(Part 1 of 2, leading up to Big Intercessions at the Pentecost Collective Worship)
Lord’s Prayer (Gavin Tyte Version) over images of people praying
In the name of the +Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
The Lord be with you
and also with you
Hands together, eyes closed… let us… pause and think for a moment about what I am encouraging you to do.
Prayer: it’s an important part of the Christian life.
What would YOU say about prayer or the act of praying to God…?
Prayer is an important feature of all the world’s major religions, and yet despite there being hundreds of books on the shelves on the subject, little is really understood about it, because prayer is such a personal thing as well as being something which we like to do together.
There are some prayers which Christians like to pray together. We finish each act of Collective Worship on a Friday with one: the Lord’s Prayer, and I always finish the worship with a prayer of blessing over you. Sometimes it is good to say these words together
But prayer is not only about words said to God. If you thought perhaps that it was only words that mattered, and then were unable to think of any words, might you imagine that prayer was not possible. No, my dear friends…
- prayer can be words… and can be quietness.
- prayer can be joyous… and can share your sadness with God
- prayer can be words… lots of words… just a few words… or an action, a ritual, a response, a movement, a dance, a song, a picture, a time of stillness.
Just as each and everyone of you is different, so will your prayers be different, and all are proper prayers.
Although I invite you to pray along with me, I recognise that not everyone wants to pray at that moment. If you don’t, then that is fine, because I cannot force you to pray, but when others are praying, sharing that special, intimate time with God, we ought to respect that. Stay quiet, refrain from fidgeting or disturbing our neighbours and getting in the way of their prayers.
But what to pray…?
Sometimes we seem to get so tied up with the words. Fill the praying space with words and maybe that will take the place of prayers.
Praying is not like reading a shopping list (very quickly) at God.
“God bless Mummy and God bless Daddy and please God look after Auntie Susan and can my favourite football team win this weekend and can I have a bike for my birthday please thank you God Amen.”
Rather, prayer is like a conversation between two friends.
There are words. There are pauses. There is listening.
What does God say to you?
What does he guide you to do?
What words of comfort and strength does he give to you?
There are all different kinds of prayer, sometimes for ourselves, sometimes for others, sometimes just to show God how much we care about him, or to say sorry.
To remind me of this, I can use the word “Pray”
P – Praise
R – Repent – or say sorry for the things I have done wrong
A – Ask – for God to help other people or situations
Y – You – what I need
Notice that what you need comes last. Really good prayer puts others first. Asking God to help others is called Intercession and each and every Mass we ask for God’s help in the world.
I think you have encountered that before, and you know it well.
Each prayer is like one of these bubbles. On one level they seem so trivial, so small, they seem to last for such a short time.
And yet each bubble floats freely in this space, they float to God, each containing prayer. And when they burst, that prayer is released.
Although each bubble looks the same, it is unique, special, individual. Just like you. There is no other bubble like it. It reflects the sunlight in a special way, you might even glimpse a reflection of you in it.
Offer your prayers to God as we gaze on these bubbles.
For the world (blow)
For our communities (blow)
For our families (blow)
For those who are sick or in hospital (blow)
For those who are near the end of their lives (blow)
For us, that we may draw closer to God through our prayers (blow)
As our Saviour Christ has taught us, so we pray…
Gavin Tyte version:
Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come, your will be done
On earth as it is in heav’n
Give us our daily bread
Forgive us as we do the same
Lead us not into temptation
Deliver us from the evil one
Yours is (yours is)
The kingdom (the kingdom)
The power (the power)
The glory (the glory)