The Importance Of Prayer
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.James 5:13-14
What is it about prayer that is so important (or should be) to us as Christians and disciples? Not only is it what we are commanded to do, but it is how Jesus lived His life; constantly praying to the Lord for clarity, guidance and strength. Right down to His last moments. But also, it’s a way of feeling closer to Him; a way to feel heard and to hear His guidance/forgiveness/support. It’s also quite therapeutic in a way, a chance to shed any negative feeling or energy in our day and start afresh knowing He has our back. It also unites us as a collective of believers, whether we’re praying alone, with a small group of friends or as part of church, there are always other Christians looking up to Him praying for what they need, knowing that despite the number of requests, He hears every single one.
With all that being said, we thought it was important to have a space to pray on our estate. Where specific faith buildings don’t exist, it was important to create a space for all faiths, creed and colour, to have a moment alone or with others to pray. Firstly born out of hearing about the war in Ukraine, which impacted lots of residents in many different ways, plus the impact of lockdowns over the last couple of years and how to come back to some kind of ‘normal’, it was increasingly important for people to have a local, sacred space.
We took a two pronged approach that launched this week.
Prayer Space at George Carey
We decided to trial a Prayer Space for one day for pupils in Year 6 of George Carey as this is a transitional moment for them to be changing schools, with all that comes with it; being the new ‘kid’, potentially not having the same group of friends around them, new teachers, a bigger school and the pressures of good grades re: GCSEs and A Levels. We wanted them to have a space that they could bring their fears and anxieties and to deal with them in a healthy way with God. With it being a CofE school, of course there was a Christian focus, but with a respectfulness of other faiths within the school, meant it was a safe space for everyone.
There were 9 stations that pupils were encouraged to engage with:
- Saying Bye To Regrets: here they used a whiteboard to write down something they wished they could change, take a moment to speak to God about it and then wipe the board clean
- What’s In Your Hand?: they had the story of David and Goliath to read through and think about what strengths and skills they can take into secondary school
- Celebrating: this was a chance for them to celebrate their most favourite memory of primary school and write a thank you prayer for teachers and friends
- Hopes For The Future: they could write their hopes and dreams for their future, beyond secondary school
- Praying For Our Schools: they could mould themselves as they are now in primary school and then do the same based on their expectations for secondary school
- Thinking Spot: here the kids could write the changes/challenges/choices they could face in secondary school
- God’s Hands: here they could write a prayer about their worries and anxieties about secondary school, in God’s hands
- Self: this station focused on the unique qualities of each pupil whilst also highlighting some similarities
- Big Questions: here the kids had to think of big questions they would ask God if they could and see if they’re easy or hard questions to answer
Prayer Wall at The Rivergate Centre Foyer
With our beautifully diverse community there are many people closely affected by many ongoing conflicts and wars across the world, as well as their own personal worries at home, but no-where to be able to take them. Our movable Prayer Wall will help to facilitate these moments, creating a flexible and creative space to be with God as a community beyond our homes. It can be used for responding to crises, and moments of national grief, as well as an ongoing chapel-like space for personal moments.
Open now at the Rivergate Centre Foyer, Monday to Friday until 22nd July, use the space as you like; alone or with family or friends. There are also times that will be hosted by us, if you want to pray with others:
- Mon – Fri, 9-10am: Coffee & Prayer Drop In
- Mon, 12.20 – 2pm: Bible Chats
- Thurs, 3-4pm: Interactive prayer
There are a number of different stations to interact with:
- Pause: start by pausing, noticing your breathing. Take a moment to add your prayer symbolically with a ribbon to the netting. You might want to acknowledge God, remember a loved one, a painful situation or ask for something you need.
- Prayer: the wall is a place that anyone can come to pray for their home and anywhere in the world affected by conflict. Hooks are fixed to places of the world where conflict is active. People are encouraged to add a new one if they feel like a a hook is missing.
- Say sorry and let go – write on the handheld mirror anything getting between you and God then wipe it clean
- Who you are – look at yourself in the strip of mirrors, find a truth you need to believe about yourself and soak it in.
- Add your response – writing on the white card and peg on to the ribbon, anything you want to say
So whoever you are, whatever your faith, our Prayer Wall is there for you to pray for anything you, your family, friends or neighbours need, at home or worldwide. Please take some time out of your day to come down over the next month and interact and lay your worries down, you may feel that much lighter for doing so.
As always, if you have any prayer requests please do Get In Touch and if you’d like to continue prayer at home, there are lots of resources to help you pray each day wherever you are:
- 24-7 Prayer
- Try Praying
- Daily reflection app: Lectio 365
- Bible app: YouVersion
- Stay up to date with how you can join in with what we have going on as church