Lenten Meditation Two

Learning to give our thoughts to God.

In our last meditation we reflected on our Baptism and Confirmation. We reflected on how they would prepare us for the desert, the wilderness, the life of the unknown. We continue now to meditate on what it means to repent as a way to change our lives, our thoughts, our actions, as opposed to simply lamenting our past.

Our life in Christ puts us back on the road with a new heart, new perspective, new attitudes, new desires! This requires constant recalibration of our thoughts. We need to learn to think what comes naturally, then let go of it and then allow God’s new thoughts to enter our hearts and minds. This is a process and we are going to work at learning a method of how to interact with God to allow this transformation to take place.

In our prayer of confession, we say – “cleanse the thoughts of our hearts that we may serve you in newness of life!” for our thoughts to be cleansed we need to present them to God and have them washed and transformed and converted in us.

May this meditation bless you as you seek to repent and be transformed.

What is the vision that you have for your life in Christ – I’d like you to think about that and write a mission statement for your life.

As we walk through the wilderness this Lent, we are going to mix the metaphors and do a meditation called “the river of life” and end with a transformed vision – you see you are living up to your vision at the moment, even if you have not articulated it – life is happening to you even where you are not proactively living it prayerfully.

Your life is influenced by and directed by your thoughts, aspirations, prejudices, and desires – consciously or subconsciously!

Prayer is how we transform our lives and live intentionally!

 – prayer is an interaction with the Spirit of God that engages you in a process of being molded and healed and receiving your sight.

Sometimes prayer will be an instant healing;

Sometimes it will be gradual,

But, it will always be miraculous.

So close your eyes and imagine that you are sitting on a bank overlooking a river flowing in front of you,

if you wish write down (you can open your eyes to do that) but write down or draw, however your mind works, a word or image just; jot it down….

What does your river look like?

  • Flat water
  • Rapids
  • Waterfall
  • Windy – have you ever seen an oxbow lake
  • Wide narrow
  • Maybe in flood
  • Maybe a dry river bed

Which biblical story does your river remind you of…think of it, now let go of the biblical story and think of your stretch of river – maybe it is a bit of everything.

Now imagine that your family is on a boat floating down the river, what sort of boat does your family sail on – fishing vessel, container ship, luxury cruise liner, choose one that describes them – don’t get on the boat with them, don’t try and get them to change their boat, just pray for them….pray about what you see and feel as you watch that boat.

Now let that boat sail having trusted God with them – watch it go – how do you feel about your family, or a specific family member as it sails away, pick an emotion …name it, hold onto it.

Now imagine a ship that is that emotion:  be it love, fear, anxiety, pride: whatever the emotion that you feel for your family is …. Look at it – 

Don’t get on that ship, don’t ignore it, don’t try to sink it, just allow that emotion to fill your mind ……

now give that emotion to God and let it float down river…..

What do you feel now – and you can repeat this exercise with every emotion with every family member.  Experience this new way of praying.

Your river might have changed as your family boat and the emotions towards your family floated on it –

go back to your river, and see it afresh and think of the changes when you focused on -your marriage,

 children, your memory of what you had in marriage or with your children…..

Now this prayer exercise could take you all day and I encourage you to revisit your family on the river and allow God to transform your hearts, and heal you….

Remember as you pray to allow yourself to feel, allow your emotions to surface and be recognizable to you, before you let it go giving it to God. Often we make our prayers about change, but we haven’t yet admitted to how we currently feel, act, understand – and so use this prayer to be honest with yourself and God, this is the difference between denial and transformation.

As you meditate –

Don’t board the ship – don’t try and influence your picture, don’t try and manage it,

Don’t try and sink the ship and deny your feelings or fear, just see the ship for what it is.

Then commit the situation to God and allow Him to change your heart.

This might be a very different way of praying… so refocus, you have the river, it has banks  – Jesus said I am the river of life, the living water, rivers are plenty in scripture, Ezekiel sees one flowing from the temple, John speaks of the river in the Revelation, Moses divides one, Elijah and Elisha divide the Jordan, The priests enter floodwaters and cross over to Jericho… you have read of many people walking with God at the river, now it is your turn..

Look at your River and think about where God is and what he’s doing.

Now picture the church floating down the river, what sort of boat is it, an Ark like Noah’s, a fishing boat like Zebedee’s, a merchant ship like the one St Paul sailed on, was shipwrecked on, or maybe Jonah’s, to Tarsus….

What does your boat * ALL SOULS look like to you?

Who’s in that boat?

What does the All Souls boat look like to you?

 Don’t leave the bank – don’t jump on – look….give that picture to God, give *All Souls to God

 How does that feel?

  • What Picture  did you just give to God?       
  • What emotion did you just give to God?

 Now let it go don’t chase the ship down the river come back, let *All Souls go.

What happened to your river when you thought of *All Souls, what rocked your boat?

What feeling are you left with now?

Now imagine that that feeling is a boat –

Don’t try to sink it, don’t try to board it just name it before God, see it and then commit it to God and let it sail….. Trust God with it…

How do you feel now, sitting on the bank looking at your river,

Normally you pray telling God what to do with what you see, tonight you just handed it to him, trusted him with it, didn’t criticize, didn’t judge, didn’t try to change it.

All the things we usually do in prayer, maybe you did – maybe every ship that sailed on your river , had your judgmental eyes cast over them…. Hopefully God healed you of that, if not now, then keep going back to the river, keep letting that ship sail past and just give it to God ask him to change the way you look at it when you are not trying to steer it, captain its occupants, or maybe even sink it, 

Your emotions are an important part of your spirituality, especially in terms of Repentance –

It is possible for how you feel and what you believe to be at odds with each other – especially in times of grief – but also in areas of obedience to God around normal daily situations.

It is quite possible to believe that you must love your enemies and yet have emotions of hatred surface every time you think of them – repentance enables you to let go of the emotional response and embrace the spiritual response – if you stop having the emotional response the person is no longer an enemy you have befriended them.

Your act of repentance must therefore be – Lord I have responded with hatred – which informs me that this person is an enemy – now Holy Spirit give me the power to love them!

That’s very different to being trapped in the cycle of saying sorry that you have enemies.

You will always have enemies

You will always have conflict

  • Substitute with the name of your own church

You will always have challenges

But more so you will always have God who wants to heal you and empower you.

May the God of Hope transform your hearts and minds, that molded in the likeness of Christ you may walk in His ways and serve to His glory.  “Amen”

Author: admin

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.