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In The Interregnum September 2022

REV JOHN K-SWhilst St Andrew's Church is in interregnum, this page will see a variety of authors from St Andrew's Church and the Diocese
This month we hear from the Rev John Kinchin-Smith, member of the ministry team at St Andrew's


“Lord, teach us to pray.” Such was the request the disciples made to Jesus on one occasion, after they had watched him at prayer. Prayer remains perhaps the greatest mystery in which the human being can participate. It is to enter not only into the deepest mystery of God himself; but also to find at times, in the very act of such entering, both absence and emptiness. Prayer is hard because it demands commitment and perseverance in the face of such discouragement. Yet it has been said truly that “the mightiest force in the universe is the Son of God who rules in heaven by continually making intercession for us”; and that “heaven is a place of prayer, so praying is the best practice for being there”
 
On one level, prayer is the most natural activity in which human beings can participate. As St Augustine said, “O God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you”. Yet those who have tried to pray also know that prayer can be very difficult, and that one is often left feeling that there are depths of prayer that one glimpses but which always remain beyond reach. This should not be surprising, for at its heart, prayer is the most intimate expression of our relationship with God. As with any relationship, there are times when intimacy comes easily and naturally, but other times when it requires hard work, discipline and commitment
 
Again, in human relationships, there are levels of intimacy, from the formal (as at the beginning of any relationship), to the deepest intimacy of lovers. Relationships grow, develop, and deepen over time, and that applies also to our relationship with God. In my own adult prayer journey, the most profound insight at the beginning was that prayer was possible because God was real and because he really cared about me. No concern or request was too trivial to bring before him. As time went on, my knowledge of God grew and so did my relationship with him. There were moments of liberation, such as realizing that God knew me intimately, that I couldn’t pretend or hide anything from him, but that God never ceased to care for me. This again reflects those deep human relationships where we know that we are unconditionally loved for ourselves, and not for our gifts, possessions or achievements. But this also has its cost because prayer will always lead us to a more true and honest awareness of our weaknesses and failings!
Sometimes, as in any relationship, words become unnecessary and it is enough just ‘to be’ with the other and to rest in their love
 
courtesy of St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine

 


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