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August 2006

News of Pray Without Ceasing reaches the United States of America

Received from the First United Methodist Church, Hickory, North Carolina:

God always amazes me!

We had no idea this was going on and our Spiritual Life committee decided just a couple of weeks ago to do a Prayer Month in August.

Our ideas: all sermons and all anthems will be about prayer.  All Sunday school classes will study the same cirriculum (age appropriate).  Members are signing up to each pray for 30 minutes around the clock. We shall be giving people prayer journals to track their prayers and answers and having a table of prayer books for people to borrow.

On the first Sunday we will be asking people to come to the altar and make a committment and then on the last Sunday asking for testimonies about how the month has affected them. Also on the last Sunday the congregation will be letting go of balloons and having a potluck.

"It is so wonderful we are at least coming in on the last month of your year.  Pease pray for our month.  We want to bring new life to our church as a whole and a huge spiritual growth to each individual there."

First United Methodist
Hickory, NC

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Event Reports


Gosport Church, in the Gosport and Fareham Circuit of the Southampton District, celebrated Pray Without Ceasing with a festival of prayer and flowers.

The various groups in the church decorated an appropriate area of the building with flowers and articles associated with their activity.  Each display incorporated at least one of the beautiful pictures and prayers from Magnet. During the night of our pryaer vigil, 8pm on Sunday until 8am on Monday, members of the church used these displays as a focus for prayer and meditation.

The whole weekend was a wonderful experience, with people who have, before, been daunted by the thought of "prayer", finding it an uplifting and Spiritful experience.  The general consensus of opinion has been "We must do this again soon."

We are so grateful to the young people of our church for giving us this opportunity.

Later this month (23 June) the Southampton District Women's Network will be bringing our appointed time to a close with a Feast of Prayer. 

Various churches and circuits will be using the day in this way: We will begin with a prayer breakfast in one church and continue with prayer and coffee in another, then a prayer lunch, afternoon tea and prayer, supper with prayer and finally Gosport will conclude with pizza and prayer from 10pm until midnight.

As District Network President this year I have taken Pray Without Ceasing as my focus and I shall try to visit as many of the churches taking part in the Feast of Prayer as I can.  I feel it is my duty!

Revd Gillian Slaymaker


An encouraging report from the Clay Cross circuit in Derbyshire, a very small church community, who inspire us with their creative prayer ideas.

'Where one or two are gathered in my name'
"We have a usual congregation of eight people for our services, ages ranging from mid eighties to our youngsters who are in their forties."

Read about Prayer Walking, where people were asked to choose a street from a local map, colour it and then pray for those who lived or worked there - later following this by walking the street and asking God to guide them to people who needed specific prayer or help.  Read too about (Pray Until Something Happens) - a place was provided for people to write their burdens on paper and then place them in a shredder - breaking free of these burdens and to P.U.S.H.


From St Andrew's Church, Filton in the Bristol (North) Circuit

As part of the Pray Without Ceasing initiative, St Andrew's Methodist Church at Filton, in the Bristol (North) Circuit, held a 24 hour prayer vigil during Holy Week.  From 10.30am on 13 April, Maundy Thursday, to 10.30am on 14 April, Good Friday, the church provided the opportunity for silent prayer and meditation.

Prayer stations based on events in the life of Jesus from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem to his crucifixion were set out around the church.

Jesus washes disciples' feet Each provided both written and visual material to help inspire prayer and meditation.  In addition, appropriate background music was played and opportunities were provided to use light, smell and touch to bring an additonal dimension to the experience.

Each hour, on the hour, a bible reading and meditation led us through the events of Holy Week.  Around the stations links to everyday life guided prayer for families, the community, and personal faith.

last supper altar table


The event proved to be a truly moving experience for those who attended.  Associated as it was with the usual Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services it enriched for many their experience of the Easter period which culminated in the Easter Day Family Communion Service.

John Trebble
Lay Pastoral Assistant



From the Newcastle District

Newcastle District has completed its fortnight of prayer which happened between 17 and 31 March 2006.  As Katy Thomas reports "We decided to do things slightly differently from our last two years of Great North Prayer and encouraged each circuit to have prayer events across the fortnight rather than giving each circuit a block period to fill.  The result has been quite overwhelming with so many different things happening each day.  I attach details of the events, which all circuits received as an invitation for people to join in each other's events."

