like you. Come on let’s walk together.”