August 2022

It was suggested to me recently that an article about prayer might be helpful to some of the readers of the Village Voice. Christianity is about knowing God (not just about God) and the way that we get to know anyone, and the way we get to know God, is through talking; talking with others and talking to God. The talking to God, we know as Prayer. We might believe that God knows who we are, and that he knows our life circumstances, but God loves it when we come to his to tell him what is going on in our lives; what we are finding difficult and the things that are good, and the areas of our life where we might appreciate some help.

When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, he taught them the Lord’s Prayer. In the early church the Lord’s Prayer was held with great respect and devotion. People who were preparing for their baptism were not told of the contents of the Lord’s Prayer until the second year of their initiation; it was a prayer to be written on their hearts. This prayer, that for many is just said by rote, was considered to be dangerous and politically subversive at that time. When we pray we might do well to start in the way that Jesus taught his disciples:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prateaches us to praise God, to seek God’s will, to ask for God’s help every day, to say sorry for our sins and be forgiving, and to resist evil.

But we don’t have to pray it all in one go; you may like to pause and add some personal, individual prayers that come to mind when you get to the Your name, Your kingdom and Your will. You might want to bring specific prayers to God for some of your practical needs at the give us, forgive us, lead us and deliver us parts of the prayer.

Many of us may have been taught to pray, kneeling beside our bed with hands together and eyes closed at night time, but prayer doesn’t have to be limited to such a time or place. Curling up in an arm chair for a prayerful chat with God is one of my favourite places and that can happen at any time of the day. Walking the dog and praying is a popular activity for some, as is prayer in the car on the way to work but please don’t close your eyes when doing so! Actually if we are out walking and praying with our eyes open we see so much of the glory of God in creation that we want to praise Him

The Church of England provide resources to help us in our day-to-day prayer. If you are familiar with the App Store on your mobile phone, the Daily Prayer app from the Church of England is really helpful. It provides prayers and readings for the Morning, Evening and Night, and praying those prayers joins us with thousands of others who also pray using those words across the nation and maybe the world. It is also possible to just listen to the Morning Evening or Night Prayer being said. It may take a few goes to become really familiar with it, but it is really worth a try. Some of us say Morning Prayer together on Amazon Chime Tuesday-Friday each week. Further information is available on: ttps://www.churchofengland.or g/prayer-and-worship/join-usservice-daily-prayer

Prayer is sometimes one of those “things” that we don’t get around to until we are struggling or our backs are upagainst the wall. I would love to suggest that it is helpful for us all to make time to pray in some way or other, regularly, daily, but some people tell me they don’t know how to pray. When prayer is a conversation with God (twoway) we have to learn to listen too, and with all things … practice makes perfect (or at least improves the experience significantly!)

May I encourage you to grab a coffee or a cup of tea, and sit down for a prayer chat with God.

If you have found this helpful and want to know more, please let me know.