Coming Home: An Invitation to Intimacy

That was the title of a Ladies’ Day in Glasgow on Saturday, hosted by Albert Hall Evangelical Church and attended by women from several surrounding churches.

The day began with a welcoming cup of coffee accompanied by amazing cupcakes, provided by one of the ladies.

Then, after a time of worship, we got into our first session:

Coming Home – an Invitation to Intimacy

We thought about the invitation we all have from God:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 and explored how we can come to the Father with our weariness, whatever the cause of it, whatever our burdens may be. We discussed a biblical picture of the rest which is promised to us in exchange for our weariness:

“I have calmed and quieted myself,  I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” Psalm 131:2.

We also thought about another invitation we have from God:

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” Isaiah 55:1-3.

Here we thought about coming to the Father with our thirst and receiving wine and milk ‘without money and without cost’. We asked the question why we are able to receive the free gift of eternal life from God and then afterwards we so easily sink back into a ‘master-slave’ relationship where we want to earn merit with God, instead of basking in the delight of the ‘father-son’ relationship.

“Learn to define yourself radically as one loved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is an allusion.’ Brennan Manning in ‘Abba’s Child’.

The first session ended with a Spiritual Exercise where we were encouraged to draw a picture of our relationship with God as it is now and another of how we would like it to be – and then consider what steps we might want to take to reach our goal.

Lunchtime was informal as women shared packed lunches and browsed the books and crafts stalls where many took the opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping.

After lunch we went into a more practical session called:

Coming Home – an Invitation to Intercession

We explored several kinds of prayer here, ranging from prayer in our own personal, devotional lives, through prayer in different kinds of groups, to prayer meetings and prayer ministry. The ladies were encouraged to fill out an index card for someone they wanted to pray for – this is suggested by Paul Miller in his book ‘The Praying Life’ and I have found it a very helpful way to pray for people.

I shared testimonies of personal answers to prayer as well as testimonies of people who have had prayer ministry at New Horizon through the years.

C S Lewis said: ‘We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.’

We watched a DVD clip from Daniel Husain which, while humourous, made a helpful point.

This session ended with an opportunity for women to pray with one another and it was so encouraging to see women all over the room doing that.

 

Coming Home – An Invitation to Intimacy: Our Response

In the final session, we explored what we think of when we think about prayer and I quoted from Paul Miller’s book, where he talks about the results of a survey he conducted, which showed that 90% of people interviewed felt they had no functional prayer life – and 80% of pastors felt the same way. He says the 3 words most associated with prayer in our minds are GUILT, CONFUSION and FRUSTRATION.

We compared that to the relationship between a child and a father and thought about Jesus’ words: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” Matthew 19:13-15.

God’s kingdom is made up of people like these. People like what? What are children like?

  • Dependent – coming to the Father with our everyday needs, in the midst of everyday life, and with ALL our needs – spiritual as well as physical.
  • Transparent – just as we are – no pretence.
  • Persistent – the Father delights when we come to him and doesn’t mind how often we come.
  • Repentant – keeping the relationship right between the Father and us.

We ended the day listening to the music of Kathryn Scott singing ‘At the Foot of the Cross’ . Women were invited to come to a cross in the room where they could pick up a stone, write something on it and take it home with them as a memory of what  God had said to them during the day. Or they could go to a cross in the Quiet Room where they could leave a Post-it with something written on it describing something they wanted to leave at the Cross.

Several women availed of these opportunities and some came to the Quiet Room to pray through issues which God had spoken to them about.

It was a real privilege to be with these women – there was a lovely spirit among them and God certainly worked among us.


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