This diocese has just had a week of prayer, using different ways of praying in varying places. I am often told by individuals, “I don’t know how to pray”; but there are many ways of praying and there is no right or wrong way.
Prayer is a way of communicating with and/or listening to God, however you understand God to be. As Christians we might pray to God through Jesus Christ, or through the Holy Spirit, others might pray through Jesus’ mother, Mary, or through the saints, however our tradition may form us, but our focus for those prayers is that all embracing, divine entity, God.
In the diocese we have explored some of the ways to pray.
Using the Bible, reading the words and asking God what they mean to us today. The words of scripture may be found in books, on the internet, in any translation, on advertising boards and even, at the moment, someone has displayed words of scripture around our villages. The Bible can give us words to reflect upon and to pray about.
Our church services have been suspended during this lockdown so people are finding ways to pray at home.
Some have formed a prayer space at home using images, words, flowers, candles and decorations to give them a focus for their prayers.
Others have studied the Bible, theological books, poetry and words from our worship sheets and hymns.
Some seek the peace and familiarity of visiting their local church to pray and all our buildings remain open for those seeking stillness, sanctuary and peace.
Music and singing can help us pray and so too can dancing. A prayer action can be helpful; lighting a candle, placing a ribbon on a prayer tree, writing a prayer request, placing a stone on a prayer cairn, offering their whole selves in prayer by helping and caring for others.
Many say that they find it easiest to pray and feel close to God outdoors, on their daily exercise, using meditation and mindfulness techniques to focus on what they hear, smell, taste, feel and see as they walk. Prayer does not need words and sometimes it is easier to listen to God when being out in God’s world.
There is no right or wrong way of communicating with God; prayer, at this time, may help us to focus on our own needs, our fears and hopes, and the needs of others too. Together we can pray, hope and trust in better things to come…to see the love of God, the light of Christ, at the end of this tunnel.
No matter how we pray, if we pray, when we pray or what we pray for…surely our united focus is the end of this pandemic and the hope of a brighter future for all people,
Amen, in truth, may it be so,