About Me

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I am a special education teacher in England, working in a mainstream academy with a centre for children with learning difficulties. I teach a class of 7 students of secondary age with profound and multiple learning difficulties. These include autism, visual impairment and sensory integration disorder. I love love love my job. It inspires ,enthuses .and lifts me and I never intend to retire. :)

Monday, 23 August 2010

Prayer works?

I feel very uncomfortable when I hear or read the phrase "prayer works!" on a number of levels. Firstly it appears to refer to prayer as a kind of separate power from God. The power of prayer does not exist alone; its the power of God Himself who heals, creates , restores. If we pray to a pink cow would that have the power to help us? Of course not.
Is prayer a kind of list of requests for what we need and want for ourselves and our friends ? Sometimes it is, certainly , He is our father , our daddy , and what child doesn't come to their loving father and ask for things. He expects that,even wants that of us. He is the great Giver of all good things. However He is not a slot machine, we put the penny and He delivers the chocolate . Prayer is so much more than that,just as being a christian is more than believe or action :its about a relationship with God .
In prayer we come before our Lord ,as we are, no words, to know Him better. We spend time in His presence in order to change and become more like Jesus, and hopefully so we can share His love with the world.As we put our inner desires before Him He may not change our circumstances but He will change us and as we grow closer to Him He will give us the strength to deal with all life throws at us, and we'll know His love and comfort with us.
In the past year I have made many requests to God about my life. Prayers for what I want, prayers for escape from pain and bad circumstances, prayers for change.Very few of these prayers have "worked". But of course I haven't stopped praying.Because in the past year I have prayed virtually every day for at least half an hour God has been so close to me. I've known His strength, His guidance, I have listened and heard His will for me and known His peace. I pray and He answers with HIMSELF! What more priceless treasure could I have??
Because God is my Father creator, saviour, and Lord He knows better than me what is right for me , what will serve His best purpose in my life. In His presence I can learn to trust Him for the future and for all he can and will do for me and my innermost desires.When my marriage ended I prayed that God would give me my husband back and He didn't. He knew that it wouldn't be the best way for me and probably not for my husband either, and I am so glad He didn't answer that prayer. On a larger,more global scale Nelson Mandela spent 30 years in jail in South Africa. How many times must he have prayed for release, for an end to his suffering? It is my understanding however that if as a young man Mandela had led his people he would have done it in his youth and fervour and anger in a violent way, no doubt leading to no change or peace. That time in prison changed Mandela, in God's presence, to a man God could use to bring about a change for the country , south Africans and the world.

For me the question isn't does prayer work? Its do we seek Gods face or His hands? This has been His message to me for the last few weeks. Seek my face, that is God for Himself and not what He can do for you. Then as you do you can become a place of blessing for others , not in a place of blessing for yourself.

A friend of mine told me a story about how it was thought that God should be put on trial for what the Jews went through in the war and so he was: all the evidence examined , cases for and against presented , and He was found guilty. Guilty of pain death abandonment of His people. So when this shocking conclusion had been reached what do we do? Well we pray!

When Jesus was on earth and after a controversial talk people were turning away in their droves He turned to His disciples and said "do you want to leave too" and Peter said " to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and come to know that you are the holy one of God"
To whom shall be go indeed? I know that in my life whether prayer "works" or not I will seek Gods face. He is the only one who can make a difference, the only one to turn to, and I am happy to know that my times are in His hands.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Walking a mile in their shoes

I have always known that unless people have suffered from depression they don't really understand it . They may sympathise, they may have read up on it but that genuine understanding isn't there . I remember after being diagnosed with depression how much comfort I got from a friend who also had it . When I told her I wanted to dig a hole, get in and cover myself with leaves she didn't look at me as if I was mad , she said " oh yes , the need to hibernate that's normal" and when I told her I felt as if my brain was paralysed and I couldn't think or make decisions or do anything at all , that was in her experience too.

But suffering in one way doesn't seem to to help us empathise with another sort of suffering . I am certainly talking about myself here , and I suspect I am talking about us humans in general, such feeble selfish beings that we are . It wasn't until I had a divorce, that I understood the issues involved . I had always thought I was compassionate and caring to those in that situation but I hadn't realised the experience of bereavement and loss that it brought with it: lost plans , lost hopes and a lost future , as well as loss of a person who had been important enough to you to envisage sharing your life with . Again when having an emergency Cesarean and immediately afterwards , I was shocked at the strength of my trauma and distress . How many times had I felt sorry for someone, made noises of sympathy , prayed for them even, without realising what
what a truly horrid experience it was . The shock, the loss of control , the fear of what might happen . Each time I have suffered another of life's traumas I have made a mental note eg " if I know someone who this is happening to I must do such and such or say such and such.

Recently , after a horrible year of my life , it has seemed I have been ill with one thing , then another with no let up. I have spent 3 weeks of the holidays simply resting in the hope that my total exhaustion will go away . As I began to feel better I started to plan the activity of the next 3 weeks . Visiting friends , helping people, baking and cooking , planning for next term. I woke up on Monday morning raring to go and guess what ..... I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder while asleep [ yes that's right!!] and was in agony and barely able to move!

As I chuntered through the morning , moaning at God in self pity about how utterly fed up I was at never being right or healthy or able to do anything , I worked myself up into a state of misery where I felt I was a useless lump , helpless and dependant on others , no use to God or man and why why why and ended up crying for ages You can imagine it I've no doubt - not a pretty sight .lol Whilst sobbing I remembered [or was reminded ] of a lady at church who is in constant bad pain and in a wheelchair, completely dependant on her husband for most things . Also another close friend who is diagnosed with ME , often in bad pain and unable to do much without being exhausted and who cannot work or carry out an active ministry for God. It pulled me up short . I'm not saying that my very limited and temporary pain made me experience what they're going through , but in a very small way it gave me idea of what I was feeling might be like, multiplied a hundred fold .

I'm not saying whatever we suffer theres always someone worse off. Any suffering by an individual must be borne by them as best they can , without comparisons , but in future I want to use any experience of pain to turn my mind to prayer for others and my life to be one of real empathy for others in need . Also I'm praying that God will give me discernment when I meet others in need , as to what they are feeling and what they need from me that I can see with Gods eyes and feel with Gods heart .

This is sounding very depressing and miserable post , but I've saved the most wonderful bit till last. What an amazing example of love and empathy we have in our God . He didn't feel compassion for us from a distance , but in Jesus God became man . He has felt exhaustion and pain , hes been rejected and hated by those he loved, hes been unjustly accused and tortured and murdered . He understands how we feel in these and more situations . And He not only has been where we are so He can comfort us but He calls us through it to His resurrection and His purpose in us and through us will not be thwarted . !!

Ands thats a thought worth reflecting on . God bless x