Here are a few ideas and resources you might like to explore in order to deepen your prayer life:
This is the habit of instant prayer. We send a quick prayer to God, often at a time of special need or concern, but might be a moment of gratitude. Sometimes this is as quick as 'God help me' or 'Thank you'. It's based on the the knowledge that He is always with us, and will always hear even the quickest of prayers.
At the end of the day ‘The Examen’
A reflective prayer exercise to look at the events of your day and consider which part of your day you are most grateful for, and which part you are least grateful for. There are many versions of The Examen you can find on the internet. Our prayer card will give you one example to try. Click here to download a version of The Examen.
Digital prayer apps
There are some excellent digital prayer apps designed for use on portable MP3 players, phones, ipads, etc, to help you pray wherever you are, whether travelling to and from work, study, going about your day, or sitting at home. They are guided times of prayer that you can listen to and include some gentle music, a short passage from scripture, and some questions to guide your thoughts. Pray as you go is one such resource, based on Ignatian spirituality, and Lectio 365 is another resource which is inspired by Lectio Divina, a way of meditating on the Bible that has been used by Christians for centuries. There is also now Lectio for Families which has taken inspiration from Lectio Divina and developed it to help families pray together.
Prayer as conversation
One way our relationships grow is through conversation. Try sitting down in a relaxed space, maybe even with a cup of coffee or tea, and talking over the issues that concern you with God, just as you would with a friend. Don't worry about saying the 'right' thing, just be yourself. Tell him exactly how you feel about things, including your anger and frustration.
Finding God in all things
Everything, no matter how small, every creature, person and situation has the power to reveal something of what God is like if we have the eyes to see and ears to hear. This is an exciting prayer challenge, rather like looking for clues in a treasure hunt, or piecing together a jigsaw. Look out for elements of nature, or the people or moments that seem to say something to you about what God is like, and how he is asking you to be. This could be the small flower pushing its way up through the cracks in the pavement, or a story on the news, or something that has been said that has challenged your thoughts or behaviour, something that has gone wrong for you today, or a simple act of kindness shown by a stranger or neighbour. Keep your eyes and ears open, ready to see and hear things that point you to God.
A freephone number set up by the Church of England – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. This was set up initially during Covid restrictions, for those who were unable to join online services, but the resource continues to be available.
Christians through the centuries have found that developing a regular rhythm of prayer and scripture reading sustains and feeds them. It is a discipline which encourages us to pause our other activities to focus on giving thanks to God for his goodness and raising our needs and desires to him. Starting the day with prayer sets us up well as we take the time to invite God into all that lies ahead, all the interactions we will have, and all that we are. There are many resources to choose from that will help you by giving you a rolling pattern of scripture readings and prayers to use each day, all published in one place. Celtic Daily Prayer from the Northumbrian Community is available online or you can download their pattern of readings and prayers for Kindle/tablet, or buy their beautiful books to guide you. The Church of England has the Daily Prayer app that you can download to your phone or tablet. You may also like to come along to Prayer and Pastries on a Friday at 9.15am at Box Hill to join us
In both private prayers and the Church worship of Christians, much of the time is taken with addressing God with our prayers and requests, our penitence and thanksgiving. Often it is harder to spend some simply ‘listening’ in contemplative prayer. The contemplative life has to do with the desire to seek stillness
amid the rush of life;
to find silence amid noise;
to listen amid the clamour to speak;
to deepen the internal amid the purely external;
to search for God amid busy-ness.
Contemplative prayer is the expression of that desire.
If you would like to make time for Contemplative Prayer, you may like to explore some pre-recorded guided sessions, or join Adrian Esdaile once a month on Zoom.
Click here for a time of Contemplative Prayer led by Sharon Seal: https://youtu.be/xuRGc2_Yx_E
You might like to join Adrian Esdaile for ‘Be Still and Listen’, monthly guided evenings of Contemplative Prayer, every third Thursday of the month at 8pm on Zoom. For more details, click here.