So, why should I believe in God?
If you were to put that question to any of the folk at Immanuel, you’d probably get the answer “well, I just do”. And that’s simply because God has become so much part of our lives,that we no longer need to ask “why”, he’s just there with us all the time.
If you pressed us further, most of us would say something like “well, everything makes so much more sense with God in the middle, and without him, everything would seem purposeless, aimless, less colourful, and less full of life”.
There are lots of thoughtful intellectual comments about God, but like all relationships, you understand more about Him when you start to get to know him.
But why do so many bad things happen in the world?
Even Christians with a deep and rich faith sometimes have problems with than question.
Those of us who are parents will understand about children who have “gone off the rails”. We can’t control their lives, we can only love and encourage them to come back into a way of life which is positive and not self destructive.
And God feels the same about us. He didn’t create us as puppets to dance at his command. He created us as his children and gave us this world to enjoy and look after, in the same way that He would.
Sadly, some people choose to live lives that are the opposite of God’s standards. God challenges us to reshape our lives and this world in His image.
Why would I need to change my life if I got to know God?
Every relationship changes us; whether it’s marriage or family or friends, our lives are influenced (for good or ill) by the people we know and their views and opinions.
The more you get to know God, the more you change, because you realise the difference between his standards and the life you’ve been living. And that’s a process that never stops, throughout your life.
God doesn’t lay down rules about going to church or reading your bible, or prayer, but the more you get to know God, the more you start to realise these are all important to living your life the way He wants you to live.
Prayer is at the heart of our Christian lives. It has to be a priority if we are to deepen our enjoyment of God and to recognise God’s presence in everyday life. But it can be daunting at first.
Remember: Prayer isn’t a technique; it’s a relationship. It’s not about trying to persuade a reluctant God to do something, or to craft a perfect set of words to win God over. It’s a friendship, with many different dimensions.
It starts in the most ordinary, instinctive reactions to everyday life. For example, gratitude for the good things that are always happening to us, however small; wonder – we often see amazing things, in nature for example, but pass them by; or need – we bump into scores of needs every day.
Prayer is taking those instincts of gratitude, wonder and the desire to help, and stretching them out before God. Everyone has those instincts, so prayer is making our responses intentional and focusing them towards God. We therefore need to give prayer that most scarce commodity – time. The rule here is to start small; stay natural; and be honest.
Prayer can take many different forms:
- Spending time reflectively with God
- Thanksgiving, confession, petition (TCP)
- Being with God – with thanks, with sorrow, with people on our heart.
- Chatting (arrow prayers) – talking (a quiet time) – intimacy (silence)
- Offering the day to God at the start – practising the presence of God through the day – reviewing the day with God at night.
- Meditation – chewing the word of God slowly and prayerfully
- Contemplation – silently looking, listening and just being.