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St Alban’s

PRAYER


I want to say “thank you”…

A prayer for times when we feel so grateful for someone or something that we want to express how thankful we feel:

Dear God,  

thank you for giving me life itself.

Thank you for the good things in my life,

for those who are dear to me,

and for all who have helped me.

Thank you for the measure of freedom I have.

Thank you for making me aware of you.

Keep me thankful, hopeful and useful

until the end of my life.

Amen.

St Paul wrote: “Be joyful always; pray at all times; be thankful in all circumstances.”

1 Thess 5:16-17




I wish I could just get away from it all…

A prayer for times when we feel overwhelmed, when we wish life had a   pause button, when we want to turn somewhere for a break:

Dear God,

I am so tired.

Give me rest.

Renew my energy.

Help me face the day,

and give me peace.

Amen

Jesus said: “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest”. Matthew 11: 28


I wish I knew what to do…

A prayer for times when we feel paralyzed by a difficult decision, or bewildered by the many directions our lives could take, and we wish someone could just help us choose:

         Dear God,

         I do not know which way to go.

         I feel powerless to choose between

         the options before me.

         Give me the wisdom to see the way ahead,

         and the boldness to walk in it.

        Amen

      The Psalmist said: “Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord…for you are the God who     

       saves me”. Psalm 25: 4-5



I wish I had more faith…

A prayer for times when we catch a glimpse of God, or we see the confidence a friend has in what they believe, and wish we had more faith ourselves…

Dear God,

Thank you that you do not require

us to know all the answers.

Thank you that you reward those

who earnestly seek you.

God, I want more faith.

Help me to trust you.

Amen.

Jesus said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. Matthew 7:7



I wish there was more peace…

A prayer for times when we feel helpless about the violence in the world around us…

Dear God,

Send your peace.

Peace to this world.

Peace to this country.

Peace for my friends and my community.

Peace for my family and my loved ones.


And God, give me your peace.

And then help me to give it away,

as a peacemaker to my family and loved ones,

as a peacemaker to my friends and community,

as a peacemaker for this country.

and a peacemaker for this world.

Amen


 First prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book (adapted); other prayers from Lifewords leaflets (adapted)


For more help and ideas for prayer please see:

The prayer that Jesus taught us

What is prayer?

Asking God’s help for others

Do prayers work?

When prayer is hard

How do we learn to pray?

Praying with the Web

The prayer Jesus taught us

When asked by his disciples how to pray, Jesus taught them the prayer we know as “The Lord’s Prayer”:           

Our Father in heaven,            



hallowed be your name,    

your kingdom come, your will be done,    

on earth as it is in heaven.    

Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us our sins,      

as we forgive those who sin against us.   

Lead us not into the time of trial    

but deliver us from evil.     
For the kingdom, the power,     
and the glory are yours     
now and forever.      

Amen.        

What is prayer?     From Portsmouth Diocesan website -  adapted

Prayer is meeting God – maybe entering into a relationship with God.

We can’t see God. God is ‘Spirit’ – ‘God-stuff’. There’s a spark of God-stuff in us. Christians believe that human beings aren’t an accident, just here by chance.

God made us, and loves us, and wants a relationship with us. God made us as whole beings, with body, mind and spirit. That’s what we mean by ‘spiritual’. The bit of us we can’t see – but the bit that is the deep-down real us, beyond our being and thinking. The bit that makes us tick, that drives our being and thinking - our ‘spirituality’.

If we don’t exercise our bodies, they seize up – we become couch-potatoes. If we don’t exercise our minds, they seize up, too. What about our spirits? Do we give them a chance - to get in tune with God?

Prayer is meeting God. Just like any other meeting, ideally we need to be relaxed, aware, attentive. The spirit works best when we relax the body and still the mind.

So prayer is about opening ourselves to the Spirit of God.  It may involve words or may be silent.  It may use any of the senses. It may be in a special place or everywhere and anywhere in our daily lives.

Asking for God’s help for others


Asking for God’s help for others is the best known kind of said prayers.  “God please help…” is often the first prayer to be used at times of great distress. Asking prayers are called “intercession”.

An important thing to remember is that prayer is not about changing the mind of God but about changing ourselves – so that we become more attentive, not only to the mystery of God but to the mystery of our humanity.  If you have heard of emotional intelligence then prayer can be likened to the means by which we enhance our spiritual intelligence, helping us develop our creativity and become more attuned and responsive to suffering.

At St Alban’s :                        

- There are prayers  of intercession every Sunday morning in the main

  service of worship. These usually follow the pattern of praying for

the church, the world, the local community, the sick and for those

 who have died.

- We pray too at Morning Prayer on weekdays

- We have a candle stand where candles can be lit .

- If you would like us to pray for you or someone you know please

  drop in, or ring one of the ministry team, or email us

Do Prayers Work?  

Prayer is not a kind of Aladdin’s lamp where God is a genie beholden to obey our every bidding.  Prayers are often answered but not necessarily in the way expected.  Sometimes it feels impossible to discern any kind of answer.

Everyone, however experienced at prayer, goes through times that are dry and full of self doubt, making it all too easy to become disillusioned and to wonder whether praying actually helps. And even when prayer does seem to work – is it prayer or just coincidence?  Well, as more than one wise spiritual guide has said – with prayer the coincidences increase.

When prayer is hard

There are times when prayer gets stuck or is difficult.  During times like these sticking to a routine of prayer becomes even more important.  It may help simply to set aside a set period of time (with a timer to avoid clock watching), begin with the Lord’s Prayer and end with a blessing – and then just leave it up to God to look after the time in the middle.







How do we learn to pray?


A good place to look for help with prayer is the spirituality & prayer section of the Portsmouth Diocesan website: http://portsmouth.anglican.org/what_we_believe/spirituality/

This has resources as follows:

o What is prayer?

Making space for the spirit

Prayertime

Ideas for prayer

To start you off – some bible passages that can help with prayer

Some well known prayers

o Ideas to help you pray in different ways

o Prayer – recharging the batteries

Praying With the Web    

Those of us who spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen can make it part of the routine of prayer.  A blank screen can be a real aid to stilling and the waiting for inspiration encourages openness to the Holy Spirit.  There are plenty of web sites with suggestions for daily prayer and readings for reflection. These include:

www.SacredSpace.ie – created by Jesuits in Eire specifically for those wishing to pray online.

www.rejesus.co.uk/prayer - variety of resources to help us pray

www.WCCM.org – guidance from the World Community for Christian Meditation on meditation techniques.

www.cofe.anglican.org/worship – the Church of England web site which has set words of prayers for the day.