Some thoughts about prayer

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Praying

From Helen Jesty

Some Thoughts about Prayer November 2015

A key ingredient that runs through all the Sunday Services and meetings that are held in our Church, like yeast in bread dough, is Prayer, expressed in many different ways. Prayer is central to all we do. Worshipping together builds up our faith and turns us heavenward in prayer. We often come out of Church with the words of scripture, spoken and sung, ringing in our ears: 'What a friend we have in Jesus..What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer"

Yet on a Monday morning I sometimes find my Christian life and faith is a bit flat. Recently at a Care Home, a resident chose a hymn to sing at our mid-week Communion Service and asked for Lord of all Hopefulness but she muddled up her words and said Lord of All Hopelessness! We all laughed and yet we acknowledged it was sometimes how we felt about situations we face.

One of Arthur Harvey's songs expresses it like this:' When shadows of darkness hide my path ahead, when problems perplex me and fill my heart with dread, even then will I raise joyful songs of praise.

I am going to share some of the ways that I have been encouraged by people in Alton ( all over 80 yrs old !) to be Hope Full so that even 'when problems perplex and fill our hearts with dread' we can reach out to God in prayer.

I have been helped ' to raise joyful songs of praise' by praying together with people in their homes. I also spend time with residents in the Care Homes and pray with and for them. It has been a great blessing when even in their 90's and 100's they also pray out loud! Another friend who has been a member of All Saints congregation for over 70 years looked at the smoke forming circles when we blew out the candle after Communion and said 'prayers going up'. It made us both smile.

In Borovere a wonderful Methodist, says she has what she calls 'a prayer cushion' so that when strength is gone she can rest in the arms of Jesus enjoying his presence and speaking to Him of what is on her heart. This reminds me of an email Peta Sutherland, who organises the Pastoral visitors in the Parish of the Resurrection, sent me recently. She passed on some words from an American friend:

'Visiting with God — just take your time and enjoy. You may feel different or oddly at peace.'

I was in the Methodist office one day and Jill pointed out to me that the words 'Listen' and 'Silent' have the same letters. It struck me that prayer can move beyond words as we listen and wait in silence in God's presence.

Recently the theme of the Communion Service at The Lawn was Prayer. Three residents kindly allowed me to place their special, much loved Prayers on the Communion Table. They were all in beautiful frames, as you can see from the photo, each one very precious. The words of these special prayers had encouraged me to pray and it was lovely that we could share them with others at the Service.

We also lit a candle and used the 'Peace' jigsaw to remember in prayer a resident who had recently died.

The smell of freshly baked bread is so tempting as the yeast makes it rise up, isn't it. May we as a Church continue to explore ways in which we can encourage each other in prayer individually and together and tempt others too into this life of joyful worship and faith in Jesus our Friend and Saviour.

Helen Jesty

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