Over the last few weeks in Amersham we have been planning a Week of Accompanied Prayer for next spring. It will be an opportunity for folk to have the ‘gift’ of a week prayerfully looking at scripture ‘alongside’ a guide and companion.
On Wednesday this week a number of friends gathered at AFC, from various churches in our district, who lead services week by week. We explored together the constituent parts of our weekly worship and everyone was asked to name the three most important aspects of a service for them. Time and again folk spoke of the importance of thoughtful led prayer.
Every week we print some Prayer Meditations on the back of our notice sheet and a recent one came from the pen of Jane Upchurch – here is part of it:
Believing in God is not
wearing rose-tinted glasses;
an easy option;
a certainty to silence questions;
a way of avoiding pain.
Believing in God is
recognising horror and choosing to forgive;
facing the music and choosing to dance;
feeling hurt and choosing to love;
being uncertain and choosing to trust;
knowing the downside and choosing life.
Now, as the person who often preaches the sermon, I have to say that sometimes the most important message I get from the service comes from these prayers on the weekly sheet (and not through my sermons!!) – and surely Jane Upchurch’s words are profoundly challenging and encouraging.
Once, when we were having a bit of a tricky health issue in our family, a lady at church passed me in the corridor, smiled and said: Just want you to know we are praying for you.
I cannot tell you how much that meant to me and the difference it made to my day.
I thank God for both the mystery and poetry of prayer.