Written on Sunday, June 4th
Rosemary and I had the privilege of leading our final week in the Prayer Space. It has been a wonderful 7 weeks, in which we have witnessed some real growth in our prayer life. It was great that different people ran the prayer space each week, opening us all up to the many varied ways in which we pray. We learned a good deal from seeing things from other people’s perspectives. This was something we reflected on at the beginning of our prayer service this week, as we recalled the highlights of each of the past weekly prayer services.
Our focus for this week was on being open to the work of the Holy Spirit through us, in creating God’s Kingdom on Earth.
We started by focussing on ourselves and our relationships with other people. We tried an Examen: a prayer exercise from the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This ancient form of spiritual exercise/prayer enables you to reflect on recent past events to detect where God was present and discern what his will for us is. (See http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen if you would like to find out more. There is also an excellent app available for download, which gives a wide choice of daily exercises.)
We then mulled over a large copy of our parish map, reflecting on our immediate neighbours, especially those who might be in need of prayer at the moment. We also looked at those parts of our parish we seldom reach and prayerfully discussed ideas for approaching these areas. At the time of writing, there are still some paper “footprints” left out for people to write down any bright ideas…
The focus then shifted outwards towards prayer for the UK: reflecting on the apalling suffering as a result of the recent Manchester bomb and on the forthcoming election – asking that the Holy Spirit will provide comfort and guidance, respectively.
Finally, we turned our attention to the world as a whole, praying for those areas of the world which we felt were in need of God’s love and healing and then imagining what our world might look like if it was right now restored to how it should be, free of sin and evil: “Thy kingdom come…”
We had a quick debrief on what the Prayer Space has taught us (by throwing around a Earth globe beachball!) and the broad consensus was that things have really “opened up”. Those of us who have taken part in the prayer services and engaged with the Prayer Space feel tremendously encouraged in our prayer life and uplifted. As one person put it:
“The best thing I learnt was that there were so any of us who really believe in prayer and hope to do more of it!”
Ideas are now flowing for even more ways we could pray – a prayer walk perhaps?
There is a sense of excited anticipation as to how we might now use the chapel more… a comfortable space for our Prayer Listeners to engage in their ministry? A meeting place for more groups of two or three people to pray for each other? Rediscovery of a quiet, comfortable corner for individuals to sit and pray?