Two Ways to Live (<<Click here to read)
When we study the history of our human species we discover very quickly that humans have always, from time immemorial sought to reach out to God in some way. Worship, prayers and rituals of various kinds are used by all societies from the most ancient times. Special prayers were often framed around life’s most important moments; the birth of a child, the transition to puberty; occasions such as marriage and death. In fact, religion has played a very important role in the lives of people all over the world for most of history. In reality it is very normal to seek and to have a religious faith of some kind.
However in our post modern Western civilization an increasing secularism has come to be the norm in many lives. Some think that this is the real reason for our inner “angst”, our unsettledness, our inner emptiness, the mindless substance abuse and a prevailing sense of hopelessness and the sense that life has no meaning.
It was an ancient saint, St Augustine, who once wrote” Lord you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless 'till they find their rest in you.' Augustine understood that human beings need to be in a relationship with God if they are to be truly fulfilled. It is true that we are made for relationships. When our relationships with friends and family are in good order we are much happier and more settled. When we are left in isolation for to long ( say as in a case of solitary confinement) we begin to unravel, to come apart psychologically.
Human beings are not solitary but social beings. However, spiritual writers would say, we are beings also made for a relationship with God and when this relationship is missing in our lives we always feel that things are not quite right; that something is missing. That is because a vital relationship is missing; one with God.
People who have lived close to God have known a certain abundance of life. St Paul , the Apostle would speak of a “peace that passes understanding” and “a joy unspeakable”. The ancient Psalm writer would invite us to “taste and see that the Lord is good,”for “in thy presence there is fullness of joy”. Those who have built a relationship with God seem to have an inner richness and abundance of life. We build that relationship through prayer.
Prayer is not necessarily learned in a book. Prayer is just talking to God and you can do that anywhere and anytime, in your own language as long as you remember to speak reverently (respectfully ) to God. You can confess your sins and find forgiveness(and peace); make requests for things you need and thank Him for the good things you already have. Find a quiet place where you can be alone with God and begin to build a relationship that will change your life in the most beautiful and dynamic ways.
Sometimes people feel they have done too much wrong; made too many mistakes for God to accept them. However, that is precisely why Jesus died on a cross on that first Good Friday; to take the punishment for our sins and make a way for us to be freely forgiven before God. So now when we ask God’s forgiveness we can be truly, freely and permanently forgiven and get a fresh start with God. What’s more, through prayer, He gives us His grace (inner strength) to help us with life and to help us to live better lives.
You will also find that prayer changes things as God answers you sometimes in the most remarkable of ways. As you begin to grow in your relationship with God you will begin to realize that God actually loves you and has a wonderful and good purpose for your life.
If you would like to know more about life with God, try reading the New Testament ( 2nd half of the bible) which is available in most bookshops and Libraries or you can contact me at the Church on Sundays and Tuesdays or on the above phone number. Also we have a Discovery group that people may join to learn more about life with God in a free and non threatening environment, which you may join if you wish. May God Bless you as you seek to build a relationship with Him by prayer.
Fr. Stephen Powter