Research conducted by the Church of England in the run up to Easter had some surprising results. Although the numbers of people coming to church have dropped, six out of seven people polled said that they believe prayer can be answered and only one in seven people said that they would never pray. In an interview, Bishop Alan said: “Prayer is one of the most natural and instinctive of human responses, so I am not surprised to see these findings.”
There are all sorts of definitions of prayer, but my favourite is by St Cyril of Alexandria who said that ‘prayer is keeping company with God’. At its heart, prayer is spending time with God; it is the conversation we have with God. As with those people we enjoy keeping company with, keeping company with God will involve talking to him, listening to him and sometimes just being silent with him. Sometimes it will be just us and God, and at other times we will gather with other people to keep company with him together.
As followers of Jesus we know that prayer is one of those Holy Habits we need to develop. However, if we are honest, we would all admit that we find prayer difficult some of the time, if not all of the time. Most of us feel guilty at some point that we do not pray as much as we would wish or as much as we feel we ought to. This summer we are going to be looking at prayer in our morning services at Sunnyside and Bourne End. We are going to be getting practical and thinking about some of the whys, hows and whats of prayer so that we can be better at it. There will be an opportunity to meet together at the Vicarage on Tuesdays in August to discuss the sermon further. Why not spend some of your summer thinking about prayer and then spend some time keeping company with God?
5th August What is prayer?
12th August Why pray?
19th August How to pray?
26th August What to pray?
2nd September What happens when we pray?