The wonderful thing is that it really has encouraged continuing prayer; there has been more opportunity to 'talk about God'; there have been outreach opportunities; many people have been more aware of God's presence; and people are asking about when we can do this again!"  


* From Birtley Methodist Church in the Newcastle upon Tyne District
Not been able to get to a Pray Without Ceasing event?  Join Harry from Birtley Methodist Church as he takes us on a guided reflection of a Prayer Room created at Birtley Methodist Church.  As Harry says "Many friends visited the Prayer Room during the official fortnight but there would be many others that were unable, for a variety of reasons, to do this."

From Manchester and Stockport District

"A wonderful atmosphere was created during the day and new people have been worshipping with us since." (Altrincham)

"People appreciated the opportunity to discover new ways of prayer.  There was a sense that through the diversity of prayer people were being drawn together as 'community'." (Whaley Bridge)

These are just two of the many encouraging comments that can be read in a full report of the Pray Without Ceasing event held across the Manchester and Stockport District between 2nd and 17th March. The event was launched at South Chadderton in the Oldham and Saddleworth circuit on 2 March when a letter of greeting from the Liverpool District was read as the baton of prayer was passed on and the Connexional banner which has crisscrossed the country was received.

Many imaginative events took place including one where the congregation in Altrincham leafleted the area and welcomed over 100 people to a prayer day which, significantly, included ten people from the community. In Manchester a group of older people (night owls) instead of praying in their homes, prayed together from midnight to 4am, whilst the early birds went on a prayer walk before breakfast. Young people encouraged creative prayer at Hadfield (Glossop) as a prayer tree grew, a prayer graffiti wall emerged and global and community prayers were offered and prayer cards prepared for use at home. In Macclesfield the Lord's Prayer was explored in text language by young people before they prepared a prayer breakfast.

The Pray Without Ceasing initiative is in addition to prayer days, evenings, chains, cycles, meetings and ministries which exist around the district, encompassing prayer from many traditions and forms. Manchester and Stockport District Coordinator, Paul Wilson, comments "Thank you to all those who made it possible for people to encounter God in such a variety of ways."


From Stretford & Urmston Circuit

The year began with a presentation at the autumn circuit meeting when each church was provided with prayer candles and resources, including a bookmark for every member.  Regular circuit and connexional updates and publicity were provided and each church was encouraged to have a prayer corner to display information and serve as a prayer focus. Pray Without Ceasing candles have been lit at every service in each church throughout the year. Our winter circuit Worship and Preaching Team held an Exploring Prayer event and prayer activities have been encouraged in every church.

Stretford & Urmston Circuit, a compact inner suburban circuit of 270 members, took part in a 24 hour prayer period on 12 March, dividing our 24 hours into mainly half hour slots.  Individuals and churches signed up to cover slots and the Sunday service times were arranged to cover from 9.30am to 12noon.  In addition, a circuit prayer event was held at Sevenways church from 4pm - 7pm.  Ecumenical partners were invited to share in the occasion and Maranatha, Flixton Fellowship and Greenfield churches held events.

65 individuals covered prayer slots and local churches also held prayer events including prayer breakfasts, devotional hymn singing, Taize prayer at midnight and an overnight Youth Prayer Lock-in.

The circuit prayer event started with 30 minutes of corporate worship and then divided into a range of prayer experience opportunities including Taize, Healing, Contemplation, Quiet Day, Prayer Meeting, Daily Office and multi-media.  Throughout the 24 hours a total of 446 person hours of prayer was offered and prayer has become a much bigger part of our circuit and church life.

Revd John E Fenner
Superintendent Minister, Stretford & Urmston Circuit


From the Liverpool District

From Revd Keith Parr:

Liverpool District utilised a banner to publicize the Pray Without Ceasing event and Liverpool North Central Circuit utilised it during their time slot 12 noon to 12 midnight. At 11-30 pm I set off to Warrington Circuit who were taking over at midnight, carrying the banner to pass on. I arrived at Stockton Heath Church with 10 minutes to go and was greeted by a young person at the door. I explained who I was and what I had brought with me. I wished them well for their midnight start. She said, 'Oh, we couldn't wait for midnight; we're so excited we started early!'
So excited by the thought of praying through the night! What a wonderful message to take to our Churches; well done all involved in this initiative.

