Thursday, 18 October 2012

Pray Without Ceasing

File:Pierre-Édouard Frère - Interior with Woman Teaching Child to Pray - Walters 371404.jpg

Source for this image here.

Today we went shopping in town.  As part of his birthday present, I wanted to give Papa Bear a new jacket.  That is the sort of thing that is best for the wearer to choose, so we decided to do that today, whilse the cubs were busy with college.  It was a lovely day out!  We got Papa Bear a beautiful new warm jacket to wear, and he surprised me by buying me several new tops, and also a new coat!  He said they could be part of my birthday gifts too - although my birthday was more than a fortnight ago!  They are lovely though and I am very happy with them - as is he, with his new jacket.
We had our lunch at a lovely little cafe we have visited several times before.  It is in a very old part of the town, where the streets are cobbled, and the shops are just as they would have been hundreds of years ago, with low, beamed ceilings and bow windows that almost touch the pavement, they are so low.  It was very nice to sit in the cafe, which is also very old fashion, with leaded windows and an open fireplace - which today, had a fire burning in it!  We were lucky enough to get a table right beside it so that we could enjoy the crackle and warmth that came from the burning logs.  It was wonderful!  We enjoyed plates of salad with something called "fidget pie" which we have never eaten before.  It is a savoury pie that has bacon, potato and apple in it - a real autumn dish.  It was delicious!  After that we had cups of tea as we were too full for anything else to eat!

I am getting a cold, so we have decided that tomorrow we will have a quiet day and perhaps just go for a walk if we feel up to it, and maybe the supermarket, though we might leave that for Saturday.  I am looking forwards to a rest day and a chance to catch up with the new knitting that I have just begun.  The last thing that I finished, a cardigan for Little Bear, was a very difficult knit indeed.  The cardigan itself was quite straightforward, although it had a lot of shaping in it, but it also had a lace collar that had to be knitted separately and grafted on.  That piece of knitting was extremely complicated!  I must have had to unravel it and start over at least 10 times.  I really had to persist with it - and concentrate, because as it was knitted with the pattern sideways on (a repeat of 13 stitches, over hundreds of rows) it was very difficult to see whether I had got each row right or not, and there was no way to set the pattern, as you do with knits that are done lengthways as they are normally.

As I knitted, I was minded of the way that, just as with this knitting, which was taking so much persistence and patience, sometimes in our prayer life, we have to have this attitude too.  So often I find myself wondering "why doesn't God answer my prayers?  Does He not hear me?  Are my pleas not part of His plan for us?"   It can sometimes be easy to feel discouraged, when we think that God does not hear our prayers, no matter how heartfelt they are.  And sometimes I wonder if I am not praying right.  Sometimes my prayers get distracted because something pops into my mind as I pray, and then I will start focussing on that, and not on my Father God.  Then the prayer has less meaning and impact.  And so it is, with my knitting.  When it is difficult, I have to focus hard on it, and not get distracted.  And I have to persist with it, and keep going.  Eventually it will get right, even if I have to wait much longer than I wanted, to get it finished.  Sometimes it seems as if it isn't really worth it - all that hard work, when I could be buying a ready made garment from a store.  But then finally it all comes together, and I stitch it up, and it looks beautiful and I know it was worth it after all.  That is how it is for us as we come to God in prayer.  Our prayers may not be answered straightaway, but we can be sure that God always hears us.  Sometimes it can seem hard to find time to pray, to spend time alone with God.  But even when it is, we must not neglect our prayer life.  As Paul tells us in First Thessalonians, we must "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5: 17).  God does hear us - and if we keep focussed, and don't give up, our pleas will be answered.

"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man". (Colossians 4: 2 - 5).

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