PASTORAL LETTER

APRIL 2019

This is the day which the Lord hath made

Dear Friends
The focus of my ‘Rector’s Reflections’ this month is prayer; what do we understand by prayer?  We have corporate prayer, that we say together as part of our liturgy, and then we have individual prayers, and I am sure we all define prayer differently.  I once heard Archbishop Rowen Williams describing prayer as, ‘sitting across the table and enjoying the moment together’.  We mustn’t forget, prayer is two-way and it is as much listening as it is talking.  There are many ways to pray: for some it is upon their knees, for others it is sitting, and centring oneself, and letting God just be there, perhaps with an icon or candle as a focal point.  For others, it is a prayer walk – walking in silence and waiting upon the Lord.  Then there are arrow prayers – ‘please God help that situation’ -  perhaps as an ambulance passes by with its lights flashing.  Also, prayer is an opportunity to say thank you, thanking God for something good that just happened, or even to say Thank You for our day, and being ever mindful of those whose day may have been challenging or difficult.  

Giving time to prayer is a discipline, part of our rhythm of life.  I know when the children were young and one rarely had a moment to oneself, how I struggled with that discipline, and then I realised that one really can pray anywhere, be it in the shower, or walking with the pram, and God understands.  God is there in the midst of it all.  The key thing is to have prayer as part of our daily routine, as much maybe as cleaning our teeth.  Brother Lawrence was a monk who had the very nonspiritual task of washing dishes in his monastery.  In his book, The Practice of the Presence of God, he describes how he found that the most effective way of communicating with God was simply to do his ordinary work and for him that was doing the dishes.  God really is everywhere and we can pray anywhere, not just in church.

Prayer is also traditionally seen as one of the three pillars of Lent (the other two being fasting and almsgiving).  Time and time again throughout the Gospels, we learn of Jesus praying and, most poignantly so in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before he died.  As we continue our journey through Lent, may we do so as a praying and prayerful community, praying for one another, our wider community and for the needs of our troubled world.  In doing so, may we approach the depths of Good Friday, to emerge on Easter Day as a joyful and prayerful community, acknowledging that Christ is Risen!
Every blessing.
Rev Jo