Liverpool (North) Circuit based their Pray Without Ceasing event on the theme Our Rock of Prayer.

Revd Andrew Longshaw reports:

Liverpool (North) Circuit had a really fulfilling time when their PWC session began at midnight on Sunday 26 February 2006.  The time passed by so quickly, even though I did not think we would have enough people to maintain a constant rota.  Eventually, we had so many volunteers who agreed to pray for 30 minutes that many slots were covered by 3 or 4 people.  The session began at Maghull Methodist Church with a service of quiet meditative prayer from midnight to 1am, led by myself (and on my knees for most of it.  They are getting a little older and I really began to feel it towards the end of our service but perseverance and the power of the Holy Spirit can get us through!)

The daytime services were all based on one theme - Our Rock of Prayer and all those who were on the rota and many involved in the morning services were given a palm sized pebble to hold.  The theme was open for individual interpretation to allow the fullest response possible.  In the evening we held a circuit service and those pebbles were quietly brought up and placed around The Lord's Table.  We included Taize and Iona styles of prayer and the Covenant Prayer from the 1926 Methodist Hymn and Offices Book.  Many of those attending said how moving the service was and what strength many had found during the day.

We intend to incorporate our pebbles into an already existing Prayer Cairn outside Maghull Methodist Church so that we can mingle old with new and have a permanent reminder of how special Pray Without Ceasing was for us and what prayer can achieve.

We thank the Youth Conference for such an inspired initiative.


From the Orrell and Lamberhead Green Circuit

Orrell and Lamberhead Green Circuit is part of the Liverpool District and have sent a large and interesting report with many photos of their event. Do take a look at all the different ways they Prayed Without Ceasing.  


From the Warrington Circuit

What a joy it was as each of the 12 churches in the Warrington Circuit allowed themselves to be planned for one hour on Sunday 26th February - our slot on the Pray Without Ceasing rota. As for timing of the services there were no sacred cows, other than the ones that needed milking by members of one of our rural churches, so could their service not coincide with milking please!

The young people offered to do the overnight shift and despite a programme of prayer events during the night they were still full of energy when they were finished at eight in the morning!

Following that churches arranged diverse worship and prayer services. These ranged from a silent communion to an hour for the younger children to offer prayers using sensory experiences (definitely not silent!). From Taize and Iona to prayers using hymns. Breakfast, lunch and tea services ensured the physical was as well fed as the spiritual. The housebound were also offered times to pray within the day, all contributing to a sense of the circuit being involved as a community in the adventure of a day of prayer. The 24 hours finished with the Superintendent minister, Rev Loraine Mellor, who had attended every act of worship during the day, leading a communion service.

Thank you to everyone who lobbied for the 24/7 pray without ceasing initiative, it gave this circuit the freedom to be refreshed in its worship as well as its prayer life.


From the Leeds District

Around 100 people gathered to celebrate Holy Communion and launch the Leeds District Pray Without Ceasing fortnight on 21 January 2006.  The district candle, which was received from the launch of Pray Without Ceasing at the Methodist Conference 2005 was used to light other candles which were taken by each circuit representative for use in their events during the fortnight.

At the front of the church a banner was displayed which had been created by a member in Cornwall for their fortnight and sent on to Leeds as a sign of the continued chain of prayer across the Connexion. See photos and report

A kaleidoscope of prayer took place throughout the district as people spent time with God, some considered how to release their communities from the hurts and events of the past, through prayer, and others used the opportunity to pray through dance and music.  Young people from the Leeds South circuit prayed throughout the night, taking it in turns to pray as well as enjoying a host of other activities.


From the Prestwich and Whitefield Circuit

More than 100 people participated in a week of continuous prayer in Whitefield Church from September 9 - 16. Some people were apprehensive about trying to pray for an hour, so guidelines were provided, but in the event most people found it anything but difficult as new ways of praying were discovered.  Many people were blessed and some didn't want the prayer to stop, resulting in a weekend of prayer planned for 9 - 11 December. Participants were invited to write about the experience in a journal and some of the comments were deeply moving.  Others chose not to write but hold precious memories of this time of prayer.   


