What is prayer?
Prayer is talking and listening to God. We can pray any time, anywhere, about anything …
As we pray our relationship with God deepens. Jesus prayed often and when his disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he gave them The Lord’s Prayer:
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.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory, for ever and ever.
Different kinds of prayer
The word ACTS gives us a useful pattern for our times of prayer.
· Adoration – worshipping God for who He is.
· Confession – telling God we are sorry
· Thanksgiving – for all God’s gifts to us.
· Supplication – making requests for others and ourselves.
Words and pictures
Prayer does not necessarily involve words. Being still before God, open to God’s presence and voice, is prayer.
Closing our eyes can be helpful, as it removes distractions, but sometimes focusing on a Christian symbol can be helpful. For example, in St Mary’s church you might find inspiration from looking at a stained glass window, or the large crucifix over the screen in the centre aisle, or the empty cross of the risen Christ in the Chapel of Remembrance. You may like to light a candle there, or write a prayer on the prayer board. Prayer cards are available in the Chapel of Remembrance, in the North Chapel and on the chest behind the back pew on the right hand side of the nave.
Listening to God is prayer. God speaks to us in many ways: through our conscience, through other people, through beauty, art or music, through literature….to name but a few. We can also hear His voice through Scripture. For example: Listen to the promise of God’s forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) …and here is the promise of Jesus to all His followers: “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Some useful short prayers
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“Lord Jesus Christ, You have been through everything. Stay with me through everything.”
“Guide me now, O gracious Lord.”
Praying with others
Cycle of Prayer
This leaflet contains subjects for prayer on each day of the month to help you pray daily for different people or organisations linked to the church and the town. Download a copy of the leaflet here or pick up a printed copy from the back of the church.
The prayer committee usually organises a quiet morning, evening or day once a term. These are held in the Parish Rooms and are advertised in the Church News, on the Grapevine and also on the noticeboards at the back of church.
If you would like someone to come and pray with you privately, please contact us.
Listen to Bishop Stephen Cottrell’s insights on the subject of prayer.
Check out Bishop Stephen’s other video blogs.
Access the Church of England’s Daily Prayer Guide. This provides the text for Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, in traditional or contemporary language, complete with Psalms and readings.
Here are some other online resources for prayer which may be helpful and interesting. Most of these recommendations are from people who have used them. If you have any others that you think may be helpful please contact us.
Pray-as-you- go http://pray-as-you-go.org
Sacred Space http://www.sacredspace.ie
Church of England https://dailyprayer.churchofengland.org/daily.cgi
Praying each day http://www.prayingeachday.org/reflect.html
Contemplative Fire www.contemplativefire.org/
3 minute retreat http://www.loyolapress.com/3-minute-retreats-daily-online-prayer.htm
Rejesus daily prayer:http://www.rejesus.co.uk/site/module/daily_prayer/Northumbria%20community
Daily prayer http://www.northumbriacommunity.org/offices/how-to-use-daily-office/
Bible society lyfe https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/lyfe/lyfe-news/