This morning 'The Ladies' invaded my house for the first time. This wasn't just an opportunity to drink tea and chat - (which I am totally up for!) - but to spend time encouraging and supporting each other in prayer. It seems I am not the only Christian who struggles in their prayer life. I guess most of us at times feel as though there is a lot more to prayer than we are currently engaging in. Maybe we want to be able to pray for longer, be able to pray out loud with confidence, pray without our minds bouncing all over the place, or quite simply - pray at all. So if you are struggling with prayer, remember that you are not alone. I find this quite comforting.
So, with all ladies tea'ed up, I shared my thoughts and plans for the morning. As we were focusing on prayer, I wanted to begin by reading a few good scriptures on prayer. Good plan. However, I couldn't move on any further than John 15:16 -
'You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.'
While you would be right in seeing the prayer link in this scripture, it was the first part that really struck a chord with me. 'You did not choose me, but I chose you'. Wow. God chose us. Even though he knew what we would be like, what we would struggle with, what our weaknesses would be, where we would mess up, where we would be disobedient - he still chose us!
Can you remember your school PE days? Standing out in your PE kit on a muddy field in freezing cold weather? Right at the beginning of the game, two team captains are chosen and instructed to pick their team. All is fine if you happened to be a sporty and popular person. But what if you aren't? You shrink back, hide behind the more confident and sporty kids, and pray for torrential rain in the vague hope the games will be called off! You are always one of the last to be picked. Always. No one really wants you on their team because you can't run fast or kick a ball straight. Can you imagine it? Maybe you don't need to imagine it, because you remember it well.
Right at the beginning of the team picking - you hear - 'I choose you' and look up to see a finger pointing straight at you. There must be some mistake? They must mean someone else? But no, they have picked you, and not as a last resort - but first
This is what God has done. He has picked us. He doesn't look for someone else when he sees all our weaknesses and insecurities. He doesn't look for someone more able, stronger, prettier, more intelligent... He wants us - weaknesses and all.
So, be encouraged today. God chose you. He chose you because he wants you on his team. He sees the good in you; he sees your potential; he sees you as he created you. He loves you.
Amazing. Now we need to work through the rest of the verse ... but that's for another day.
Jo Royal is assistant pastor at Wessex Christian Fellowship and blogs at http://www.joroyal.blogspot.com/