* From the Bristol District

What began as a District Day of Prayer last February, drawing over 200 people together in prayer and worship, inspired a Prayer Fortnight from 23 September to 7 October.  The seven streams of prayer and the worship caused a real buzz of excitement and people wanted to repeat the experience. Derrick Norton, Coordinator, reports that the fortnight of prayer stimulated people to think about their walk with God and led some to discover new ways of praying.  One circuit, Bristol South, did a 24/14 in two churches of 24/7 each.        

It seems that prayer inspired more prayer as four "County Prayer Days" were held in January and February 2006.  



The Prayer RoomFrom Seven Kings Church, Ilford

From 1 - 15 July we set up a 24/7 prayer room. People were invited to sign up for hourly slots and all 168 hours were covered. 

Candles, music, books, maps and a prayer shawl were among the many resources to aid prayer. People also wrote their own prayers on walls and lining paper around the room.

The Prayer Room



From Kath Fraser, Stratford upon Avon, reporting on events from Evesham and Stratford Methodist Churches

Members at Evesham Methodist Church held a 24 hour prayer chain from 8pm on Friday 26 August and members at Stratford committed to opening new channels and approaches to prayer by opening the church between 10am and 12noon and again from 5.30pm - 7.30pm for two weeks from Friday 26 August.   

An exciting link between the events was a Prayer Pilgrimage of 17 miles when members walked all or part of the journey between the two churches.

Throughout the two weeks some really innovative ideas for prayer were introduced including Bible prayer, prayer through art, multi faith prayers, prayer through hymns, praying without words and praying with water.  One day the theme was praying for the family (personal, church and world church families) and another day members used the press, newspapers and magazines to influence their prayers. The use of technology was included with powerful images portrayed on screen and on yet another day members prayed through colour and creativity. Displays to aid prayer were placed in the sanctuary daily and by the end of the fortnight, Kath reports that "the church was alive".  A prayer corner has now been retained in the sanctuary with aids to prayer being changed regularly.  Some photos can be found on the church website



From a member of the Church Family, St John's Methodist Church, North East Kent Circuit

The Church Family in the Circuit of North East Kent participated in the ‘Pray Without Ceasing' at St John's Methodist Church in Whitstable, from midnight on the 23 rd until midday on the 24 th August 2005.

I was only able to be a part of this by participating in allotted prayer time at home, thus playing a very small part in the continuous prayers of the 12 hour period. However, unexpectedly I was able to look in briefly for the last half hour of the allocated time. The magnificent display that the Church Family had created is not easy to describe. As I walked into the New Room I had the overwhelming feeling of entering a Sanctuary. Large pictures, all so beautiful and expressive, provided stations of prayers around the room supplemented by specific readings and prayers at each station. The planning – preparing – writing and displaying were doubtless the result of many hours. What an achievement of ‘Resourcing Prayer' – the Holy Spirit had indeed been a part of this.

The walls of St. John's Church are still displaying the many resources prepared from so many different areas all around our Heavenly Father's gift of creation to us, his Earthly Family. What a joy to see talents so used in our world which is so desperately in need of prayer.


St. Andrew's Church, Harlow Prayer Fortnight, 1st - 15th July. 

We had an evening prayer meeting on the 1st, and 4 POP-INs for prayer on the Fridays and Saturdays, in the morning.  There was a circle of chairs around a table with a cross, a candle and a rose.  A soloist sang The Lord's Prayer every 15 minutes during the hour-long Pop-ins.  Special prayers, using the prayer tags, were said during two Sunday Services. 

We had a 'prayer tree' to hang prayer tags; ideas for prayers; a daily prayer; an article and programme in our June Magazine and a feature cover, dedicated minister's letter and a copy of the daily prayer (which was given out at the end of June, printed on card) in the July Magazine.  We are also using the Logo. 

Continuing throughout the prayer year, we will have prayer pebbles in our prayer chapel.

Our daily prayer: PRAYING TOGETHER at 10am or 10pm each day.

