Welcome to the prayer pages, and the prayer life, of St Christopher’s church.
Prayer is both an invisible and visible conversation with our Father, and one that we engage in every day of our lives as Christians. Here, we share our experiences of prayer, and some tips on how to start that conversation with our ever-loving Father.
We are living in what feels like unprecedentedly troubled times. A phrase has come about – ‘doom scrolling’ – for the relentless rolling through yet more gloomy and despairing news stories. As Christians, who believe in the power of the cross and the work of the Holy Spirit amongst us, we turn to the Bible for reassurance, ‘You will hear of wars and rumours of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.’
And we also turn to prayer.
But where do we start? In Christian tradition, we start by opening our hearts to our Father with thanksgiving ‘Let us come before him with thanksgiving’ (Psalm 95, v.2), and by acknowledging all of the things, the stuff, the relationships, the feelings that have come between us. We are cleansed by this acknowledgement of failing and by opening our hearts to forgiveness. Just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to prepare them for the long path ahead of them, and to show them he was both their sovereign and their servant, we ask for the cleansing power of Christ’s care for us to bring us into his presence in prayer, free of the snares of the past.
When we have thanked God for all of the good things in our world and have acknowledged when we have marred his perfect relationship with us, we move to being in God’s presence.
If you are traditional, you may want to do this in silence in a sacred space. However, many of us are neuro-diverse, or consumed with busyness, or have children or people to care for, and may not have the luxury of a separate space for prayer or the ability to sit still. This doesn’t prevent you from speaking, heart to heart, with your Father. It doesn’t need to be hours, simply find somewhere that is comfortable for you: a walk in the forest, time listening to music in the background, a place that is just yours, even if it isn’t church!
And what words should you use? Try not to think too deeply about finding the ‘right’ words, God listens to your heart and hears the whisper of your breath. You might find a very simple sentence, such as ‘Lord Jesus, have mercy upon us’, works for you. You might name the people you love after the sentence or add the people who you have lost and long to see again. God is full of mercy and grace and will understand your message.
You might find also that the many prayer resources online, such as pray-as-you-go.org or the prayer resources of the Church of England (which are a bit more in depth) https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/daily-prayer may help you.
Whatever you do, just pray, just open your heart to God and allow His spirit, His son, His grace, love and kindness to change you into a follower of Christ, who shines a light into the darkness of our troubled world and reaches beyond the boundaries of themselves into a wider and more just world beyond.
‘His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His faithful love endures forever’ (Psalm 136, v.26)
Our theme at this time is wonder, and in the Old Testament there are many references to the wonderful things that God has done.
Psalm 40 has the psalmist cry out to God:
“Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll
I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.”
Lord, today is a new day, stretched out ahead of us, free at this moment from mistakes and missteps
Today let us be Your wonderful creation,
Let us be Your child
Full of gladness, our hearts turning to Your heart
Speaking of Your faithfulness
Let us hold up our hands in love to receive more from Your open treasury
And give it with love doubled and burnished by Your hand to those around us
Let us be open to wonder
Let us be filled with Your wonderful Spirit
Our hearts, our eyes, our hands
Proclaim Your saving acts to everyone
That You should so love us that Your plan was our salvation
Is almost too much to understand
Today, let us live by that wonderful truth
That You should Father us, in perfect love
That You created us to be loved and give love in equal measure
Is so wonderful we fail to grasp it and act with spite and anger
Today, show us that wonderful love again
And make us whole
As dawn breaks, and the day stretches ahead of us,
Make it by Your tender hand
A day of rejoicing in Your righteousness
A day of speaking of Your faithfulness
A day of doing Your will
A day of loving as You love us
Our prayers as a church:
God is good
All the time
All the time
God is good