Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Reflections week of prayer

 Firstly the prayer room was beautifully and helpfully arranged by Sheila and Mathew Howe’s mum Cherry. Many people commented how great it looked and how the things in it inspired them to pray.
People did not use the room in vast numbers for personal prayer but some did and a few people used it again and again. I have been asked if it can stay up permanently but made no promises!
As far as the events were concerned
The prayer walks
2 in the town centre and 1 at Monkmoor.
The town centre prayer walks both had about 10 people attending; I didn’t get to the afternoon one, but heard it was helpful. The evening one from 9pm -10pm was perhaps too early to get the full Friday night experience (!)but it was good to walk and pray and to think just what a variety of things go on in the town centre and what great needs!
The Monkmoor walk( about 8 came) was led by Peter R and again it was good to be physically close to the schools and shops and people that we often pray for. In most streets Peter would tell us who he is praying for in a particular street. He has built some good relationships. An idea also came up for a project for Soul Purpose in the area.
The praise evening (Monday) and intercession (Wednesday) – I was encouraged especially by the evening of intercession which was well led by Victor and Margaret and Roy and Mary and focussed on the church, its people and mission. We prayed for a vast number of people and things and over the course of the evening from 6-9 pm 30 -35 people were present
The session led by Jane Willis from The  Abbey (church not pub!) on the Jesus Prayer was an eye opener for me (its not often you have prayer beads in a Baptist Church)but in fact I found the repetition of the prayer very effective and it generated a great deal of thought
It was evident a couple of people struggled with it but most loved it and found it very helpful- I have already been asked to get Jane back again.I was delighted with the attendance for this. On a Thursday morning about 17 people came

Lament evening was led by Beryl and for me was the highlight of the week. About 8 people came but all were fully engaged. Beryl covered the biblical material on lament very well, and with great sensitivity and chose some good songs to accompany the talk. We then wrote our own laments which I think we all found painful ( I certainly did) but 3 or 4 people read their own ones  out which was deeply moving. Perhaps the small turnout helped with the intimacy of the occasion. We were able to be vulnerable This was a good evening

Prayer Breakfast If I am honest it was not a good turnout- 13 I was expecting 40 (was it too early?)
David Boddy had,as always, done a fabulous job with the food and the singing and the prayer in large and smaller groups was good .We looked at Colossians 1 and Steve had arranged a mini walk around prayer stations in the church to finish which was appreciated.

·         I was encouraged that a lot of people engaged with the week in some way
·         I was encouraged that the feedback from people coming has been very positive because that means they found it helpful
·         Though I feel tired I also feel I have met with God through a variety of prayer experiences
·         I feel we need to develop further some of the things we experimented with this week meditative prayer ,lament etc
·         It was good to have a dedicated prayer room that had been thoughtfully put together I was sad more didn’t use it perhaps they needed help with this?
·         I was surprised more people didn’t come to the prayer breakfast as I thought people who hadn’t come to anything else would feel comfortable with that
·         I think we need in practical ways to demonstrate ways of praying as a means of teaching people to pray and to sustain their prayer lives

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