Vital to recharge your batteries
Think of mobile phones (if you can bear to). You want to make contact, you go to make a call, and nothing happens. It’s dead.
You’d meant to charge it up last night - you obviously didn’t. Until you do, this wonderful little handful of hi-tec is rather less use than a Mars Bar.
If you can’t bear mobiles, think computers. You switch on - but it’s dead as a dodo. What’s happened? You check the connections and find it’s not switched on at the mains. Do it, and the whole thing whirs into action.
We need to be connected, to be plugged in to our power source. Only then can the bits of kit actually work. That’s true of Christians in our ‘spiritual’ lives. What powers our spirit is God’s Holy Spirit. Our baptism links us into the Body of Christ - opened up to all the possibilities of new life in the Spirit.
If we’re to try to grow in that life, we need to keep the lines of connection open - the power source switched on. How do we do it? Or rather - how do we let God do it in us?
Christians over the centuries and across the world have used all sorts of ways of recharging spiritual batteries, but four things always seem basic:
- Prayer: time when we consciously turn to God, ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, and then talk to God through Jesus. Conversations aren’t all one-way of course; we listen as well, so we use:
- Scripture: God’s Word speaking to us, showing us God’s ways, above all showing us God’s Word made human - Jesus.
- The Sacraments: powerful, effective signs God gives us to be at work in us. Electronic kit is dead without the current coming through - but humans most basically need food and water for life. “I am the bread of life…” and “This is my body that is given for you,” says Jesus.
- Other people: we live, love, serve and learn among others. It’s our relationships with them that is the testing-ground of our spiritual lives. “Love God… love your neighbour as yourself,” says Jesus.
There are all sorts of ways of praying, and of using scripture in our prayer. Abbot John Chapman famously said: “Pray as you can, not as you can’t”. What’s less well-known is that he went on to say: “But whatever you do, don’t stop praying.”
Just go back to that mobile phone. You’ll recognise the phrase “I’m on the train”. The only trains where you won’t hear that are those with mobile-free zones - ‘quiet carriages’.
If we’re truly to stay in touch with God we’ll need at times to switch off our phone, and just go into the quiet carriage. Because in the quiet we can do our reflecting, our listening (all those four things above need time for reflecting on and listening through).
We can find quiet for our spirits in open churches, a corner of our room, a walk by the sea or on a park bench. We can learn to relax our bodies and still our minds, and get quiet even among apparent noise and activity. Then our spirits get a chance to be tuned in… We may appreciate the help of another Christian as we try to listen, to sound out with them how best we can pray - or to experiment with different ways of praying. For centuries Christians have been helped by ‘soul-friends’, ‘spiritual directors’ - fellow-pilgrims on the way of prayer and service, able to listen and reflect with us.
Christian priests and ministers are trained in this and used to it. If you want to talk about your prayer and spirituality, why not e-mail your local vicar? Surf this site for further details, or contact our spirituality adviser the Rev Ruth Tuschling on