Prayer

Everyone else knows how to pray!

You are not alone if you think this. Prayer is something we are often not taught. How often do we sit in church looking at other people and wondering what it is they are doing in their silent prayer? They always look so holy. And here we are, trying to say something to God . . .

Don't give up

Prayer is like every human skill. It is something that we need to learn how to do. We can use books, or ask a friend, or seek the guidance of the Minister. But, in many ways, prayer is something that we do have to find out about for ourselves. God has made us all different, and so we will all pray differently. We will also pray differently in different situations.

What is prayer?

Prayer is the way that we keep in touch with God. Many people think they can change God: 'If I ask really nicely, then God will do what I want.' For others, prayer is a form of magic: 'If I say it in the right way, then God will answer.' Neither of these is true. Prayer is the way in which we open up to God, so that God can work in us. And God does always answer, although not always in the way we want.

What is prayer like?

If you love someone, you keep in touch. Prayer is the same. If we love God, we stay in touch. We talk to God and we listen to God. It's a conversation.

Getting in touch

To begin our conversation with God we need to get ready: to come consciously into God's presence, to sit in a way that is at once comfortable and attentive. Then we need to calm down. Normally our minds are full of distractions; thoughts just keep happening. One way of calming down is to listen to our breathing, the regular pattern of it. Another way is to repeat over and over, 'Be still and know that I am God.' After a while, we settle down, our minds are less full, and then we are ready to pray.

Getting through

When we are calm, then we can start to pray. Sometimes this means continuing to listen, just letting the awareness of God enfold us, like loving arms - we don't need to say anything else, the contact is enough. At other times, we need to say something. This can be anything: 'Dear Father . . .' or 'Hello, God, it's me again. . .' If you are going to say something (whether aloud or silently), then say what you want to say. God doesn't stand on ceremony.

Having the conversation

We need to take time to say what we want: 'Thank you.' 'Sorry.' 'Guess what?''I love you.' Take time to listen - to your breathing, to your thoughts and feelings. Be aware of yourself and don't push it. Give God time to speak to you. Conversations take time . . . and patience.

Keep in touch

Traditionally, Christians pray every morning and evening. The more we are in touch, the better it gets. The more time we take, the more rewarding it can be. As we pray regularly, the more natural prayer becomes.


Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, and He teaches us today -

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

 

PRAYER CIRCLE

Prayer Circle is an informal gathering and aims to meet fortnightly, but as our numbers are small (9), occasionally it may be postponed for a week. We meet either on a Monday or Tuesday evening at 7.30pm and members take turns at hosting. Most members also take turns in leading the evening, but only if they wish to. All are warmly welcomed into the group and there is no pressure to pray out loud -God also hears our silent prayers! 

A typical evening, might start with a reading, a reflection, some music or all three, followed by a short time of quiet, reflective prayer before moving into a time of open prayer. The latter can be anything from 15 minutes to 30 minutes or more, depending on how the Spirit leads us. This time of open prayer is often very powerful!  We are always more than ready for tea and buns afterwards.

The Prayer Circle meets in 24 Edgehead Village.

For more information contact Marylin Lacey on 01875 320938

or email - marylinanne@btinternet.com.

 Check out our Prayer Diary for a daily structure to your prayers, available through email or pick up a copy in one of the churches.