Say your prayers
As you may know, I am a self-supporting priest which, in my case, means I have a full-time job working in my family business. Leading services and my preparation for them as well as visits and meetings are all done outside of my working hours. It doesn’t leave a massive amount of free time. This means that if I am not careful my prayer life can suffer. If there was one thing the Bishop of St Albans (who ordained me) told us prospective priests to take care of was making sure we said our prayers.
The great thing about prayer is that it can be done in a wide range of ways and times; the important thing is to pray. That’s fine if you find prayer easy, but it can be challenging and sometimes (often, in my case) we need some help. So I thought I would mention two or three resources that I use which you may wish to experiment with in terms of encountering different styles of prayer and finding the space to pray when you seem to be permanently on the go.
The first is: the Pray as You Go site (which you can access by clicking here - and they also do an app). It has loads of tools: from daily prayer to a section entitled ‘going deeper’ and meditation exercises. I find the daily prayer a really good way of praying when I am out walking the dogs or travelling.
The second is the Daily Prayer of the Church of England. This link has audio as well as full text versions of the services of daily prayer, namely: morning prayer, evening prayer and compline.
The third (which I have yet to listen to but looks good) is a series of podcasts from the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, on ‘Prayer – where to start and how to keep going’. You can find it here.
More locally, you can join the Julian Group led by Canon Alan Hodgetts on the first Monday of every month for half an hour’s centring prayer. There is also the Tuesday and Thursday morning prayer by Zoom which Mark and I lead. Please do speak to any of us if you want to know more.
I was told by a wise person: pray as you can, not as you can’t. I hope, especially if you find prayer difficult, you might explore these suggestions and find something that appeals to you to encourage you on your life of prayer.
Readings for the week
Monday: Ss Philip and James: Isaiah 30.15-21; Psalm 119.1-8; Ephesians 1.3-10 and John 14.1-14
Tuesday: Acts 7.51-8.1a; Psalm 31.1-5, 16 and John 6.30-35
Wednesday: English Saints and Martyrs of the Reformation Era: Ecclesiasticus 2.10-17; Psalm 87; 2 Corinthians 4.5-12 and John 12.20-26
Thursday: Acts 8.26-end; Psalm 66.7-8, 14-end and John 6.44-51
Friday: Acts 9.1-20; Psalm 117 and John 6.52-59
Saturday: Acts 9.31-42; Psalm 116.10-15 and John 6.60-69