Click for print-friendly version ""Approaches to Prayer

 

Prayer is no more and no less than the privilege of spending time consciously in God’s presence. This may be in worship, in small groups or on our own.

* Some people grow in their spiritual life by spending time in silence and meditative prayer – perhaps with candles, an icon or other image, or with music to help them focus. Others deepen their relationship with God by using written prayers – ancient prayers written by early Christians, or modern prayers that relate to our contemporary experience. Many Christians feel able to pray, alone or in groups, by speaking openly about their own concerns and the concerns of the world.

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There are no ‘rules’ to follow about how we should pray and it is good to try new ways of praying that challenge or change our understanding of prayer.

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Prayer is a lot more than ‘asking God’ for things that we want! Our prayers can express praise and adoration, acknowledging our awareness of God’s involvement in all creation. Our prayers allow space for confession, when we face up to those times when we have not lived up to the calling of the Christian life. We also offer thanksgiving because God’s forgiveness is available to all people.

* Intercession is a term we often use about our prayers for other people, the world and ourselves. In our prayers we bring before God those concerns that we care most deeply about. The structure of the many lovely prayers of Intercession that are found in the Methodist Worship Book provides a good framework for our own prayers.

* We begin by praying for the Church throughout the world, for local churches and for those in ministry and for Christians. We then pray for the needs of the world – for those in power and those whose lives their decisions affect. We remember that God is committed to justice and peace and wills this for all people. We pray for people in need, those who suffer whether physically, mentally or emotionally, remembering the bereaved. It is only now that we pray for ourselves and our own needs. This is a really important sign of our Christian priority to put others before ourselves.