“Prayer is the life of Jesus coming alive in you.” (Rowan Williams, Being Christian)
Jesus taught his first disciples how to pray. At the heart of Christian life is deepening in prayer and in our relationship with God. At St Peter’s, we put prayer at the centre of all that we seek to be and do.
Morning and Evening Prayer are said in church Monday – Thursday (8.30am and 5.30pm), and all are welcome. This uses the Church of England’s Common Worship Daily Prayer, and many people find it helpful to download the Daily Prayer App onto their phone or tablet.
Prayers of Intercession, (prayers for others) include prayers for the church, the world, our community, the sick, those who have died and to mark the anniversary of a person’s death. A prayer list is kept on the lectern and people are prayed for by name during our Sunday services and our Wednesday morning service. All people of the church are encouraged to contribute prayer requests and to offer to do so for those they meet in daily life.
“I want to pray but I don’t know how to start”
Someone once described prayer as sitting still and letting God look at you. You don’t need to use special words or do particular things, you just need to sit down as you would with a friend or someone you trust and share with God the things you want to say thank you for, or sorry about, or ask for. It is okay to be angry with God – the Psalms in the Bible are full of people sharing their anger or despair or fear. Prayer can be silent or it can be out loud. Some people find it helpful to light a candle, or look at an image, or have something to do with their hands; others might find it easier to go for a walk with God on the beach or round the park.
Many people find it helpful to talk to someone else about what is going on in their relationship with God. This might be a formal ‘spiritual director’ or ‘soul friend’, or it could be someone you know and trust from church, ordained or lay. If you would like to find out more about this, please do have a word with Hannah or get in touch with the Diocesan Spirituality Adviser for more advice.
There are many prayers that have been used down the centuries, by lots of people in all kinds of different circumstances. Sometimes it’s helpful to use these prayers, especially when we’re struggling to find words of our own. In church, there is a selection of small prayer cards that you can take and use, or take to give to someone else who might need them – please help yourself.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
A prayer of St Augustine
Watch thou, dear Lord, with those who wake or watch or weep tonight and give thine angels charge over those who sleep. Tend thy sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest thy weary ones. Bless thy dying ones. Soothe thy suffering ones. Pity thine afflicted ones. Shield thy joyous ones. And all for thy love’s sake. Amen.
A morning prayer
Lord our God, as with all creation we offer you the life of this new day, give us grace to love and serve you to the praise of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Breton fisherman’s prayer – to use when things feel all too much.
Protect me, O Lord, for the sea is so big, and my boat is so small. Amen.
“Prayer is never irrelevant; it is essential to our life”Greta Zwaan