Be available for God, says bishop

|PIC1|Ability or inability do not matter to God, what matters is that we are available for him, says the Bishop of Shrewsbury.

Writing in a pastoral letter published in parish magazines across the Diocese of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Mark Rylands is inviting people to make a new start with God, our family and the world’s poor by making a new start with their prayer life.

Reviewing progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, he writes that more than one billion people will be in poverty by 2015 as a result of the global economic and food crises, while 78 million children are still excluded from education and nine million children die before their fifth birthday from preventable causes.

“In the face of such a challenge what are we to do? The Gospel and example of Jesus compels us not to turn our backs on the poor and vulnerable. So, redouble our efforts, strengthen our cooperation and solidarity. Yes. And as part of that effort what about a new start with an old habit? Prayer,” he says.

He said that many Christians struggled to keep a daily discipline of prayer and quiet during which they could be open to God and the direction of the Holy Spirit.

“However, if individually and corporately our relationship with God is weak, what do we have to share with the world?

“I have a feeling that to be better pray-ers we need to learn to be more natural – to simply plonk ourselves down before God and be ourselves; to come as we are with our concerns and those of others on our heart and mind.

|QUOTE|“Somehow we get the idea that to do it properly, we must screw ourselves up and be so neat like the first page in those books. And because we don’t think we can really do it, we don’t try!”

He reminded people that God loves the world and his people and that he has a special place for the marginalised in his affections.

“Part of our apathy may be that we feel useless faced with so much need and our own weakness and lack of resources. However, as some wise person said: ‘God is not concerned with our ability or our inability but only with our availability’.

“The lesson of the feeding of the 5,000 is that God can make a lot out of a little. He longs to work through us for his good. So, like the small boy with his picnic by the lake, offer what little you have to God and ask him to make a miracle of it.”