There are lots of things that are difficult about prayer. We struggle over finding time, finding words, finding motivation, or even wondering whether anyone is really listening. And I know from many conversations over the years that people often give up altogether, rather than have a try and feel they have failed. And a result, there is always a lurking sense of guilt about it.
In fact, we all struggle with prayer (yes – even clergy!) and the life stories of many of the great saints include their wrestling with precisely this issue. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources and help that are available for praying. There are lots of different ways to find a way into prayer again. The traditional methods of using silence or a prayer book will suit some, while others may prefer to be more creative and pray as they go for a walk, or paint, or do something else spontaneous or visual. You can even pray with technology, using websites or podcasts.
However, we’re all being challenged by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to use the period from Ascension Day to Pentecost (10-20 May) to set aside some time to pray as part of their “Thy Kingdom Come” initiative. The focus is to pray for refreshing of God’s Holy Spirit as we approach Pentecost Sunday, and to pray for others to come to faith, and to reflect on how we might be part of helping someone to do that.
Here at MPC, we’re going to be opening church every morning at 9am for an hour, from 10-20 May, so that people can use the building to pray, and there will be a short (15 mins) form of morning prayer said every day at 9-30am, which everyone is welcome to join in. It’s only a small contribution in some ways, but the mystery about prayer is that sometimes the simplest and briefest of prayers can make all the difference in the world. Do join us.