22nd April - Thought For The Day - SOS
Words by Bev Jones
In my car, just to the side of the rear-view mirror is a little SOS button. Apparently, this is connected somehow to a sim card that’s placed next to the fuel tank (!!!) and if I’m involved in an accident of any kind, I can press this button, and it connects me straight through to an emergency call centre and a person who will ask me what I need, and then dispatch any help that I require.
If however, I’m involved in an accident and I don’t press the button, they send the emergency services straight to me – they apparently know my exact location thanks to the above mentioned sim card. I find this amazing, and thankfully haven’t had to use it yet, but it is extremely comforting to know that that help and support is on hand – whether I call for it or not. As I ponder this technological wonder, I can’t help but smile as I realise that this is exactly what we have in God. A loving Father who knows exactly where we are at any one time: Psalm 139 reminds us that,
...even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight... MSG
Photo by Victor He via Unsplash
Whatever we’re going through, we can be certain that God is there even before we call out to him. And even when we don’t call out to him, he knows exactly where we are and what we need. But just like any healthy relationship, our relationship with God is enhanced when we spend time with him, and that’s usually done by the thing we call prayer. In his latest book, ‘How to pray: A simple guide for normal people’ *, Pete Greig gives us an easy acronym to use that if practised routinely, will help us to grow and develop a stronger prayer life. He suggests the four steps that should be present each time we come before God in prayer are:
Pause as we come into the presence of God, still our thoughts and concentrate on his presence.
Rejoice even on those days that seem bleak, we’re told that God is right there with us. Give him thanks for that if you struggle to find anything else.
Ask for big things and small things. What’s on our hearts is important to God and we need to be honest with him.
Yield offering every part of ourselves to Him. That’s often a challenge for us as we’re not good at relinquishing control of those parts of our life that are the most important to us.
When I’ve practised this, it feels that the process is almost cumulative. Even just the act of physically pausing and focusing my thoughts on God helps me to encounter him in a more meaningful way, making me more able to then rejoice. Having given thanks, it seems to somehow help me filter the requests I make, so that it’s not a bombardment of everything I want, but a measured response to the work that God is doing in me at that moment. The yielding then seems to be a natural way to end a prayer time, recognising that I surrender my will to the one who holds my life in his hands, and who knows me better than anyone else.
‘Everyone prays... Even non-Christians pray. The difference when Christians do it is that they are climbing into the lap of their heavenly Father’
And by climbing into that lap, we allow ourselves to be loved, comforted and strengthened as we trust Him with our lives.
Bev Jones Mission and Ministry Coordinator, Bolton and Rochdale Methodist District