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A Methodist Way of Life: worship

prayer

We will pray daily

It is nothing new or revolutionary. I can recall being taught from Sunday School days about prayer and praying regularly. As I got older it went from prayers 'at the foot of the bed' in the style of "Christopher Robin saying his prayers" to quiet times with study notes and prayers. From young teenage years through to older age there is a wide variety of resources to help us spend time with God.

There is no right or wrong way of doing this. I have an app on my iPad called "Daily Prayer" and it follows the pattern of Morning, Afternoon and Night Prayer using the Church of England services. I find this pattern very helpful because, like the Bible notes, it gets me reading parts of the Bible I would otherwise not normally turn to. It also has the advantage of knowing that there are other people all over the world joining in this act of worship, this daily prayer. Of course, for some, this will be too stilted or formal, whilst others will find a great freedom in it. Daily Prayer of this kind is a resource like any other.

There are two other practices that help me. One is to be able to sit at the piano and play hymns or chants. As I play it enables me to bring my own praises, thanks and concerns to God as well as to listen to God through the words of the hymns or where he leads my thoughts. In a very similar way icons, traditional and modern can do the same in a very contemplative way. Henri Nouwen puts it best when he says, 'Icons are created for the sole purpose of offering access, through the gate of the visible, to the mystery of the invisible. Icons are painted to lead us into the inner room of prayer and bring us close to the heart of God.'

How we pray is less important than the fact that we do pray. Jesus, when teaching his disciples about prayer, already expects them to be a praying people – see Luke chapter 11. Here Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer, a prayer in itself and a pattern for prayer. Like the patterns alluded to already, the essence is in coming close to God and allowing God to inform our living. For this reason some will say you should start the day in prayer, in the same kind of way that people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For others, it will be so central to their lives that it will be in the middle of the day, and for yet still others, the time that works best is in the evening. Whichever time of day works best for you, we are to remember that we are called to pray daily.
Every blessing
Ian

  • What is your pattern of prayer?
  • How easy or hard do you find it to pray?

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Appleford Drive
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OX14 2AQ

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