    Loving God, join us together in prayer: for the whole world -
    those close to us and those we will never know; open our hearts
    and minds that your Spirit may pray through us in words and
    thoughts and deeds.  In Christ's love we pray,



Praying the Psalms at Glastonbury

With the help of Andy Raine and several others from Lindisfarne, we held a 'Praying the Psalms' afternoon in our church in Glastonbury, to coincide with the summer solstice which brings many people to our town.  People were invited to bring a favourite psalm, either written or sung, and/or music for meditation.  We started with the Gatekeeper psalm (I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord. . . . ) recited at the entrance and continued into the church.  It included meditations, poems, dance, hymns and prayer.  We had several visitors stop in as well as being a very ecumenical group.


Gracious Street Prayer Weekend

Over the weekend of 6–8 May Gracious Street Methodist Church in Knaresborough held a 48-hour non-stop Prayer Weekend based on the '24/7' worldwide prayer movement.

Individuals, pairs and small groups committed to 1-hour prayer slots throughout the 48 hours. One overnight was covered by men and the other by the youth group. The Men's Breakfast, Tuesday Fellowship, Pre-School and Playbox prayed as groups. The age span ranged from the crèche and Sunday Club to our older members - over 80 people in total.

The prayer room was beautifully prepared with a wide range of aids to prayer which proved tremendously helpful - far too many to mention them all. There were Bibles, hymn and songbooks, prayer and poetry books, candles and lanterns, CDs, a DVD with restful scenery and music, a large wooden cross where written prayers could be placed, small holding crosses made of wood and nails for meditation, a nature area to marvel at God's creation.

There was a striking gazebo 'prayer tent' draped with lovely fabrics - complete with large floor cushions, a graffiti wall for writing thoughts, prayers and pictures, word cards scattered on the floor and plasticine (certainly helpful for the children). The pebble pool to offer concerns to God, the mirror to reflect that God looks on the inside, a local map and a world map to pinpoint prayer areas, pads, pens and a shredder to make confessions.

The atmosphere was so special that many people automatically took their shoes off at the door - God's presence was very real. Those apprehensive at the prospect of praying for a whole hour were amazed when the next person knocked on the door to enter. Those who had signed up for several prayer slots could hardly wait for their next prayer time.

In planning we expected this to be mainly prayers for others and world situations. In practice we found ourselves also directed to pray for ourselves and our Church - moving us closer to God. The questions being asked at the end were "What next? Where do we go from here?"

We hope to organise another non-stop prayer session early in 2006 as part of the Methodist Conference initiative for a year of non-stop prayer from this June.

Pray Without Ceasing in the Leighton Buzzard & Stewkley Circuit

“Prayer is the soul's sincere desire” – and it certainly was in the Leighton Buzzard and Stewkley Circuit from 7pm on Friday 22nd July to 7pm on Saturday 23 rd July when it was our turn to accept the challenge. What a success it was!

Trinity Church in Leighton Buzzard was open the full 24 hours, starting with a two hour Circuit prayer service conducted by the Rev. Arthur Cowburn. Two hours of prayer, hymns, music, devotion and meditation.

Trinity had at least one person praying there all of the time with special areas set out in the Church for Thanksgiving, Community, Confession, Intercession and Justice & Peace. Each area had suggestions of what could be prayed for to help with prayer and gave us all a lot of food for thought and prayer. You did not have to use these areas as there was plenty of space for you to do your own thing. At quarter past the hour every hour there was a time of shared prayer and at quarter to the hour, in true Methodist style, a hymn was sung chosen at the time by whoever was there to pray. The whole 24 hours was managed without anyone choosing the same hymn. Refreshments were on hand to keep everyone going and a cooked breakfast was served. A bright placard outside the Church invited anyone to drop in to pray and it was lovely to see the many who did just that.

Whilst this was going on atTrinity the rest of the Circuit were praying in their homes or wherever they were at their chosen time for prayer. Some on their own, some with friends and some in Groups. Cheddington Church was open for the morning with people dropping in and out to give their time in prayer. All this activity ensured that the Circuit had at least two people praying at anytime (sometimes with as many as 7 or 8) within the 24 hours.

Our time of “Pray without Ceasing” ended with a Circuit Prayer service led by the Rev. Arthur Cowburn at Stoke Hammond Church, once more a beautiful time of prayers, hymns and devotions followed by refreshments.

John Jones
Pray Without Ceasing Co-ordinator
for the Leighton Buzzard & Stewkley Circuit.