Fifty Shades Of Prayer For Churches

 The Blake family of six share my one bed-roomed cottage this week. They help lead youth and prayer ministries at my former church of Bowthorpe.

Pete Ward (of 24/7 prayer) and Andrea are here on retreat. Over a pint the guys discussed this question: ‘How do you sustain a really praying church?’
 
‘Don’t shoot ‘em, fire them’ is the first thing. Have lots of fires burning. That means discovering where the different church members burn, what their temperaments, interests, passions and pursuits are, and making prayer a natural part of these. So, for starters, here’s a ‘Fifty shades of prayer’ list.
 
  1. 24/7 prayer days are fine – but usually as a special occasional treat!
  2. Daily prayer is a vital spiritual discipline – but not everyone can do this.
  3. A prayer slips box in a shop or church.
  4. A prayer wall or board
  5. Prayer stations set out in the building to which any may come and go anytime may include praying with
  6. ikons
  7. mirrors
  8. clay
  9. sand
  10. music
  11. prayer books
  12. painting.
  13. A group may pray along a street a week.
  14. Those concerned with justice, community, or education, health may place prayer needs on a web site prayer board.
  15. Prayer texting or tweeting.
  16. Praying while walking, cycling or driving on group themes.
  17. Creation praying and praising in nature spots.
  18. One to one laying on of hands hours.
  19. Prayer partners or triplets/
  20. Healing wounded group memory prayer group
  21. Allotment holders praying
  22. Pray visualisation on high places
  23. Prayer in shops, leisure centres etc
  24. Praying with music
  25. Praying in tongues
  26. Praying in silence
  27. Ignatian prayer group for SJ temperaments
  28. Conversation with God prayer for NF types.
  29. Spontaneous arrow prayers for SP activist types
  30. Analysing scripture praying for NT types
  31. Emmaus prayer walks
  32. The Jesus prayer
  33. Chanting prayers
  34. Lighting a candle praying
  35. Body exercise prayers
  36. Breath prayers
  37. Prayer stops: morning, midday and night.
  38. Prayer through enjoying something with God
  39. Prayer through doing something with God.
  40. Blessing everything around you prayers.
  41. The Caleb blessing prayer for neighbourhoods and professions
  42. Lament in song, liturgy or silent
  43. Anger prayers – throwing stones into water
  44. Prophetic prayers
  45. Circling prayers
  46. Cross-shaped praying
  47. Dance prayers
  48. Church daily office book/breviary prayers
  49. Memorising famous prayers
  50. .. its your turn- send us your suggestions

The Aidan and Hilda approach to prayer in churches is to link prayer with the natural patterns of people and nature. For example, seasonal prayer processions. On February 1 (in ancient calendars this marks the coming of the season of light and Saint Brigid) a house blessing card could be delivered to each house with prayer before delivery, and Saint Brigid's Cross be presented to each shop and pub. In Lent a congregation could walk through the neighbourhood with a Cross and music of lament, and sprinkle spring water over places they pass.  A procession could celebrate the start or end of a football season with prayer banners for sports teams and leisure centres.  A midsummer earth blessing in the park, perhaps. At All Souls each house could have an invitation to come in to an all-day open church and light a candle in memory of a loved one as well as to pray and come to a service. Each member of the church could be asked to identify the form of prayer they find most natural or effective and be commissioned and listed to follow that calling.

Responses from blog readers who read te above:

 

How about finger labyrinths or ones made of yarn glued to card to be felt
Mandalas
simply being with creation - a vase of flowers or a few shells will do
 
Posted at 03:26am on 24th August 2012
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