In East Anglia, the District has decided to dedicate 2023 to prayer. District Chair Rev Julian Pursehouse says:
‘Prayer is the very heartbeat of the Church and therefore vital to its life and health!
Pray 23 will enable the District to rediscover this ancient truth by praying more often, more creatively and in ways we had never imagined.'
Regular prayer is one of the twelve commitments of A Methodist Way of Life – things that we do individually and together to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission. Prayer is, simply, communication with God. There are many ways to pray which appeal to different people, so the District team is organising a number of different activities so that everyone can take part.
Ninety people from across the District gathered for a Zoom launch in January, and people were inspired to start new prayer groups or try new ways of praying. Fifteen people aged 12 to 75 joined a district prayer walking group.
A ‘Pray Through May’ campaign was really successful, with 36 hours continuous hours of prayer in Sawtry, and a 24-hour prayer room in Walsingham. People fed back that they had a 'huge feeling of peace and closeness to God', and a tangible sense of God's peace and presence. It was a special experience that 'will further impact the chapel worship from now on'. One person commented that it not only brought people together but also raised the profile of the worshipping community in the village and circuit.
Other churches are planning prayer rooms for later in the year. There are also plans for a 'Sunshine and Showers' prayer course, exploring some of the paradoxes that can be barriers to prayer, and encouraging participants to try prayer in new, fresh ways.
Could this be something we could do at All Saints? The East Anglian group offers four top tips to exploring prayer in our church, community, circuit or district:
All Saints Methodist Church
There is free parking in our car park behind the Church in Dorchester Crescent.