Agoraphobia

Hello, everyone. I am 61, and have suffered from agoraphobia pretty well all my life. I have clear memories of it from three onwards. I had no idea why I found going out so difficult, until I stumbled on a description of agoraphobia during a depressive breakdown. I was 26, and at that time agoraphobia was essentially considered to be untreatable.

So I had to put together my own exposure treatment programme, which I then worked at progressively for many years. There are still many things I can’t cope with, especially as chronic fatigue now limits my energy for stretching my limits. However, I still make sure I go out almost every day, to keep it at bay as much as I can.

My sympathy and understanding go out to all those reading this who also wrestle with chronic mental problems of any kind. I’ve written many prayers about depression, anxiety and agoraphobia, but as a gentle introduction, this is by far the most positive!

Agoraphobia
* O Most High, when I am afraid, I put my trust in you
(Psalm 56:2-3; NIV).
* Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
* The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:8).
* You will go out with joy and be led forth in peace (Isaiah 55:12).

Thank you, Father,
That every time I go out,
You are with me –
I am never alone.

I can talk to you,
Tell you my fears,
Ask you for confidence,
And beg for your help.

Rather than fearing
Your beautiful world,
Please strengthen me to face it,
And enable me to rejoice in it.

I ask this in Jesus’ holy name,
Amen.

Beyond our understanding

Hello to all readers. As promised, today’s blog is a companion-piece and contrast to yesterday’s, which looked at what God is. However, this time I’m focusing on what God is not. As before, I looked for all the Biblical references I could find that told me something about this, then drew them together into a single narrative…

 Beyond our understanding 
* How great is God – beyond our understanding! (Job 36:26).
* None can compare with you (Psalm 40:5).
* Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours (Psalm 86:8). 
* …his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end (Daniel 6:26).
* How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you (2 Samuel 7:22).

Living God,
Our heavenly Father,
You are beyond our understanding.

There is no God but you. 
You are not human,
Nor are you served by human hands. 

You are not mortal,   
And will never die.

You are not unjust. 
You do not lie, 
Or change your mind. 

You are not slow to keep your promises.
In you there is no darkness
Or wickedness at all.

You are not a God of disorder, 
But of peace. 

You are not the God of the dead, 
But of the living: 
For to you all are alive. 

You never forget the needy,
And leave us,
Or forsake us, 
For you are not far away
From any one of us.  

Living God, 
Our heavenly Father,
You are far beyond our understanding,

 

 

Beyond compare

Hello everyone. A few months ago, I searched out every reference I could find in the Bible to what God is, and made them into a prayer. Tomorrow’s blog will focus on what God is not.

Beyond compare 
* I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13).
* Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD – that you alone are the Most High over all the earth     (Psalm 83:18).

Living God,
You are our Father.

You are love and light,
A God of peace.

You are jealous, awesome,
A consuming fire,
A God who avenges.

You are near, forgiving,
Merciful and patient.

You are just, faithful,
And upright.

You are to be feared,
Great, mighty and strong.

You are worthy of praise.
You perform miracles.
You comfort and heal us.

You are gracious,
Full of compassion,
And slow to anger.

You are impartial, eternal,
And righteous.

You are truthful, powerful,
Unchanging.

You bear our burdens,
And save us from death.
You are our Saviour.

You are spirit.
You are good, holy and perfect.

Living God,
You are beyond our understanding,
And beyond compare,
Yet you are our Father.

Practicing the presence of God

Hello everyone. It can be frustrating to reach bedtime and realise that despite our good intentions, we’ve forgotten God throughout pretty much the whole day. Practicing the presence of God means being consciously aware of his nearness throughout the day, and when we wake at night. I’m no expert, but I do try, and can certainly confirm that this takes lots of practice.  Still, every day is a fresh opportunity to try again…

Practicing the presence of God

  • On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night (Psalm 63:6).
  • …when I awake, I am still with you (Psalm 139:18).
  • Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice (Psalm 55:17).
  • …surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

My dear Father,
Please help me to practice your presence
All day and all night.

Help me to remember you,
Seek you,
Love you,
Worship you,
Praise you,
Pray to you,
And serve you,
All day and all night.

That’s all I ask!

In the name of Christ,
Amen.

Darkness and light

Hello to all readers. It was a great relief to me when I realised the truths expressed in today’s prayer…

Darkness and light

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned (Isaiah 9:2).

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you (Psalm 139:11-12).

I myself will see him with my own eyes – I and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:27),

Father,
Thank you for showing me
That you are present in darkness,
Just as you are in light;
In suffering,
Just as you are in joy;
And in death,
Just as you are in life.

Thank you that beyond death
There is nothing to fear,
For you will welcome me home at last.

Then I will see your face,
And be forgiven,
Healed,
And reunited with you forever.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Relaxation

Hello, everyone. I wrote this little prayer last Tuesday, early in the morning. It was the day I got up early to go to the printer’s, where I finally signed off my little book, which will be printed over the next few days. It’s been a very steep learning curve, and hard work putting it together, but it’s a relief to have reached this stage. At times, I’ve been so stressed that I couldn’t relax into contemplative prayer at all, but perhaps it was unavoidable to feel that way, given my history of anxiety and fear. Hopefully, that stage has started to pass now…

Relaxation

But 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; NIV).

Father,
I reach out to you,
Opening myself to your love,
Slowly relaxing,
Slowing down in body and mind,
Then in heart and soul.

Thanks, repentance, intercession,
Supplication, praise and worship –
You have time for everything,
Because you have time for me,
Which is truly astonishing!

Monopoly

Hi, everyone. I grew up in an area of the UK that celebrated and fostered relationships between people of different faiths. There was no sense that any of us had all the answers, or were following a superior way. Some people now reject this approach, but it has remained central to my valuing of everyone as equals in the sight of God. See what you think…

Monopoly

The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made (Psalm 145:9).

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to  him” (Acts 10:34-5).

Father,
Do Christians have a monopoly on truth?

Do you reject every sincere Buddhist,
Every devoted Hindu,
Every faithful Muslim,
And every painstaking Jew?

Are all non-Christians destined for rejection,
Condemned to eternal separation from you?

If I had been born into another faith,
I would have learned
Other other names for you,
And other ways of seeking you,
Yet I would still have loved you.

Lord,
You create us in your own image,
And have compassion on all you have made,
So I cannot believe
That Christians have a monopoly on truth.