Quite often my sermons are about social justice and Church structural issues so for
today I have decided to talk about prayer and its importance to being a Christian.
Next month will see us enter into the Lenten period, a time of particular prayerfulness
and contemplation for us as individuals and us together as a church.
There is much to pray about and each one of us will feel more strongly about some
issues above others that currently tug at us to be remembered. For instance two
weeks ago I was talking to my daughter Gemma who has just returned to Turkey having
crossed over the border into Syria to take gifts of clothes and sanitary products
to those living in the refugee camps just inside the border. She reported on how
sad it seemed and how the people were telling her that they feel forgotten now that
Ukraine is all the headline news yet they are still living in a war-torn country
displaced from their homes. Let us not forget the many other conflict areas of this
world – Syria, South Sudan, Somalia and the sub-Saharan area.
Daily prayer is expected of all Christians and the experts in this field usually
recommend setting aside a special time for this. However, not all of us find our
days running to a regular pattern and things just crop up that we cannot ignore or
leave till later. My time is when I’m in bed just before going to sleep but there
are nights when the urge to sleep is just too strong.
When we pray is it formal scripted prayers that are most helpful, there are plenty
of daily prayer cycles available (e.g. on the CofE web site) or is your practice
like mine – the Lord’s Prayer then free form intercessions and contemplations. I
don’t restrict myself to one time in the day but can find doing a chore such as washing
up the dishes, pots and pans an ideal time to let my mind run over the affairs of
the day and days to come in prayerful contemplation. I stare out of the window,
looking at the garden and the birds or even the mouse which lives in the wall, it
brings a smile to my face. There’s a popular place for many to let their thoughts
turn to higher things, namely out in the countryside. One of our most popular hymns
has this second verse:
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Pause for sharing how, when and where to pray
I’d like to end with looking at a line of the Lord’s Prayer – Thy will be done on
earth as it is in heaven. It is important because it sets the framework for all else
we pray about – ‘Thy will be done’. For the best of prayer is not asking God to
do things for us and our neighbours but asking God to direct our thoughts to what
we can do for God.
On the Mount of Olives Jesus prayed to the Father as recorded by St. Luke in chapter
22 v42 "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but
yours be done." So when we pray ‘Thy will be done’ mentally add in ‘not my will
but yours’ just to get us into the right frame of mind concerning the content of
our intercessions. It reminds us of the moment that Jesus uttered those words, as
he contemplated what lay ahead for him – the cross. Perhaps that should be the test
for what is the Father’s will, if there is not pain or cost to what we ask for then
is it truly the Father’s will?
One last thought about private prayer – make it intimate, like talking one to one.
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray it was revolutionary in its directness.
To us ‘Our Father’ as an address sounds very formal whereas Jesus was more like
‘Hi Dad’! Revd David Watson when he was at St. Michael-le-Belfrey encouraged his
flock to this intimacy with God by illustrating the text on the reredos. On it was
the Lord’s Prayer written hundreds of years earlier, when they didn’t bother about
getting whole words on the line, it reads
‘Our Father which art in heaven, hallo’.
Chatty Crafts in St. Peter’s, Edensor
Last Thursday in every month 10-30am - 12noon
All welcome, any craft and any ability or if you are not feeling crafty then come
along anyway and have a chat!
LENTEN MEETINGS 2023
Coffee/ Tea at 10:15am, talk at 10:30am
in the Cavendish Chapel, St.Peter’s, Edensor - Everyone welcome!